I used to be a raging sports nut. Baseball - Boston Red Sox, Football - Dallas Cowboys, Basketball - Boston Celtics, Hockey - Boston Bruins, Curling - Saskatchewan Fudgeslingers. I followed the teams religiously, I watched the televised games, I poured over the box scores and statistics until I knew them better than my own dog's name. I employed language like "We killed 'em last night or "I can't believe we played so poorly." I had myself convinced that I was somehow a crucial element of the team.
I vividly remember the day it all ended. All the fanaticism, all the frenzied overinvolvement, all the crazed zealotry. Set aside in a moment of lucid understanding of the costs involved. It was April 1989. I was following a basketball playoff game between the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons. It was toward the end of Larry Bird's playing career and the once mighty Celtics were no longer an elite team. I was living in a dorm room at Indiana University. As I did not have access to a television, I listened to the game on my radio. I hung with my team in an elimination game that lasted for 3 hours. The game was back and forth the entire time. In the end, the Celtics lost and the physical toll that game took on me was significant. My blog pressure spiked and would not come down. I worked myself into a migraine headache. I screamed so long and so loud that I lost my voice. Beyond this, the feelings of defeat and malaise stayed with me for days.
It was then that it finally dawned on me that I had no real stake in the game. I was not playing. I was not in the crowd cheering and screaming and uplifting. I was giving myself a heart attack screaming myself hoarse in a dorm room in Bloomington, Indiana 840 miles away from the action. It was then that I set all of that aside. I walked away and never returned. Sure, I still watch sports on television from time to time, but I no longer have my heart and soul invested in these contents. After all, I am in no way a part of the team.