If you’re anything like me, you might have come into work this morning with a brain that’s half-comatose from all the TV you watched over the Thanksgiving break. Maybe you watched TV for more hours than you even slept.
You definitely watched TV for more time than you spent talking to the “loved ones” you see only once a year, for the big meal. Of that much, I’m sure.
Personally, there were a lot of “Big Games” for me to watch:
The Cowboys are clearly not “America’s Team” anymore. Do we really need this overhyped, underperforming team on every Thanksgiving? (Meanwhile, they played a team called the “Redskins” – what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with a team named after a racial slur for Native Americans?)
The Jets embarrassed themselves, but apparently not enough to bring in Tim Tebow? It’s not enough for them to lose, they have to be as lifeless as possible doing it? And do we really need a third game on Thanksgiving, anyway?
Notre Dame is undefeated and will play for the national championship. That’s pretty exciting. But did I need to give up Saturday date night to watch them beat a terrible USC team, when everyone knew the Irish were gonna win that game?
The Giants looked good last night. Or the Packers looked terrible. I can’t even tell. Does it matter?
The 49ers beat up on the Saints yesterday; why I watched that game and felt like I cared, I have no idea. The remote took me there somehow.
Syracuse beat Temple on Saturday to get to 7-5, which means the Orange still have a shot at the Big East title, which doesn’t seem to matter too much, because no matter who wins the Big East, they’re going to a meaningless bowl game.
Duke basketball won the mythical “Battle for Atlantis,” in the Bahamas, which is just about the stupidest tournament I’ve ever heard of. It looked like they were playing in a banquet hall. This timeless matchup was on the NBC Sports Network - as if we needed another 24-hour sports network. (I guess it was good for 4-5 college hoops games this weekend if you really needed that fix, in November.)
Of course I had to watch a lot of Michigan-Ohio State on Saturday, because that’s the “real” “Big Game.” Whatever that means. Ohio State looked great but they’re not allowed to be ranked and they’re not going to a bowl game. What did the Buckeyes do again, to deserve that fate? So much cheating, apparently, and yet who can remember what happened? Someone got a tattoo? Or did they steal something?
The list of “big games” goes on and on. But it doesn’t get any better.
What did I get out of seeing all these games? Were these games really so special - so important – that I had to watch every minute of them?
Between all these games, a little SportsCenter (highlights of the same big games I just watched - ugh), and the other TV shows, I would say I put in a 40-hour TV week. At least.
My hand had such a tight grip on the remote that I couldn’t let it go. I had to hold it while I slept last night.
But here’s the question – how much of these games will I remember in a few days? Or even tomorrow? Anything?
So why did I spend all this time watching them??
I love sports – it’s inspiring, and entertaining, and touching. Heck, it’s my business!
But if I multiply weeks like this past one over the course of my life, I begin to see how much time I’ve wasted watching “The Big Game” when it wasn’t a big game at all.
When is enough enough? When am I just zapping my brain cells, with nothing to show for them?
Was I studying to be the spokesperson for couch potatoes everywhere? I’m as bad as my kids used to be, with the video games I thought they were addicted to.
So today I’ve decided: If I’m watching a “Big Game,” I’m going to make a point to do some other things while I watch. I’m going to multitask: send work emails; write thank you notes; shop for holiday gifts; read some good articles; watch some good TED talks, etc. And I’m going to work out during some of the more meaningless big games.
In short, I’m gonna keep half of my brain cells – and muscle cells - active. I’m going to protect them!
And I’m not going to use the term “Big Game” anymore. How many “Big Games” can there be before my wife doesn’t believe they’re actually big enough for me to keep the TV on? How many “Big Games” can there be in one single week?
I’m going to schedule which games I watch in advance, to make sure they’re worthy of my time. Because it’s my time! My life is the big game! My brain is the big game! I need to be watching those games a bit more.
I need to see if I can survive without knowing who won the “Battle for Atlantis” the moment it happens. I need to make sure that won’t kill me.
What’s your favorite “Big Game” that’s not really a very big game? Leave your comment below.
A few years ago, Kevin Hall and I discussed some his most though-provoking ideas in my 8 Questions series and recently, he came to Steiner Sports to expound some of his wisdom. I lean on Kevin for inspiration and I'm sure you'll understand why!