It’s hard to fulfill your purpose in life if we are constantly distracted. And the real weapon of mass distraction is sports, especially in Black America.
Power Over Me
When the Washington Redskins lost, I used to get so upset that I would be mad the entire week. When the Washington Wizards traded away Chris Webber, I listened to frustrated fans vent on sports talk radio all day long. Magic Johnson is one of my favorite athletes, and I cried at little league football practice when he announced that he had AIDS. When Barry Sanders retired during his prime, I didn’t understand why and haven’t liked a football player as much since.
I spent hard earned money on season tickets for several teams. And spent hours on hours discussing all sports on the message boards before social media became so popular. In the early part of Allen Iverson’s career, I argued with anyone who would listen why he was a better player than Kobe Bryant. Yes I would get so worked up about my favorite sports teams or player, but one day I finally asked myself: why do I care?
No One Cares
When I traveled, my love for sports followed me. I would stay at the best resort in Mexico and would call around to see who was showing the Redskins game. It was hard finding a place and when I went, I was the only one there watching. I realized while I was spending 4 hours of my day watching a football game, others were enjoying, exploring and experiencing living in the moment. Eventually I realized even if my favorite team won the championship year after year, that would better my life how?
An addiction to sports, diverts our attention from the realities of life to the reality of a game, which includes emotional and psychological components that are intended to keep us hooked. This game is supposed to be a distraction from the real life, but instead it control our lives. People care more about who wins the Rockets/Warriors game than supporting a cause to prevent injustices in their community. And some may argue that I can do both. I think the bigger question is to ask yourself, is watching sports a hobby or a main interest? Are you allowing sports to prevent you from getting involved with solving the bigger issues in the real world?
It Controls Us
Today we spend countless hours watching, listening, reading and talking about sports all the time. We attend the games, listen to sports talk radio, receive real-time sports alerts, and argue around the clock on social media. More people identify with their favorite sports player than they do with the local political figure whose decisions directly affect their lives. And when we do rally to support a cause, we quickly forget when the big game comes on.
I grew up playing every sport that was available. In my community, that’s just what you did. When you grow up young, black and broke, the opportunities are scarce. Your heroes are the athletes in your hood and the stars on TV. So in order to fit in, stand out, or make it out, you believed you had to be good at something. The more you practiced and played, the less time was spent on reading, learning and understanding. So as I aged and matured, I realized that an amazing life was possible without having to shoot a three pointer or score a touchdown.
The Powers That Be
The major corporations and owners are the biggest benefactors of the stadiums, sports broadcast station and teams. While we waste our time and spend our hard-earned money on sports, the ‘powers that be’ benefit from mass consumerism. Big corporations controls the media and operate it with clever marketing techniques. The same way it’s hard to log off Facebook, is similar to how your activities are controlled via sports. This is why you can’t stop watching even if you disagree with what they are doing. He who controls the media, controls the mind of the people.
It’s Just Sports
I know all of this is hard to except. I mean it’s just sports! But understand that sports is used to distract ALL people from dealing with real issues. People are so obsessed by the game, that they never question, analyze or think that sports can be a distraction. Or if they do, it’s in between watching live sports telecasts. And the problems in the black community are too many to name. But one of the main issues is denying that we are being controlled, which fuels our dependency on sports.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We have young kids that spend 20+ hours a week practicing and playing when that is time that could be spent reading and processing life. Every child is unique and have an innate ability to learn. Their brains are dynamic and constantly active. Instead of giving them all the tools to tap into their natural ability, we put them on the football field. And even if you are fortunate to get a college scholarship or make it to the pros, blacks don’t own the teams. And when we don’t own, our voices are muted if and when we speak out.
Sports Ain’t All Bad
Sports are fun and I still watch. It’s been proven that on-going, structured sports provide many benefits for kids. I mean I like Lebron and I still play fantasy football. But I view sports as strictly entertainment. I could care less about who wins or loses, who gets drafted or someone’s new contract. It sucks that we prefer to discuss Lebron vs. Jordan rather than how to fix broken homes. It makes more sense to use that time and energy to figure out how to improve in life and put our families in better positions.
So when you see me out, I would rather have ‘progressive discussions’ rather than who won the game last night. The problems in the black community are great. Let’s brainstorm how to fix those issues versus spending so much of our time discussing a game. We need more black founders, political activists and more importantly leaders. It took me time, but I accepted that sports owned me and my time. And now I have taken my power back. Have you started to retake yours?