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The problem with football fanatics

Over the course of many weeks, I spend time doing one activity for five hours during the week. Over the course of many months, it adds up to dozens of hours a year, and maybe even hundreds or thousands of hours over several years.

By this time, you might reasonably assume that I am passionate about what I am spending that much time doing. And if you’re wondering what this activity might be, well, it is the pastime of watching American football.

Millions of people across the U.S. tune in to NFL and college football games over the weekend and throughout the week on game nights. If it is not game time, there are always highlight reels, commentary shows, or pregame and postgame analysis—whatever suits your fancy. 

Avid sports fans pour hours upon hours every week into watching football games and all sorts of related sports media coverage. Even the casual fan who watches, say, three games a week would be spending around nine full hours a week observing games. 

Yes, there is an off-season to American football for a few months. However, even the “off-season” is chock-full of sports commentaries and analysis shows, talking heads projecting their expectations of players’ and teams’ performances for the upcoming season. 

Ironically, a line of the song used to introduce the weekly “Sunday Night Football” game reads, “I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday night.” 

If our schedule, our thoughts, our words and maybe even our passions are guided by what we see on television or in a game or revolve around sports themselves, we have found ourselves in a concerning predicament. 

I must admit, I was once this person. I lived and breathed sports—specifically football. I could tell you who was playing when, who played for who, who was going to beat who and sports had become quite a passion of mine. 

Now, I am not saying that one should not be passionate about sports. Sports can have a dramatically positive impact on individuals and I can attest to that fact. The danger lies when we allow sports or similar forms of entertainment to become our ultimate passions. 

Yet, for many, sports can provide a weekly, healthy leisure time.

“Everyone has time every week that they watch movies and TV shows. So for some people, rather than doing that they’ll just watch sports,” explained Josiah Ingegneri, a junior at ORU.

“Three hours a week for leisure time is just fine,” commented Mack Savala, a junior at ORU, on how much time he spends watching football. 

Ultimately, purpose does not come from entertaining ourselves to death. We must always remember to evaluate what we are spending our time on and what we are investing our time and energy into. 

Practicing this will allow you to analyze what your passions are and to act accordingly. Perhaps we could all use a little realignment.