I live in an area of the country where people are absolutely obsessed with college and pro football. This is the typical weekend schedule for 70% my city during the winter months:

Saturday:

  • 10am – Wake up and start drinking
  • 1-10pm – Watch college football
  • 10pm – 2am – Go to the bar

Sunday:

  • 10am – Wake up
  • 11am – Get drunk at tailgate for the local NFL team
  • 1pm – Watch local NFL team game
  • 4pm -10pm – Watch other NFL teams play for fantasy sports purposes

Look, I get it. Drinking can be fun. Nachos are tasty. Sports are at least notionally “cool.” But why are you willing to devote entire weekends of your precious free time to watching other men accomplish things? Would you ever sit around spectating at your buddy’s effort to repaint the walls, or crack open a beer and relax on the couch watching your friend work feverishly on his business idea? If not, then why would you watch people you’ll never meet engaging in contrived contests that have no meaningful impact on your life?

I enjoy the odd sporting event as much as the next guy. Freakish athletes doing things that I am incapable of is a spectacle worthy of occasional attention. Beyond that level of involvement, though, your sports fandom is a terrible time sink with no discernible return on investment. An American football game lasts 3 hours. If you watched one fewer football game per week, you could:

  • Do an intense weight-training and HIIT workout (1 hour)
  • Juice vegetables to help your health (30 minutes)
  • Go go the coffee shop and talk to a woman (1 hour)
  • Practice writing or another language skill (30 minutes)

Americans fetishize sports because the distraction prevents them from contemplating the lack of meaning in their own lives. Henpecked husbands and manboobs who lack the drive to get off the couch would rather fight their wives tooth and nail for 3 free hours to “watch the game” than face the idea that their spouses, bosses, corporations, and debt dictate their existence.

Sports has supplanted religion as the modern opiate of the masses. Just as Martin Luther was excommunicated for pointing out that indulgences were a scam, any protest to Joe Schlub in his Peyton Manning jersey about sports not affecting his life is likely to turn you into an outcast. You may have to change your social circles if they are built around going to the bar and watching sports, but in the long run this is a supremely positive move.

Most people cannot accept that events on football fields and basketball courts have zero relevance to their lives. The sooner you internalize this fact, the closer you come to maximizing the short time you have on this earth.

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