For quite some time, I was a pretty BIG sports fan. My wife and I hopped on the Colts bandwagon in 2009 when we randomly decided to stop for a beer and wings on a cold November night in Indianapolis, Indiana. We were listening to the Colts game on the radio on our way to the bar, and the Colts were LOSING to Tom Brady and the Patriots. So we assumed with the home team trailing - the bar would be less than crowded, and we could enjoy a meal and watch the end of the game.
Sometime after ordering our food, Peyton Manning started dong Peyton Manning things, and orchestrated a magical comeback to pull off a win in the 4th quarter. The few people left in the bar, ourselves included, were THRILLED beyond belief that something so amazing just happened - and after WE showed up! So, naturally, we attributed the win to our arrival and focus on the outcome - and, naturally, we decided to keep watching the team play.
The Colts went on a huge winning streak after, and wound up going to Super Bowl XLIV the following February. They lost to the Saints, which sucked. But watching the camaraderie around the team, and how it invigorated the city with excitement during their run to the Super Bowl, we were hooked. Well, I was hooked. My wife watched because she knew I liked watching.
I decided to become a football fan. Specifically a Colts fan. After all, Indianapolis is my home town, and Peyton Manning was an amazing player - one of the best. I desperately craved watching the team I loved so much going all the way to the BIG GAME again, and the joy and elation of watching your favorite team on the world stage.
The Colts never went back to the Super Bowl. In fact, things kind of got worse for the Colts. Peyton only had a few more seasons in Indy, and Andrew Luck was drafted to the Colts. I decided to stick with the team and stick with my plan to be a Colts fan because I was "loyal" to the team that had never met me or had anything to do with me. I even watched an entire season in 2011 with Peyton Manning injured on the sidelines when the team only won TWO GAMES. I watched EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. From beginning to the bitter end. It was a sad season and I kept watching.
Then they drafted Andrew Luck...and the Colts were the talk of the league, so I was excited to be back in the race! They had some okay seasons with Andrew Luck, but he became riddled with injuries - as football tends to do to people, and he ended up retiring in 2019. He had been injured too much and wanted to go out on top...a great idea at 29 years old. We all know what a toll football takes on these players. Dude hung up his helmet, brushed his hands off, and went off the grid.
I think that's what made me stop watching football so much. Except unlike Andrew Luck, I wasn't sick of the injuries...I was sick of the madness...
What doI mean by madness? I mean the constant dedication to Sunday games - watching them IN THEIR ENTIRETY from beginning to end. Agonizing over the losses, reveling in the wins, spending countless dollars in bars on beer and food, listening to recap podcasts, obsessing over power rankings, spending more countless dollars on pants, shirts, jerseys, mugs, glassware, hats, winter hats, license plate covers, it wasn't a surprise to anyone that I was a fan of the Indianapolis Colts. I made it KNOWN - even living in Green Bay Packer country for the past 10 years of my life. Then there was the HUNDREDS of dollars spent when I actually went to a few games. Seriously - ever gone to an NFL game and PAID for everything?
Pair of tix - $200
Parking - $50
Food - $100
Liquor - $150
The shit adds up. And for WHAT exactly? Why was I so obsessed over a team that bears no allegiance to me. The players obviously don't hold any allegiance to their teams in many cases - they follow the paychecks. Who can blame them? Go where the money is, homie.
It was really bothering me the amount of time and money I had been spending obsessing over a professional sports team because I wasn't getting a good return on my investment. What do I get for the hours of my time I spent obsessing and watching, or the THOUSANDS of dollars I've probably spent over the years to watch these games?
So I decided to just stop obsessing, stop pouring my time and energy into these sporting events and just enjoy them for what they are - entertainment.
When it comes to my time and my money, I want to make sure it's going somewhere that benefits me directly, or others positively. I don't mind spending money on a concert ticket or a piece of MUSIC memorabilia - a shirt or hat - because it's supporting an artist who makes music that I can enjoy and gives me pleasure in my ear holes.
When it comes to putting time and money into a football game - what happens when the team loses? I become upset. What happens when they win? I am happy, but still have lost money and time. This makes for a sad Riggs.
Now don't get me wrong - I understand the business of sports and even as I type this I am watching the Packers / Bucs NFC Championship. When the Packers are winning in Wisconsin, business is good and people are happy - even during a tumultuous elections season and a Pandemic. The sense of "belonging" and "community" that sports can bring to the table is unmatched. People love to watch "their team" win...unless you're one of the hard core sports fans an its "MY TEAM".....sure, Tim. YOUR TEAM. How many minutes did you play last Sunday by the way for YOUR team?
I decided to just be a fair weather and or bandwagon fan. When a team is doing well, I'll pull for them - especially when its the home team. Where is the harm in that? I don't have to worry about spending money on merchandise. If I miss a game, no big deal. I don't care who was traded to who - who got fired, who got horrifically injured, and I CERTAINLY don't ever have to sweat about how my "fantasy team" is doing this season. I did Fantasy Football for ONE season and obsessed over it so much, I lost even MORE time of my life to an IMAGINARY TEAM.
I'm not saying to NEVER watch sports, or even to become involved with them - because as I've mentioned many times, I understand the business and sense of belonging that sports can give to so many people. Would I love to watch the Packers win a Super Bowl and see the entire state of Wisconsin lose their mind? Absolutely! But if they go to the Super Bowl and LOSE - I'm not going to spiral in to a state of melancholy as I have done so many time in the past when the COLTS were losing so badly.
What's the point of this blog anyways? Well first of all, I feel like I'm sharpening my writing habits - which is something I need to do anyways, but I thought I'd share this part of my life with you - especially if you're still reading.
I guess the point is to just to keep what you spend your money on and who you spend your time with in check, and don't be afraid to re-evaluate every once in a while.
Be aware of where you invest your time and money in life, and take a regular temperature on if those things are still worth the investment. Maybe you genuinely ENJOY watching sports and it really does bring you pure joy - if you can do it, and you can afford it, and you don't let it get the best of you, then GO FOR IT. But always keep your habits and behaviors in check. Watching football and being a DIE HARD fan wasn't bringing me joy, and I found there were SO MANY other things I could spend my money and time on that brought me EVEN MORE JOY because there has been a MEGA return on my investments since I stopped pouring my energy into sports.
I'll cheer and be happy when they win, but move on with my life immediately if they lose.
I'm much happier now that I'm a bandwagon / fair weather fan. I find that my emotions and money are so much more well spent on more important things in life.
Like anything, sports are great in moderation. Just don't let it get too overboard.