The nonsense going on right now on NFL sidelines has caused me to engage in some deep thought (which I usually try to avoid). Personally, I would never kneel during our national anthem and I, frankly and simply, have little respect for any American who does. But, what I have been thinking about is, why should I even care? Why should I care what some people I’ve never met do or don’t do while that song is playing? It’s got nothing to do with me. The obvious answer is: I shouldn’t care. The fact that I’ve let this “controversy” affect my emotions, occupy my thoughts, and distract me from the things I’m trying to accomplish in my own life is foolish.
But, that’s not the part that’s got me thinking deeply. It’s the logical extension of that simple realization. If I shouldn’t care about what these athletes do before the game, it stands to reason that I shouldn’t care about what they do during the game either. Those activities have nothing to do with me or my life either! Why am I wasting my money, and something even more valuable, my time, watching, cheering, following, agonizing and analyzing how well other people play games? These sports and their players add no real value or richness to my life. In fact, they are clearly a distraction from accomplishing my financial, spiritual, and relational goals.
That’s my realization: It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter who wins and loses. It doesn’t matter who’s in first place or last place. It doesn’t matter who stands or sits. It simply Does. Not. Matter.
It’s all just entertainment. It’s just another “reality show,” with manufactured drama designed to give viewers a little temporary thrill. It’s a simulated battle, eating up the minutes and hours of my life when I should be fighting the battles that DO matter for me and my family.
These self-important “protesters” have triggered a kind of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” epiphany in me, where I’ve realized that watching sports religiously, wearing other people’s jerseys, getting upset when “my” team doesn’t win . . . is stupid.
And, worse than being stupid, it’s dangerous, as the arbitrary, imaginary affiliation I feel for “my” teams (the Lions, the Wolverines, the Tigers, etc.) distracts from the fact that, in reality, I really do have MY teams (my family, my business partners, my clients, my neighbors, and my faith community).
So, I’ve decided to take a break from watching sports. All of it. I’m out. I’m not protesting or boycotting, maybe just growing up a little. I’m going to take those wasted hours and invest them in reading, writing, coaching, laughing, working, serving others, exploring, growing personally, building my businesses, and loving my family. I really think I’d rather be the star of my story than a cheerleader in the lives of strangers on a football field. I’d rather win my own battles than pretend I’m a winner when my favorite teams win.
I’m sure this is not the reaction the NFL players and owners were looking for. And, if enough other people wake up the way I have, they are in big trouble.
I’m not writing this to be preachy or judge how you spend (or waste, or invest) your time. I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with your life, or how it’s going. In my case, I have HUGE goals and a long way to go!
Feel free to share this and/or to join me in thinking through what really matters to you and evaluating how well your time and energy align with those goals. If you have a big goal you’re working on in your life, please let me know. I will support you and cheer for you in any way I can. Cheering for YOU makes more sense to me than cheering for athletes on TV.