It seems a long time ago when my life had a large amount of it revolve around certain pro sports teams. Living in the New England area, it’s hard to exist as a non sports buff. On some level, everyone here seems to wear around a type of paraphernalia favoring one of the local teams. I will admit that I do have a few articles of sports based clothing that place me here in this area.There is a major difference though with me and most people I meet here when it comes to sports. I don’t follow any of the local pro teams nor any of the other ones outside this area. There was a time I did though.
If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont, your bound to be a loyal devotee of one of the New England based pro sports teams which include the Boston Celtics ( NBA ), the New England Patriots ( NFL ), the Boston Bruins ( NHL ), and the Boston Red Sox ( MLB ). I grew up in New York though and for most of the younger years of my life I followed two local teams, the New York Mets ( MLB ) and the Buffalo Bills ( NFL ), and one other team, the Chicago Bulls ( NBA ). If a game was on with one of those teams, there was a strong likelihood that I was watching it, face glued to the television. If my team won, I was so happy. If my team lost, I was miserable and criticizing the players or the coaches. And then there were the debates I got into with people about how “my team” was better then “their team”.
All of this shifted in my life just past my college years when I lost my father and then my mother both tragically. During those years of grief, I sought healing through several things but one that specifically changed my whole level of interest in life. When I discovered meditation, my life changed dramatically. It was at a silent retreat that I had gone on for ten days that I was given a crash course in meditation.
During that retreat, all the creature comforts of life were removed and I spent ten complete days in silence meditating, walking, and reflecting. There is no media on any level and no writing instruments either. It’s just myself and my thoughts. That’s when I realized how I was on hyper speed in most of my life every single day and how I spun myself up and down based upon so many external things.
When I emerged from the retreat, my eyes were focused differently on life. While everyone and everything seemed to be on a freeway racing at top speeds, I was at a snail’s pace. That’s when I really started to see how I was allowing things outside of me influence how I felt every single day.
Why did I get so bent out of shape when one of the teams I liked lost? Why was I so hyper when one of my teams was winning? Why was I so angry and irritable at life and people around me when my team was doing poorly? Why did I treat everyone around me so much nicer when my team was in first place? Meditating helped me to go deeper with these questions and find some answers.
I wasn’t connected in ANY way to ANY professional athlete on ANY team. Yet I based a large portion of my life around those things and my life reflected it depending on how each was doing. I bragged about how great my team was to others, especially to fans of opposing teams, and I got into arguments to those same people just trying to defend something I wasn’t even connected to.
Upon moving to the New England area, I immediately felt different than most people here. There really are a vast amount of avid fans here of the local pro sports teams, especially the New England Patriots. A few years ago, they went 16-0 and then lost in the superbowl in the final minutes to the New York Giants. I swear you could have heard a pin drop in every house, on every street, throughout all of New England when that happened. And then the next day, it was the most called in sick day that whole year. No one was on the roads, as if it was Christmas Day. A few years later, the same thing happened again in the Superbowl, to the same team, in the last few minutes. And once again, life shut down for another day and everyone seemed angry and irritable. On the news they show people near the stadiums destroying property, shooting guns, getting in fights, and more whether the teams have won or lost.
I’m not sure why I ever was so deeply invested in any team. Maybe it gave me something to believe in. Maybe it was an escape. Maybe it was just something to do. Whatever the reason, it’s not me anymore. I’m not following any team or any player or any sport anymore and interestingly enough, I’m a much calmer person in my life. I’m concerned more today about reaching out and helping others and focusing in on people that are suffering and how I might be of assistance. The other night when the Patriots were playing the Ravens (and lost) I was at a Detox speaking to alcoholics and addicts that were needing help. To me it was a no brainer of where I wanted to be that night. To others that I called and asked if they wanted to join me, I was told I was crazy for wanting to miss “the big game”.
My truth is that I don’t want to feel anxious and jittery anymore and that happened a lot when watching a game. I don’t wish to subject myself to the highs and lows that come throughout the minutes I glue myself to a television during a sports season. I’ve dealt with enough anxiety and depression in my life that I don’t need to enhance it by tying myself so closely into the life of a pro sports team.
The biggest pro sporting event in the country is coming up in two weeks. The Superbowl. Will I watch it? Yes. But not for the reason one may think. I like the commercials and the halftime show. If I could string that all together for 60 minutes of viewing and remove the game, that would be a great hour spent for me.
I really am not on a roller coaster anymore of ups and downs and don’t plan on being again in this life. I like being a much calmer person throughout the day and I know that I wasn’t when I invested hours of my life each week cheering a team on. I’m happy for the athletes if that’s where their passion is. I pray for the best in each of them, their teams, as well as for their safety. That’s about the extent of connection I have anymore to sports. I like feeling more at peace and I’m grateful that meditation helped me to look at my life a little deeper to see what things kept me from getting centered and balanced, being an ups and downs kind of sports fan was just one of them.
Peace, love, light and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson