"SportsFree" - Quitting Sports Consumption
In 2011, when I (finally) started living a healthy life, there were several major changes that I made.
1) Paleo diet and exercise regularly
2) Quit porn
3) Quit sports
(Other items included a focus on my family and learning my work with more vigor, but that's maybe less relate-able and relevant.)
The #3 item there might sound odd, so I'll briefly explain. I always thought that sports consumption was a harmless hobby. However, over the course of my twenties, I increasingly noticed that I was nearly addicted to it. I could not go a single night without at least watching the highlights from that day's games, and usually spending 2-hours plus watching a game. This also metastasized into constantly going to message boards and arguing about sports, gambling on sports, and more.
The reason I never thought to quit was because I thought watching sports made you "a man's man" (in reality, it's the total opposite, as living vicariously through other dudes is as deferential and wasted time as there can be) and also because every other guy I know was pretty much doing the same thing! I would run into old buddies from high school, and what would we talk about? The latest NFL trades. I would be at a family event with my brothers and cousins, and what would we all talk about? The "Shaq vs. Kobe" or the "A-Rod and steroids" hysterics.
So it was an addiction hidden by how many others had it.
I crisply realized this had gone too far when I went to a wedding and the groom's tuxedo was in "his team's" sports colors. It was an embarrassing display of subservience to utter strangers who don't give two shits about him, on the most important day of his life.
Anyway, in the summer of 2011, one day I told myself that I was going to quit smoking and quit sports. I did both, succesfully and in perpetuity. I'm very happy.
The main benefit of quitting sports is the same benefit of quitting porn: time. It's amazing how much more time I have now that I'm not watching a bunch of 25 year old millionaires prance around and useless old jock commentators drooling over them. However, I also now feel more independent and virile, as my "victories" in life come from things that I do, not that strangers do. I'm focused on my personal crafts and hobbies, not watching ESPN hour after hour after hour. (Even if that's just a victory in a silly video game, it's mine.)
So! To encourage other dudes who might have become as addicted as I was (and as addicted as many other dudes I know are), I recently started a Reddit forum called "SportsFree".
Sports Free: Helping End Compulsive Sports Consumption
The goal is simple: Commit to quitting sports consumption, and share your thoughts and observations. I hope that men will consider participating! Reddit accounts are free and simple, and so you can create posts and make comments with great ease.
I totally agree. Watching sports is a lame activity.
With me, I was almost born into it. I remember collecting baseball cards when I was 5 and creating a fake game out of it. As I got older, I would play a sport every chance I got. Baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, swimming, golf, etc. Watching professionals play was only a natural progression.
My generation was different though because advanced video games were just being developed. I got so hooked on Madden 2002 when my cousin showed it to me. I shudder when I think about the hours spent playing Madden over the years. It was a genius business concept because you are a 'fan' and an 'active participator/player' at the same time. This really intensified the whole sports obsession and allowed me to think it was much more real than it was.
I suppose fantasy sports added to it to a degree too. There were others who were bigger players of that, but if I going to do something, I'm going to win it too. That's my attitude. I was in a single keeper league, for baseball, and I was scouting fucking high schools so that I'd have a small leg up on the competition.
I would sit in classes, starting in middle school, and draw up plays and build rosters. During lunch in high school, me and my friends would argue about professional athletes the entire time. When I got home, usually from a practice, my dad would be drunk and unavailable. Me being essentially home alone, I'd turn on the video game console and enter this different world.
By 16, I'm confident in saying that I could have ran a pro football franchise. I knew enough about scouting players and setting up systems that I could do better than some of the general managers currently in place. In fact, I became well known on a fan message board for my draft knowledge, as many of my predictions were quite accurate, especially when it came to finding "sleepers".
Furthermore, I knew all about body kinetics. I understood how the baseball swing worked, how the throwing motion worked, how tackling and blocking worked, how running worked, and how lifting worked. I could critique even pro players on their technique. If there's something positive to be gleamed from my sports obsession, this is it.
When I was 18, going to a university that had a good sports program was important to me! How sad. It didn't make rational sense to me, but I would tell everyone that I wanted a "big school atmosphere" and lots of "school spirit" when deep down, I just wanted a school that I'd be proud to wear a sweatshirt of in 10 years and have a good team to use in NCAA Football.
But if you look at my history in sports, you can see how it was truly a big part of my life, so my college decision was scarily logical. When I moved away from home, I finally got to develop as a person. I figured out my own morals and values, and sports was not even on the list. I think the grip that sports has on America (even as spectators) is because of an innate desire for war/dominance. I've taken the same obsessive desire and directed it towards other things that will actually further my real life dominance.
I never really was a stereotypical fan though. I never really had jerseys (I had maybe 4 throughout my childhood). I didn't do a lot of other shit, like care if they had a DUI or divorce or english muffin for breakfast. I never got why people would kiss the toes of these athletes. I actually met a handful when my dad won tickets to a celebrity golf tournament. I shook their hands, looked them in the eye, but I never asked for autographs or felt like they were any better than me.
For that matter, I've never cared about celebrities in general. I remember my cousin having a crush on Britney Spears when she was young and hot. He had a poster and would get SI Bikini magazines. I tried to have a celebrity crush, because I liked women and all that, but it just didn't do anything for me. The SI mags were hot though; I'll give you that. But looking at one today would be a waste of time to me. There are more hot women I pass on the street everyday than I could possibly fuck in a lifetime.
^^That sort of goes for porn too, but I like porn in the way that other people watch regular movies. Just interesting stuff sometimes.
Today, my relationship with sports is a weak but curious one. I don't watch games and don't really care to learn minutae about teams' strategies, but I would like to be aware of any large trends happening in the sports.
Maybe the once exception is for a UFC match. I look at it to learn martial arts technique, not to care about who wins. There's no need to pay PPV money for that, so I just dissect matches on Youtube.
Of course, I still PLAY sports.
Last edited by DrHackenbush; 02-20-2014 at 10:55 AM.
Yeah, I think fantasy sports has contributed to the astronomical growth of sports in the past twenty years.
I actually think your sort of fandom - studying plays and technique and such - is the "best" sort of fandom there is. Still not good, but it's much better than the straight up jock sniffing and almost cuckold fetish fixation on athletes that is the norm. But even the strategy has a low ceiling. Personally I got heavily into baseball's "sabermetrics" (very heavily - I was a prominent contributor to two prominent statistical analysis sites) but that reached the point of diminishing returns after only just a couple of years. I would have been far, far better served by learning statistics in finance, programming, marketing data, or just about anything else. Soon, the statistical analysis just was a distant second to the even more absurd aspects of fandom.
you have issues... it seems that you can't have healthy relationships with simple things like sports or porn and because of that you create and therefore project these extremist attitudes out to others. there is nothing innately harmful about having a favorite sports franchise or two, or talking to your friends about it. consider it a hobby. consider it a topic of discussion. consider it a way to have camaraderie. just don't take it to the extreme (gambling, watching hours of espn, wearing sports themed formalwear, etc). how soon is it until you take exercise to that level or become orthorexic?
I agree. I was really in the minority compared to sports fans as a whole, so I think that helped me ditch that whole "world" sooner than others.
Originally Posted by DavidBrennan
I was kinda thinking the same thing.
Originally Posted by not on the rug
I follow local teams (Red Sox, Patriots) and that's it. Trades, the politics? IDGAF.
There are a lot of people in the world who have unhealthy relationships with things. I think the nature of the modern world is just imbalanced in general.
Originally Posted by not on the rug
Look at these dudes with sports fandom issues: Wedding Ideas - NFL Football Wedding Theme
90% of the "men" in the pics of these dudes with "Football Fan Weddings" look bloated and on the wrong side of 30. While the beer-guzzling dude is watching "his team" peppered with Viagara commercials, his wife is out being pounded by his boss who just smirks at the idiots who ogle ESPN every night.