Sports Fatigue – Too Much Of A Good Thing

Remember when you were a kid and you would load up on junk food? My mom would say the junk food would spoil my dinner and she was right. She knew that if I filled up on the junk, I wouldn’t eat the stuff that was truly nourishing.  Said simply, too much of something “good” can be “bad”.

That’s how I feel about sports today.

Before there were 5 ESPN channels, there was a 5 minute sports segment on the local evening news. Before there was the NFL Network, there was NFL Today which came on a 1/2 hour before Sunday games. As fans, we are presented with a smorgasbord of tasty looking delights but too many men gorge, unable to push away from the feed trough…and that is bad.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and the lessons taught about teamwork, character, and hard work. I just helped coach my daughter’s soccer team and had a blast. Childhood heroes of mine ( Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Kyle Macy) came from sports, but back then sports felt like a part of life, not something you live your life around. Boundaries that seemed to be in place a few years ago are gone. From draft coverage to player tweets to fantasy leagues to march madness to bowl season and on and on, sports have become too much a a good thing. Dinner is getting spoiled.

Men – don’t get duped. Networks,  leagues, and sponsors value you, but they value your money more. They give us more “product”  because their research shows we’ll “buy”.  When we watch they get ratings and that means money for them. That’s all well and good, but what do you really get out of it? Put another way: What do your wife and children get out of your fantasy league?

I gave what I was feeling a name – sports fatigue. To me it’s when the hype and the volume outstrip my ability to enjoy and I become weary. I need balance and here is how I maintain it:

  • Planning – I have a family, mortgage and career to juggle each day. A typical day has child playdates, grocery store trips, doctors appointments while my wife runs her business and I travel for work.  My solution: If a game is important enough to watch it goes on the calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, I seldom spend time on it.
  • Parenting – Am I modeling something positive for my kids by continuing to watch a college football game where my team is down 4 scores in the 4th quarter to LSU? Or, should I turn off the game and spend that time with my kids exploring a nearby creek? Kids, get your boots!
  • Prayer – When I was younger, I would pray for my team to win and  for God to smite (smite sounds so cool) the other team. That never seemed to work out well for my rooting interests. Prayer is a powerful thing and I start my day spending a few minutes in prayer to say thank you for what I have been given and and ask for forgiveness for all my messes. I pray for the wisdom to want what God has provided for me and stay on the path.

People might find this a bit over the top or that I shouldn’t watch sports. That’s not what I’m saying. I still enjoy sports, but now I’m just much more selective. Some days, that path leads to a few minutes of a mid-season conference game, a check in on a team page or an ESPN Film, but mostly it doesn’t. I am fine with that.


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