I like sports.
It feels good to have a rooting interest in something, and something to look forward to at the end of the workday.
I especially like it when my preferred sports teams — the Habs and Riders — beat the sports teams of my friends.
Then I can text them and tell them how bad their sports team sucks, and explain to them why mine is so clearly superior.
But as my brain has developed and matured, it's produced an unfortunate side effect — over the past five or so years I've started to examine things in my life from a critical perspective.
As a result, I've come to ask myself some dangerous questions as of late.
Why do I like sports? Is it reasonable to invest emotion at the risk of heartbreak into something so corporate and manufactured? Is it OK to spend hours glued to the greatest mass distractor of our time?
What is the point?
Let's back up a bit.
I had already begun questioning my blind sports fandom before the 2013 Grey Cup game.
That year I was at Mosaic Stadium to watch the Riders no fewer than five times — including the big win on home field. It was an exciting time.
The game, of course, was a blowout, and suddenly the unthinkable had happened. I was watching the Saskatchewan Roughriders win the Grey Cup — for just the fourth time in franchise history — live and in person.
It was an incredible moment and one I'll never forget.
But before I had even made my way out to the Green Mile, where thousands upon thousands of green-clad revelers were storming the streets of Regina, a sobering thought had filled my mind — what next?
What direction is there to go once you've reached the top? There in the streets of Regina, surrounded by Rider fans at the absolute peak of the franchise's existence, I somehow already knew my love of Canadian football could never be the same.
How could it? The goal had been reached and the foe had been conquered. Nothing that ever came after that moment could possibly top it.
I woke up the next morning hungover and satisfied, but even then, less than 12 hours after the franchise's defining moment, something was missing — purpose.
What do you do once you reach a goal? Do you set out to then accomplish that exact same goal again? When I finally graduated university, did I immediately re-enroll in the same program to re-earn my degree? No. That would have been stupid and pointless.
And that's kind of how I felt about the season following the Riders Grey Cup win. I watched the games, but something was missing. I just didn't care as much anymore.
And maybe that's what I find so appealing about sports in the first place — competition, accomplishment and the pursuit of victory.
Much like life itself, it's all about the pursuit.
We work our asses off and fight like hell for the things we want in life.
When we get them, we take a step back, reflect, and refocus our priorities on a new goal.
When I think about it, sports is like a less-authentic, more manufactured version of that personal pursuit. For whatever reason, we invest in one sports team or another and hope for victory. We live vicariously through our over-paid sports gods, and live and die by factors far beyond our control.
It's as submissive a pursuit as any — you have no control over the outcome or direction of the team, you just pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to watch them and wear their colours.
When they win the victory is not yours. But it makes you feel good about yourself, somehow.
This is a simplification of a complex issue for my own purposes — I'm sure you have your own reasons for watching sports.
But it's good for me to understand what it is that drives my fandom. It just makes me all the more driven to achieve my own goals in life.
There was more that I wanted to touch on here — sports as mass organized distraction, sports as mob mentality and the angry, emotional, borderline-psychotic responses of sports fans — but I don't have the space or the time.
The Habs game is starting.
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