HOW I STOPPED WATCHING SPORTS
We didn't grow up watching football. Somehow, when I moved to LA, I got wrapped - games all day Sat and Sun, appointment viewing of all marquee matchups and postseasons for every sport, at least 1 SportCenter/day, Fantasy Sports, weekly sports book bets... It never sat right with me. So I quit.
- •In Feb 2012, I didn't watch the Super Bowl.Up until this point, I'd watched football every week of the season. But it was a beautiful day out, so I went on a 5 hour bike ride on the beach. I got back and realized I'd missed the game. And, magically: I didn't care.
- •In Mar 2012, I didn't fill out a NCAA Tournament bracket.It alleviates all obligation and desire to watch or pay attention.
- •In the Fall of 2012, I didn't watch any football games.That feeling of not caring really held. I had also just wrapped on Diving Normal, so I couldn't really justify spending 3 hours on anything other than the movie. And - being in production that summer meant I skipped out on baseball.
- •I skipped the Super Bowl in 2013. And 2014. And 2015.And did not watch a single minute of sports on TV in the meantime. I realized I'd inflated how much sports really meant to me.. And how watching, more than not, ended in indifference at best, heartbreak at worst. And it was so freeing to NOT watch, on principle.
- •Not watching games led to not watching SportsCenter. Which led to not reading recaps.
- •I took Inventory of how much time I had to do other things over the course of one year.A conservative estimate: one hour of sportscenter every day of the year, 3 hours of College football on Saturday, 8 hours of NFL on Sunday, 30 NBA games, 20 baseball games, the monthlong NCAA tournament, 25 hours for each of the golf majors equals... More than 850 hours. 35 days. Of the year. I wanted those back.
- •I got rid of my cable subscription. Stopped watching ESPN.
- •I unfollowed Grantland.This took several years, as I convinced myself there was other relevant writing there. A month after I unfollowed, the site shut down... So sorry, guys.
- •I unfollowed Deadspin.This was the last online connection. I justified saying it was okay to only be critical of sports.. But it still was spending time on stuff that really doesn't matter to me.
- •I got rid of my car. And with it, my AM radio.The last piece. Even as I stopped watching, I still found talk radio hosts entertaining and listened to them in traffic. Stopping driving severed my last connection.
- •In addition, there have been a slew of compelling ethical arguments to not watch football.
- •Concussions/CTE/life altering injuries/brain damage related suicides.
- •Domestic abuse case after domestic abuse case after domestic abuse case.
- •The insane level of exploitation that exists by a bunch of old rich white guys making millions off of young men asked to put their wellness in danger.It exists across the board at all levels for football. We are all complicit in these problems.
- •I realized that sports are the least interesting, least unique thing I have to offer in a conversation.Everyone is consuming the same information, regurgitating the same interviews they saw or articles they read. It's also highly uninteresting discussion for at least half the room.
- •So now, I take this day - ESPECIALLY this day - and do whatever I want.Just like my versions of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc. There's no traffic on the roads. No lines, anywhere. No obligation. No regret the next day, no sense of time or life lost doing something I didn't really, really care about.
- •"What game?"I remember showing up to host the morning announcements in middle school as a sixth-grader and a group of eighth-graders asking me if I watched the game. My response was the above. They made fun of me… But I also remembered that that is a better version of who I am, instead of the guy watching hundreds of hours of sports a year. I also remembered François and I trying to go as long as we could in college without finding out who won the Super Bowl. We'd often make it to Tuesday.