6 Life-Changing Practices for Sports Fanatics

I’ve wasted a lot of time watching complete strangers put a ball through a hoop.

1000 hours is an accurate estimate.

I love basketball, but I’ve been feeling a different vibe when I sit down to watch a game now. Before, I looked forward to it. Now, I am starting to see it as a waste of time. Also, Lebron taking his talents to Tinsel Town has not helped my sleep schedule on the east coast.

Just writing this gives a feeling of FOMO and inspiration at the same time. In those 1000 hours, I could’ve done something much more productive. I also would have missed out on:

  • Ray Allen’s Game 6 in 2013
  • The Raptors Winning the Chip
  • Lebron Becoming the All-Time Leading Scorer

To say I regret it would be an overstatement.

But now I could vehemently say that my life and goals trump the FOMO.

Well, not exactly…I’ll still watch 4th quarter game 7’s and the Blue Jays in the MLB playoffs.

That brings me to the first practice: ONLY watch when it gets exciting. This applies to those that want to cut back but not cut out sports completely.

We all know how captivating it is to watch athletic strangers do what they do best. Sport is a pillar of North American culture. There is entertainment value in sports but it is also a waste of time when watching to escape reality.

I divide the rest of this piece for readers who:

  1. Want to make watching sports even more fun
  2. Want to cut back or cut out sports from their life

I personally use a balanced approach from both camps.


How to Make Watching Sports More Fun

How many of you sit down to watch a game just to realize that you have not really paid attention to it?

If you’re out at a sports bar with friends, that’s understandable. But you have no excuse if you’re sitting on your couch by yourself on a weeknight. Sports are great because of the jaw-dropping action it provides. There is also no shortage of spectacular highlight plays that happen in the blink of an eye. I was watching the Maple Leafs overtime thriller in game 3 vs. the Tampa Bay Lighting and I happened to look down at my phone for the commercial break. The next thing I hear is the commentators announcing the game-winning goal I missed.

Nothing is worse than wasting time watching sports and missing the best part. Something tells me this is a common problem for lonely sports fans.

  1. The solution is simple: watch the game and practice the tenets of mindfulness at the same time.
  • Instead of refocusing attention on your breath when your mind drifts, refocus on the intricacies of the game on the screen
  • When you feel the impulse to reach for your phone during the commercial, switch to refocusing back on your environment or breath.
  • When the game comes back on, zone out, empty your mind of thoughts, and just enjoy the show.

Watching the sport this way is revelational and entertaining at the same time. For one, you’ll never miss a highlight. And secondly, you’ll begin to notice little details of body language, lip-reading, and which side the momentum of the game is about to shift to.

It’s amazing how much you miss when you’re NOT really watching sports.

Also, by doing this, you not only enjoy the game more, but you also strengthen those mind muscles!

  1. If you actually play the sport competively, you can always learn from watching the best.
  • Study their moves
  • Analyze the plays the team is running
  • Look for ways that players bounce back and refocus their energy when losing

There are many ways to improve your game from watching game tape – there is a reason pro players do it on a daily basis. Treat tonight’s game as a film session.

Learning isn’t restricted to the sport you play. Studying players’ mental and emotional body language can teach you about life in general. I always find it interesting how quickly things change within the course of a game. A couple of plays going in one team’s favour can totally shift the players’ emotions and derail the other team. Sports is definitely 80% mental and how you respond to adversity. Life is that way too.

However, I’d argue that life is even more than 80%.

Sometimes, getting the most out of life requires you to watch less sports. And if cutting back is necessary, this next section is for you!


How to Cut Back on Sports

  1. Follow through with your commitment to watch less.

Like cutting any habit, it is going to take some willpower to restrict your sports consumption. I am currently in the depths of it. It is tempting to watch a game on Thursday night, especially if it’s the Maple Leafs losing in the playoffs 🙁

Currently, I am on the losing side of this commitment to watch less. We’ll see how I fare with the Lakers taking on the Grizzlies in game 6 tonight. I do not recommend doing this during playoff season. However, it is also the best time because skipping games in the regular season is easy and FOMO-free.

  1. Future-Planning
    This is a mental exercise that centers around you imagining your ideal future and what is required to get there.

Instead of focusing on the FOMO of missing key games, focus on all the good you’re going to miss from the over-the-top consumption of sports.

Sports are meant to be a temporary escape from reality. However, when there are games every day, it is no longer temporary but tempting. This temptation can turn into a perpetual escape.

The Problem with Online Sports Gambling

The rise of online sports gambling has only led to using sports as an increased source of escapism.

I know because I was in the throws of it. And luckily got out when I was up $600.

Because you can leverage your knowledge of baseball to make money, watching a full MLB regular season game in the middle of June doesn’t seem like a waste of time. It seems like you can actually make a living out of being a lazy sports fan who didn’t realize his childhood dream! With a new sportsbook (sports betting platform) seemingly being released every day, there is no secret that many share this belief.

I hate to break it to you, but it is all luck unless you are Madame Zanzibar with a crystal ball.

  1. Cut out sports gambling from your day.

Conclusion – Sports As Entertainment Not Escapism

You can tune in once a week or so and still follow your purpose in life.

Gary Vee himself is known to block out 3 hours on a Sunday for the Jets, although I have recently seen him at a Knicks game. Told you, playoff time is no joke, even for Mr. Hustle himself.

My life used to revolve around sports. Back in high school, I remember that my next day was ruined if the Miami Heat lost a playoff game. And I am not even from Miami! Thank God I am not like that anymore.

Go Leafs, Go Blue Jays, Go LeBron, & Enjoy Your Vacation Raptors!

And champagne showers for watching sports as entertainment, and not for escapism!

Share & #sparkperception

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