I used to be a huge sports fan. MLB, NFL, college basketball, you name it. I used to watch live games and ESPN all the time. However, over the past year or so, to the surprise of my close friends and family, I’ve stopped watching sports completely.
It wasn’t something I did intentionally, it just happened naturally and steadily over time. Ultimately, there are just other things I’d rather do than watch sports. Here are a few observations I had that help explain why I stopped:
1. Watching vs doing. What I liked most about sports was watching people compete and watching people perform in high pressure situations (i.e. buzzer-beaters, two-minute drills and ninth innings). However, watching is completely different than actually doing. Now, business is my sport. It’s highly competitive, fast-paced and full of high-pressure situations (i.e. pitching) and I do it everyday.
2. Cheering and hoping. I don’t wish or hope. I do my best to execute on what’s in my control and I let what’s out of my control play it’s course. Cheering or hoping is a helpless feeling.
3. Small talk vs authenticity. Sports make for great conversations. Everyone watches sports so it’s an easy conversation starter. As I started winding down my sports watching I used to still use it in conversations for those reasons. However, I’ve realized that authenticity is much cooler than small talk. Now I don’t bother talking about sports, I talk about what I want to talk about.
4. Engagement loops in sports. To me, watching sports was all about the stories. Every franchise has a story, every season has a story, every game has a story, and every at bat has a story. The more context you have – franchise’s history, player’s history, how each team is doing in the given season, etc – the more engaging the story is. So the more you watch sports, the better it gets. Conversely, the less you know, the less engaging it is. Now that I’m completely separated from sports, I’m much less engaged when I do watch.
I’d much rather spend my time doing something more fun, productive, or interesting than watching sports. Of all the things I could be doing at any given point in time, it’s very rare that watching sports would be anywhere near the top. And I prefer doing to watching.