I STILL Feel Sorry for Those Not Passionate About Sports

Submitted by Enjoy Life on September 12th, 2011 at 2:24 PM

I posted the diary I Feel Sorry For Those NOT Passionate About Sports on September 13, 2009 after Michigan beat ND 38-34 with just 0:11 seconds left on the clock.

After Saturday's game, it is definitely time for a reprise.

After our final touchdown Saturday as I jumped up and down yelling like a crazy man and giving high fives to everyone in sight, I was overcome by a feeling of complete euphoria (an intense, transcendent happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of well-being).

This, of course, was not the first time I have felt this or the most pervasive feeling of euphoria I have had. It has happened dozens and dozens of times. But, I realize that virtually all of the times I have felt this way, it was because of my passion for sports (primarily U/M sports).

I have friends who question my sanity because I am so passionate about Michigan football. When I tell them every fall I will be gone most weekends for the next 3 months, they look at me in a very strange way. When I explain that I can’t go biking or kayaking or whatever because the M away game is on TV, they roll their eyes.

On Sunday morning as I prepared to drive the 250 miles north to our home in Boyne City, a thought snuck into my mind. How do all the people who are NOT passionate about sports experience life?

I have experienced many moments of joy and euphoria – my wedding(s), the birth of my children, my children's weddings, birth of grandchildren, a beautiful sunset, etc. But, almost every other human being has also experienced those very same things in their own lives.

There are less than 114,000 human beings on the planet that will ever completely lose their minds in happiness and experience the euphoria I felt on Saturday.

Are there really 100’s of millions of Americans (and literally billions in other countries) who have never experienced the overwhelming euphoria that I (and many others) had experienced less than 12 hours ago? Is that really possible? Do they actually go through life without ever totally losing their minds in happiness and joy? How do they survive?
Really, I mean that: How do they survive?


Enjoy Life

September 12th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

There are several ads on TV where the woman looks at the man and says something like, "Brittany told me her boyfriend says Sundays are only for watching football. What do you think?

In this case (I think it is a MacDonalds ad), the guy says, "Her boyfriend is a jerk".

That guy is sensitive. My reply would have been, "Her boyfriend is Absolutely F'ing Lutley Right!"

There's also a bunch of Bud Lite "Real Men of Genius" ads where the guys are "sensitive".

Waters Demos

September 12th, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

They have other equally strong interests that tickle their fancies as much as M football tickles yours.

The flautists, the ceramic artists, the birdwatchers, the botanists, etc... would all say the same thing about their interests.

Waters Demos

September 12th, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

I appreciate your sentiment, and I've been there before with MSU basketball (and football), the Red Wings, the Pistons, the Tigers, US soccer, etc...

But you asked how people "survive."  Twice in fact.  I answered your question (admittedly only once, but I think that was sufficient).  I'm not sure what you're accusing me of "trying."


September 12th, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

At one point when I was jumping up and down on the bleacher while all the blue hairs around were doing their golf claps I realized that I might be a lunatic.  My dad was getting a kick out of watching me go nuts after the Roundtree touchdown like I was in still college but I had a feeling he was thinking that, at age 36, I was a little too old to be acting like an 18-year-old.  But those thoughts quickly left my mind and I resumed jumping around.  However, in the process, I think I left my voice somewhere in Section 3.  I still cannot find it and its pretty embarassing to not have it here at work . . .



September 12th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

I agree completely: What other avenues in life give us the opportunity to do that. Scream at the top of your lungs jump up and down and hug strangers?

Maybe winning a war or a tightly contested election? And those aren't nearly as safe and pleasant as sports. (definitely more significant but you get my point)

Deep Under Cover

September 12th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

I am almost 24 years young, so I have a lot of life ahead of me, but I do not see myself experiencing such an intense emotional rollercoaster anytime in the near future.  I adopted two older people behind me to be my Big House parents and got them cheering on.  I hugged them and the man to my left who hadn't opened his mouth once all game after that Roundtree TD.

The energy in the air that night was intoxicating and unavoidable.

Right before we finally left, a "blue hair" walking up the stairs stopped and looked at me, saying "What a waste of a night, huh?"  I stared blankly at him for a moment, then we both burst out laughing and high-fived eachother.

It was one of those experiences I will never forget, for sure.


September 12th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

Yeah but think of all the really important things that time could be spent on in the world that if all the time that was devoted to consuming sports was instead devoted to (or even a fraction of it) could be accomplished.

Sports can be fun and all, but I don't know if you can honestly say it's a particularly noble or high priority form of euphoria.  I always feel a bit sad actually that people love sports so much but that many (most?) don't have the same passion about what they actually do with their lives.  Or that they don't question whether they could (or should) find the same feeling in something active (as opposed to consuming a sport which is passive).  And I mean active as in involving action, not exercising.

I know it's easy to brush off thinking like this, but I've always thought it's important to ask questions about basic things and I think it's healthy and important to question why such a time consuming obsession with sports and not other things, even if at the end of the day you still think sports are worth a considerable amount of time.


September 12th, 2011 at 6:20 PM ^

When we look back on our pasts, isn't it always the Truly Amazing and Euphoric Moments that resonate with us decades later? 

My day-to-day happiness is fine - life is good, we're all healthy - but what I will NEVER EVER forget is when my kid turned to me with :08 seconds left and said "no matter what happens, this was the most awesome thing ever ..."  (I'm paraphrasing, he actually said someething much nicer than that but you get my drift.)

To share a memory like that with him makes EVERY moment of the rest of both our lives superior.

Whether or not sportsfandom is as worthy a goal as saving the planet is not really relevant to this.  Saving the planet raises my average satisfaction and happiness, but the PEAKS in life provide so much of the meaning.  I don't think  goals trade off in that way - I don't think having a non-cosmic devotion to football means you are less devoted to something else. 

Danny Kahneman made this issue a big part of his life's work and subsequently won a Nobel Prize in Economics for it.

I'm a musician and an artist too, but the euphoria of performance is pretty different somehow - it's in the performer and the listener, and the other people aren't especially critical to musical transcendence most of the time:  It's just Yo-yo Ma's cello and my ears, even if the hall is mostly empty.  But with sports, there is that sharing of experience that is really transporting. 

If there's anyone here also transported by reading, try Hubert Dreyfus' "All Things Shining," a recent release in philosophy about what creates meaning in life.

Me and my kid and 114803 others (less the Irish who left afterwards in a hurry), that was pretty awesomely meaningful.



September 12th, 2011 at 8:19 PM ^

The problem I have with sports is that yes, there are those euphoric moments when you watch the quarterback you worship connect with another player for the game winning (and seemingly improbable) touchdown.  However, there are times when you feel like the lowest thing ever as you watch your favorite team get completely demolished.  So I guess you take the goods with the bad.

Indiana Blue

September 12th, 2011 at 9:40 PM ^

I share your entire "thrill of the kill" relative to U of M football.  I love sports of all kinds due to the total unpredictability of what MAY occur.  And witnessing it live vs. TV is also entirely different.  As we leave for Michigan Stadium on a football saturday I always tell my tailgate family ... right now, this is the ONLY place on earth I want to be.

Can you imagine what an EKG would have looked like during the 4th quarter?  Where else can you be in public and get this kind of a "rush" that brings you to high fiving and hugging total strangers who also share this "rush"?  Excuse me, but if you get kind of a rush watching a bird ... then you need professional help!

Go Blue!


September 13th, 2011 at 2:02 AM ^

in the Big House on Saturday night is all my friends and family who are also M fans telling me how jealous they were that I was there. My cousin and sister watched the game together at my house, and I talked to them on the phone about a half hour after the game. They experienced the euphoria and roller coaster that was Under the Lights. However, they were still jealous that I was part of the crowd. Other friends have also expressed similar sentiments. When I bought that Notre Dame 4-pack a few months back, some people even asked me why I didn't just buy the OSU 4-pack. Right now, I am beyond happy that I made that decision the morning the 4-packs went on sale. As I sat and stared at my computer screen and saw the words "confirm purchase" staring pack at me, I decided to throw that money down. As it turns out, the 300+ George Washington's I parted with pale in comparison to the memory I will now have forever lodged in my brain of that magical night.