FREEDOM!!!! Liberating Myself from Daytime Sports TV

Mel Gibson famously yelled “freedom” at the end of the movie Braveheart (SPOILER ALERT) as his character, William Wallace, was being gutted in a public setting for not bending the knee. Liberty and freedom won the day when the American colonists (well, 1/3 of them) successfully thwarted the tyrannical grip of monarchical rule. The French had their own revolution…you get the point. In a very similar fashion, I freed myself from daytime sports TV about ten years ago and yes, liberty and freedom has reigned supreme, as ironic as that sounds.

My personal era of sports “anger” lasted from about 2007 to 2011. I used to get upset when my sports teams lost. I used to get even more upset when my favorite teams’ rivals won.  Not punch a hole in the wall upset. However, my emotional reaction to rivals’ winning far exceeded in ridiculousness my emotional reaction to my teams losing. I would scoff and cuss for inordinately long periods of time after a rival’s win.

Over the last ten years, my reactions to a sports win or loss have happily graduated from excitement or anger to “whatever man, I don’t really care that much.” Don’t get me wrong, I still root for my teams, but a rival’s win no longer yields an immature feeling of hatred.  I think I figured out why – I stopped watching daytime sports TV.

From 2007 to 2011, my dark, embarrassing period of watching sports, I willingly exposed myself to a ton of daytime sports talk TV, which retrospectively stoked the flames of my sports anger. Yet from 2011 to the present, my time spent watching the Colin Cowherds and Skip Baylesses of the world gradually declined. Over the last 3 years, I have probably watched a total of 6 hours of daytime sports TV. Those six hours accrued only because those programs unintentionally appeared on my TV during the day.  

Ever since I ceased watching daytime sports TV, I stopped caring as much about the results of sporting events. Although I will save this for another post (maybe), the same can be said about polarized political channels. We all know someone that stews in anger and gets all worked up watching one-sided political talk shows all day. We, as a society, care more about being against something, as opposed to being for something. In my case, the analogy is apt with daytime sports TV.

Anyways, enough about politics. During this timeframe (2007 – 2011) I was in graduate school. I had plenty to do, but the mornings and afternoons typically saw me reading and writing with ESPN constantly running on the TV. I listened to/watched everything from Mike and Mike to Cold Pizza to Colin Cowherd. I know….yuck, yuck, and yuck.

Every day was the same. The Mikes joked about Golic eating too much and “Greeny” being a small-in-stature nerd. That bit got real old, real quick. Then the intolerable Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith yelled at each other for two hours, usually about the Cowboys and LeBron James. Then Colin Cowherd smugly talked about only the biggest names and teams in sports for a few hours: Patriots, Cowboys, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Yankees, Derek Jeter, Red Sox, Lakers, Celtics, Heat, LeBron James, and SEC football. Each of these programs would, at times, go on for hours about one topic, but I listened with great enthusiasm.

 

Well today (March 9), I had some free time and I put on Colin Cowherd, who is now with Fox.  This guy talked about Dak Prescott and the Cowboys for like 2 hours straight.  I understand it is a slow sports talk time right now, but my god.  It was annoying, and I am a Cowboys fan.  Here is what they covered:

  • Is Dak an elite quarterback?
  • Where does Dak rank among the top NFL quarterbacks?
  • Are the Cowboys the favorites in the NFC East now that Dak signed his deal?
  • How should Dallas draft over the next couple years?
  • Let’s go to Daryl Johnston to get his takes on the above questions…

THEN, REPEAT

  • Is Dak an elite quarterback?
  • Where does Dak rank among the top NFL quarterbacks?
  • Are the Cowboys the favorites in the NFC East now that Dak signed his deal?
  • How should Dallas draft over the next couple years?
  • Let’s go to Jimmy Johnson and get his takes on the above questions…

OVER AND OVER.  The same content asked in slightly different ways. My liberation from sports talk TV influenced me to keep saying, out loud, “who cares!? Talk about something else.”

There is someone out there watching Colin Cowherd today whose hatred for the Cowboys is either starting or reaching unhealthy levels of anger. I’ve been there before.  I get it.  The formula for these shows has always been the same: talk about big names and big teams for way too long and get people worked up. It clearly works.

LeBron’s “Decision” in 2010 to take his talents to South Beach was all over the place. I sat there and watched all of it unfold on daytime sports TV, over and over.  The name of the shows may have changed from 9am to 2pm, but the content remained exactly the same. And there I sat stewing in anger over LeBron. He became a rival to me. It was unhealthy. I couldn’t stand the guy. You would never know I was a Mavericks fan. I wasn’t rooting for the Mavs, I was rooting against LeBron. The Mavs defeating the Heat in 2011 ended up being what became the perfect end to the “dark period” era of my sports anger. But my attention to the LeBron saga is embarrassing to me now. What was I doing?

Watching Cowherd today also reminded me of when I used to hear ESPN go on and on and on about the Yankees and the Red Sox. It was like the other teams did not exist. As a Texas Rangers fan, it made me despise the Yankees and Red Sox more than I did. I used to watch the Yankees just so I could gloat when they lost. But who am I gloating to?  Am I really getting this worked up with sports that I can’t wait to prove the ESPN talking heads wrong?  This is ridiculous. 

That is just not a healthy way to live a sports life.  Ever since I stopped watching these shows, I really don’t care if anyone has something negative to say about a team I like.  Or if a rival wins. I don’t hate LeBron anymore. I don’t sulk anymore if the Yankees win. And it is such a liberating feeling.

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