During the fall, we watch football. Growing up, we generally attended a football game on Friday night to either watch my brothers play football or to watch my sisters march in the band and at times the football boys played, ran to the sideline, yanked off their pads and marched with the band. And then, football season was over. We did other things.
After we got married and had kids, our football schedules increased because things had changed in middle-class America. It was now OK to practice and play on Wednesday nights and Sundays. Sports events were growing.
With numerous children, I found myself at the stadium several times a week. Monday night was late band practice, Wednesday night Jr. High football, Thursday night was JV football, and Friday night was both band and football. Then, naturally, we watched our favorite college team on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday. Along the way, the NFL added Monday night. This was our fall schedule for several years.
Our youngest has taken up golf and cross country, and the college girl is no longer in band, so freezing – or burning – outdoor, aluminum, stadium benches are a thing of the past for me. Cross country has been a marvelous sport for us. No seating because we stand around the track and scream as they run by. He goes and runs after school, and I pick him up afterward. The meets begin on time, and about 16 minutes later, we are finished. We watch the girls run in, while he gulps down water, and we are on the way back home within about an hour.
On the other hand, golf takes forever, but to be positive, I get to ride around in the cart to watch him play. The downfall to summer golf is the soaring-hot temperatures, and the downfall to fall golf is that by December, I take blankets, hats, and gloves to drive around in my little cart. Golf is more sporadic than football. They practice two times a week and then, the meets are on every OTHER Saturday for about six meets. Then, we are finished! YAAAYYY!
I love to play sports, and I love to watch sports. But it seems to me that 24/7 sports can get in the way of real life. Currently, we can watch football all day Saturday and miss doing the laundry, cutting the grass, and going grocery shopping. We can watch football on Sundays and miss church, visiting with kids over a long meal, and cleaning the bathrooms. Sunday nights have games. Monday nights have games. Throw in a few baseball playoffs, add in Thursday night football, fantasy football leagues, and nothing gets done – well, except for the napping.
One of the funniest commercials to air during football is the iPhone commercial where the girl talks about how busy people are going to be with the new phone. So busy that she takes a marker and adds a “13” to the wall clock trying to make more time. Phones, computers, iPads, games, fantasy leagues, social media, sports, and Christmas are just a few of the things which are turning into 24/7 activities. They take up our time, but no matter how much we try, we are not going to get that “13th” hour.
All of us are busy, busy, busy, but maybe we shouldn’t be. We need to miss a game here and there. We need to unplug our devices at nights. Perhaps we need to reinstate the family Sunday dinner at home. Take time to cook a good-tasting meal and spend time with family or friends. Wash up together afterward instead of rushing to the next screen. Choose one sport to play/follow instead of all sports. Take the time to travel. Be alone for a few hours. Contemplate. Ponder. Watch the stars. Sit on your deck and find shapes in the clouds. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Just breathe.
Some of the things that have changed the way we live our lives are kind of ridiculous if one thinks about it. When our great grandchildren ask how we spent Sunday afternoons, what are we going to say?
“We spent eight hours watching a two-hour football game because the re-plays took up four hours to make sure and doubly sure that the foot was not on the line or the ball crossed the plane. And then we listened to two hours of commentators go over every mistake in technicolor.”
Or worse, what if we have to say, “Well, as I recall, I don’t exactly remember spending time with your momma because I was busy with my social media and online games, but she didn’t care because we texted each other every day.”
If all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, what happens when lives are all play and no work? Perhaps it is time to consider the possible consequences of 24/7 entertainment.