OMW’s Perspectives: A Reflection on the Year That Was and Is
Reflection time, as this 2015 year is nearing its conclusion…
It has been an up and down (but mostly up) year. God does not operate on the calendar from which we operate — which is why I don’t get into New Year’s Resolutions or any of that folly, but to each his/her own — but nevertheless, progress was made toward my ultimate goals.
From a macro standpoint, to close the chapter on the past ten years (roughly since I left Aetna in August 2005 and left the Working Stiff Rat Race for what appears to be for good, in retrospect) until today, in December 2005), I have learned a good deal of tough life lessons.
At the time of the trials, it is rarely ever fun, and often painful. But once you emerge from the wilderness, if you have keen discernment and maintain the proper focus and perspective on how things were either orchestrated for your good, or allowed (for the same purpose), you don’t grow bitter as a result. You become grateful.
Ranging from immersing myself in every area of social sciences (Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, etc.) to incorporating those concepts into a graduate-level academic forum, while also applying them in my professional and personal life, it has given me a unique perspective in every area of life.
One of the more trivial areas where this is true is sports fandom.
Some people get way too wrapped up with their favorite teams, emotionally wrecked, incorrigible and inconsolable after losses (intolerable — if you’re a fan of a team that rivals theirs — when their team wins). I actually used to be that way in my teens and early 20s, coinciding when life was easy and everything I did came with minimal to no resistance and with seemingly Midas Touch results.
Then the first year after I left Aetna came, and the contrary seemed to occur in every facet. Everything that was easy and successful before, became (what appeared to be) difficult, borderline impossible, and seemingly a failure.
Nowadays, I don’t get involved in trash talk when it comes to sports. I have zero impact on the outcome of games. When my team wins, I am happy for them, and, but for an hour or so of elation, I move back on to what I do. I got a busy life to lead, here. No time to be reveling in something that does nothing for me intrinsically (I know there are some warped-minded people who will argue that a sports team winning a game DOES do something for them intrinsically, but that is another topic for another day). You can certainly become motivated for sure, but if you didn’t play in the game, you can’t feel the same profound triumph that those who dedicated their time and effort to accomplishing those successes. It doesn’t work.
Adopting this new mindset, which I have had since around the time of the Giants’ ouster from the playoffs in 2006, it saves me a lot of headache and stress later. I look at some of the interactions between fans of teams and you would swear that they had even a 1% impact on the outcome of the games with how much they trash talk. Again, to each his own, but part of the reason why some people are so inconsolable when their team loses is that the sting is proportional to the amount of bragging they did leading up to a particular game or series. Especially if they just KNEW their team would win a game that they eventually lost.
When you’ve overcome so much in your personal life, you don’t need to repeatedly have those “this puts things into perspective” moments that often occur when someone dies or something tragic happens where the same people repeat that same line a million times. Why do you have to keep putting things into perspective? Wouldn’t you rather learn the lesson once and maintain that perspective thereafter? Especially as relates to how relatively trivial the entertainment that is sports is in relation to the things that directly affect you in your everyday lives.
Some people watch sports to escape from the drudgery of their lives. Some are so emotionally invested in sports that there is nothing of any significance to them outside of it. Others still maintain a balance that works for him. Ultimately, it is what works for you that which is “right.” There is no moralizing here, merely offering perspective. Perspective that may save some of you from a heart attack or stroke, from the way some sports fans become batshit crazy over things that they have zero impact on and have zero ability to alter the outcomes therein.
I’m grateful for what I went through over the past 10 years, but now I’m ready for my life back. Just minus working myself into epileptic seizures and migraine headaches over a game that the players involved in often get over before they hit the team bus.
Bill Parcells said it best, as relates to why coaching wore him out and that he could not return (the last time general managers attempted to coax him back to the sidelines): winning is great and all, but the feeling that is associated with it is fleeting. When you lose, however, those losses sting more and more, and eventually losing gets to be so consuming that it drives you insane to the point where you want no part of the game (at least as a coach, or as a player, if you’re one of those megalomaniacs like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant who nearly burst into flames whenever they lost).
Even when I coached high school kids in basketball and football, losing gave me ulcers. I damn sure ain’t gonna develop ulcers when I should just be on the couch enjoying sports being played at the absolute highest level humanly possible.