How I overcame my obsession with sports
Mariah Carey and Eminem do not like each other.
Well, let's do a quick pop culture refresher.
In 2001, Eminem mentioned how he once dated Mariah Carey. She claimed it never happened. Both were adamant they were telling the truth. And neither side budged. So to win the dispute, they had to get the public on their side.
So Eminem struck first.
He made songs over a few years, claiming they dated (and insulted Mariah Carey in the process). Eminem went as far as to play recorded voice messages at a concert of a woman begging him to call. The woman's voice sounded suspiciously like Mariah Carey. However, Mariah kept quiet and acted as if he had never existed.
Then out of the blue in 2009.
Mariah Carey dropped a diss song on Eminem called Obsessed. And it was a smash hit. Plus, the music video hilariously mocked Eminem.
Eminem was furious.
He retaliated with a diss song of his own. However, the song was a bit of a dud. It looked like Mariah Carey won the feud.
But that wasn't the case.
Mariah did win that round, but not the feud. And the reason is that these two are still taking jabs at each other, despite this going on for over 20 years. And to think, it all stems from a misunderstanding.
One misunderstanding I had in my 20s was my obsession with sports. Now, this doesn't seem at all like a bad addiction. I mean, there are worse addictions out there. But here is the thing, sports obsession robbed many people and me of life energy.
Where we cultivate it to create a life to enjoy.
If you see how passionate people are about sports. And how they will have the most random sports facts memorized. It's crazy to think what people with a sports addiction can do if they change their devotion to something else.
But that's getting ahead of myself.
Let's take a look at the core of a sports obsession. And I will be the subject being analyzed since I'm already self-centred as it is.
There were three reasons why I was obsessed with sports.
The first one being I had no direction or, better yet, I had no personal mission. And as a young guy, I had a lot of energy and enthusiasm to put into something.
But I put it into consuming too many sports.
I mean from NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, and all the soccer leagues. Heck, I would even keep up with tennis and golf, even though I didn't care for those sports. So much time was spent on sports and none on what I could do with my time and talents.
But it gets a little worse.
Another reason for my sports obsession was that it distracted me from dealing with my problems. It was easier to focus on sports and not on the matters that affected my life.
I lived and breathed sports.
Throughout the day, I watched, read, and talked about it. And to be honest, it's embarrassing to see how I cared about teams and players so much, heck, more so about my actual self.
However, I can't be too harsh on myself.
Because sports gave millions of other people and me something we all crave down to our DNA.
Which is a sense of community.
And that was another reason why I was obsessed. I could tap into a community of people who shared my passion. Where countless engaging conversations could occur. It felt incredible to be part of something bigger than myself. However, the sports community is very shallow. And since I didn't understand what a real community was, I succumbed to one that seemed like one.
That being said.
I overcame my addiction to sports. Even though this was a 10-year addiction, I overcame it.
And what did that result look like?
Surprisingly, I lost interest in most sports except those I cared about and took part in. So basically, from keeping tabs on many different sports, to now only watching about two, MMA and boxing. And the funny part is, I am not even that hardcore for MMA and boxing. I mean, I'll watch it and consume videos analyzing techniques. But I can't tell you who each division's top 5 fighters are. I can barely name all the champions.
But I digress.
Another thing that occurred when I overcame my sports addiction was the discovery of old interests.
And that was my love for history.
As some of you might know, I love war history, from the Romans to Genghis Khan to Napoleon. Funny enough, during my addiction phase, I rarely consumed history. Even though there were many exciting books, documentaries, etc., out there. I didn't even think about them. Heck, I could have travelled to Rome and Greece to see all the history.
But instead, I visit LA and Tokyo.
It's incredible how much of myself I had to rediscover. And one of those rediscoveries was my personal projects like my YouTube channel. I live and breathe creating content. I love reading, brainstorming, writing, and making videos.
Yet, none of that energy and enthusiasm was there from before. I had to divert the same energy from sports to YouTube. And if you see some of my content, you can see how wacky they can be.
Honestly, I can keep showing you how my life changed post-sports obsession. But let's get to the million-dollar question of how I got over it.
The core answer is that I dealt with my emotional issues first.
Looking back, it made sense that sports were a severe distraction from my personal issues. However, distraction is not a viable solution.
But seeing a therapist was.
Going to therapy to resolve my emotional issues unleashed my authentic self. It's as if I was awake for the first time in a long time.
I could see clearly.
And with all this clarity, I could ask myself honest questions like what I wanted from life.
And then execute it.
This was such a new experience for me. Instead of caring what sports player is getting overpaid. I was thinking about how I wanted to achieve my dreams.
All the clarity and emotional congruity have led me to be more mature. Where I can appreciate life for what it is. Life has indeed become an adventure for me. Where all the highs and lows occur, and I treat it like an epic adventure novel.
Yet some people will wonder why I'm talking about sports addiction.
Because some or many of you will claim you don't have a sports obsession. Let me be clear, I did not write this article to question whether you have a sports addiction.
But I am trying to get you to question yourself to see if you have an addiction to something that seems innocent. For me, I did not ever think I was addicted to sports.
All the signs were there.
The money, time, and my thoughts revolved around it. Yet, I never thought I was addicted to sports. Had I done some self-reflection, I might have wondered if I was spending too much of my life on it.
And this is where I want you to be honest with yourself.
The next time you journal or have a quarterly review, take an audit of where a lot of your time is going.
Is it social media?
Is it the news?
Is it porn?
Let me leave you a quote from the great Stoic, Seneca:
"What really ruins our characters is the fact none of us looks back over his life."
And speaking of what ruins things, this mistake can turn us into unsuspecting jerks.
Cutting sports altogether
I don't know about you, but sometimes, I can take a solution and make it extreme. And in this case, a simple mistake is to go all hardcore and cut out sports altogether.
This is foolish.
Life is all about moderation. We can keep tabs on sports or whatever, but nothing too crazy. Again, sports can be an easy ice-breaker for conversations and other things. But it's not the only thing.
Big difference there.
Let sports be part of your toolkit as a well-rounded person. Let me leave you an aphorism on moderation to keep in mind the next time you want to go extreme:
"Take neither the good nor the bad to extremes. A sage reduced the whole of wisdom to 'moderation in all things'. Extreme justice become unjust; an orange squeezed too hard leads to bitter juice. Even pleasure should never be taken to extremes. Ingenuity itself is drained if pushed too hard, and milking to excess will draw blood." -Baltasar Gracián.
And to not milk your attention too much, let's hop on to the summary.
I was obsessed with sports because I had no life direction/mission; it distracted me from my personal problems; made me feel like a part of a (shallow) community.
I naturally lost interest in most sports when I overcame my obsession. And I got in touch with old interests and personal projects.
I overcame this obsession by resolving my emotional issues and asking what I wanted from life.
Most people may not have a sports addiction, but that doesn't mean they have an addiction to something else like social media, news, etc.
A simple mistake to make is to cut out sports (or whatever you are addicted to) altogether. Just be moderate with it.
Who would have thought that sports or anything innocent could become an addiction?
That's the price we pay when we don't pay attention to our lives.
We can create obsessions about things that shouldn't matter in the grand scheme, like whether Eminem did date Mariah Carey or not.
Until next time,
The Charismatic Nerd