Putting a Sporting Loss Into Perspective

Between the ages of 10-13, my day went according to how my favorite team did. I had that special childhood passion for the teams I cherished and the players I idolized. Back then, my level of fandom for the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Washington State football/basketball teams, Gonzaga basketball, and the high school I would end up attending was at an obsession level. I knew the names of all the players/coaches, I knew all the key stats, and I knew pretty much every obscure fact that related to the team….I was a walking media guide. With so much love and time invested into these teams along with my youthful immaturity, I took losses (and believe me there were a lot of them ) pretty hard.

I was the kid who would yell at referees through the television. I would throw a fit when something did not go my team’s way. I would cheer loudly with every touchdown or three-pointer that my team converted on. My parents would literally get telephone calls from neighbors asking if everything was okay because of all the commotion they were hearing….”Yep,” my parents would answer, “Brent is just watching the game. We are very sorry.” My mom would then come down and tell me to shut up. So after all the energy I exerted into the game, when the final whistle blew, I either felt amazing if my team won or I felt like crying if my team lost. If the latter happened, I moped for the rest of the day. If it was a night game, I went to bed sad. Having my emotions dictated through something that I could not control and through something that should not carry as much weight as I let it proved to be kind of an instable way to live. How did I manage to overcome this type of roller-coaster living?…

I grew up.

I must say that I am a little embarrassed that I ever suffered from the sports-obsessed result syndrome that I obviously displayed. However, I do feel fortunate that I ended up growing out of it. I credit perspective as the main reason for my triumph over my silly obsession. More on this in a little bit

Unfortunately, some people who suffered from the same thing I did in my childhood never really grew out of it while others never experienced it in their youth and simply developed it as adults. Whatever the case may be, obsessing over whether your team wins or loses and then letting it drive the rest of your day is like sucking your thumb: Not encouraged or preferred but accepted as a child, disturbing and weird as an adult.

It doesn’t matter the level of play, many adults become enraged and irrational when their favorite team loses. It could be their kid’s team, their alma matter, or their favorite pro club. When the game ends, some fans can’t accept and move on with the final result. People who should know better go off the deep end feeling like something they were entitled to (a win) has been snatched away from them. Things then start to get ugly as these people whine, cry, and moan about everything that led to the loss. They re-visit, analyze, and contemplate everything that happened in the game…they can’t let it go. They let negative energy completely engulf them and unleash it on everyone they come into contact with whether it be in a bar, outside the stadium, or through message boards/social media. They take out their anger on others, they assign blame to whoever they feel is responsible for costing them the win they felt was owed to them. In the ultimate display of hypocrisy, many of these fans will even call out and chastise the players and coaches of the team that they supposedly love so much.

It is at this point, say six hours after the game, when these “fans” are still sulking around as they re-watch the highlights and continue to get worked up over an event that is now in the past that I just want to grab one of them by the shoulders, look them square in the eye, and say:

Hey man, tough game today. I really thought we were going to pull it out. Sure it stings a little, but don’t you think that instead of letting the loss continue to eat away at you and make you snap at your family and assign blame to the people you should support the most right now (coaches and players) that you should maybe see the bigger picture? You and I are way too lucky to let something as trivial as a three hour sporting event turn us into sniveling little kids.

We are living in the best and most secure nation in the world. In fact, we are part of the only 4% on this planet to live in the United States of America. If not for the freedoms and liberties we enjoy living here, it is possible that we would not even have the opportunity to play sports. Or, for people like you and me who have seen our sub-par playing days pass us by, watch sports. We get to do what we want, when we want. We get to choose our career, choose our religion, choose how we spend our money, choose what we say, choose who we date, choose how we live. We are extremely spoiled.

We have our families, we have our shelter, we have our food and drink. We wake up every morning knowing that we are protected. We can walk down the street without fear of getting shot or having an explosive device blow up in our face. We are in the midst of a Presidential election. Yes, we get the opportunity to vote for the leader of our great nation. Talk about an important competition right there! Perhaps we should focus more on the winner and loser of that race rather than the game from today.

We are isolated from the terrible people on this earth. Luckily, we don’t live in one of many countries where leaders slaughter their own people. We don’t live in a place where drug lords rule the streets and don’t think twice about killing innocent men and women. The evil people who hurt others on our own soil are held accountable and thrown into prison. Think about it, these are the people who really deserve our scorn and anger…not a referee, not a coach, and definitely not a player.

I know the result was not what you wanted today but how cool was it that you got to watch that game? In an organized fashion, two teams came together and played. They poured their hearts out onto the field as they tried to win the competition. Coaches who invest thousands of hours into their athletes did everything they could to give their team the edge. If you were in the stadium today, you got to cheer on your team with *enter the amount of people who were at your competition* other fans in a safe venue. Instead of working in the office, attending a doctor’s appointment, or pulling weeds, you got to go watch a game! If you watched it on television, you got the privilege of something that billions of other people around the world don’t have: the luxury of watching a live sporting event broadcast right into your comfortable home. Again, the result was not what you wanted but you got the treat of enjoying a game! If only others were so lucky.

I feel your disappointment man, I used to get too wrapped up into my team winning as well. But we need to grow up and we need to put things into perspective. We are two of the luckiest dudes in the world and we are not doing our part in honoring the majority of the people on earth who have actual serious problems. Instead of going to bed angry that our team lost, let’s go to bed thankful that our team was even able to play. The sun will come out tomorrow and we will continue to live our blessed lives. Don’t Blink.