The Super Bowl has come and gone, the water-cooler discussions have shifted to the commercials and half-time show, and by mid-week we’ll all have forgotten about one of the most watched sporting events of the year and all the story lines it provided.
I was your typical kid growing up, I loved sports, and I watched them all too—football, baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, basketball, curling, heck, my mom would say “he’d watch frogs playing Tiddly Winks if he could”. I knew where each was in the standings, who was leading the league in goals, TD’s, 3-pointers, ERA, who the winners were of each of golf and tennis’ major tournaments. I could recite stats like a sports almanac. Yet, somewhere along the way, I decided to stop watching sports altogether.
It’s a few days after the big game and people are discussing the amazing plays, or crying foul about certain calls (or lack of). I used to be a big part of those discussions, on both sides. And now I could care less. But what made me stop watching sports? I suppose there’s a few reasons:
Fans are A-holes
Fans are fanatics, it’s how they got their name, but some take it too far. I see people belittling, badgering, and bullying others online about their team of choice, or for not knowing enough about a teams draft pick and making a “stupid comment” about it. It’s a lot like watching people discuss politics these days. People are so full of hate. And for what? Because you support a team that isn’t ever going to acknowledge your behaviour? “Oh, it’s all in good fun”, they might say. Yep, so are racist jokes, right?
I got spoiled
From 1998-2002 I worked as a food server at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, working pretty much every Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, and the vast majority of Toronto Raptors NBA games. I did also enjoy many a concert, seeing The Who, Springsteen, U2, the Eagles, and many more. I digress.
Having season tickets spoils you, especially when it’s a sport you played your entire life (hockey). After 4+ seasons, I’d had enough of the boisterous crowds, the drunken Leaf Fans, the smell of beer and fried foods on my clothes after hours of schlepping food and ale, and fighting post-game city traffic. The money was great, and I have some tremendous memories—we did, after all, open a new arena on the mecca of hockey. But shortly after I stopped working there, whenever there was a hockey game on TV I just couldn’t watch it anymore. I distanced myself from the sport I grew up playing and loved.
I have no friends to watch sports with anymore 🙁
In college I used to watch football every Sunday with my roommates, usually hungover from the previous night’s escapades at the bar. A bag of chips, an iced tea, and possibly an order of poutine from KFC down the street and it was an afternoon of doing nothing but watching football. After college, parties became “get togethers” and they usually consisted of booze, chatter, and a TV with a hockey game on (see section above about being spoiled). As marriage took hold, I became less and less interested in sports, and it was actually by choice. Now, I do get together with others who like baseball, but that’s only because our beloved Toronto Blue Jays have had a playoff caliber team, otherwise, it would be lonely times again as a Jays fan. And up here in Canada-land, hockey is still the sport of choice. I don’t hate hockey, I just can’t stand watching it anymore.
The internet made me stop watching sports
How ironic is it that the internet is both the biggest time saver and biggest time waster of our…time. I don’t need to watch a game anymore, or stay up to watch highlights, or catch the morning loop on Sportscentre. I can hop online and see exactly what I wanted to see rather than wait for it to come on. And I don’t have to buy a newspaper to read all the columns or see all the stats. I can see whatever I want, whenever I want on the good ole internet.
And then there’s the money…
Your team wins. You celebrate. You go to the parade. The players and owners make a few bucks more for winning. And then management and owners decide to increase ticket prices for their loyal fans. How nice of them…Wait, WTF? The fans pay the salaries. The fans buy the merchandise. The fans buy the sports packages for TV. The fans flock to internet chats and forums professing their love, support, and devotion for their team. And the team turns around and charges them more to see what they’ve supported? Really? This is what I get for be a fanatic for your team? But I supported and defended you and acted like an a-hole in the comments section! What Gives! Exactly!
Oh, and the fact I don’t have TV
Many years ago I got tired of paying $60 a month for basic cable plus two “specialty” packages. I got a letter from our cable company saying the price was going up for infrastructure upgrades. For cable? I don’t think so. I downgraded to basic, then a few months later we got rid of cable altogether, and so went any opportunity to watch sports. I didn’t miss the sports, nor the hours of brain-dead crap on TV.
I stopped watching sports because it seemed to became a waste of time for me, people take them WAY too seriously, and it became very expensive too. I love baseball, and still try to get to a game every summer, to hell with the rising cost to see a game. But therein lies the rub. I enjoy and promote spending money on memorable experiences, and I’ve had so many memorable ones going to live sporting events, but very few watching sports on TV.
So as the saying goes; don’t hate the players, hate the game, I do, just not up-close and in-person.
Now go sell all your stuff and discuss the Super Bowl!