- Opiate of Choice – Norm Chomsky described pro sports as an opiate designed to distract working & middle class masses from the heist of human rights & global assets perpetuated by a select capitalist elite. For me the distraction shows up more as neglecting the purity inside my own heart in favor of a rabid pursuit of hoping myteam(s) win. But are they really my teams?
- Which team really matters? While growing up & rooting most of my life for Boston sports teams, I don’t know a single member of any pro Boston sports team. With their spectacular record of success of since 2000 I’ve gotten so identified with the New England Patriots as my team. But it’s not my team. It’s some rich guy Robert Kraft’s team. And he profits when I think of it as my team. But my team is comprised of a very different assembly of players. My life works better when I root for my real team. Not Robert Kraft’s team. If I simply add up the number of hours I invest in focusing on strategies of the game, weaknesses & strengths of all the players/coaches & impact of miscellaneous variables, I could be engaging in activities more consistent with celebrating my life.
- Why do I become a Sports Asshole? Watching pro sports is really a narcotic. The more I consume, the less personal power I possess & the more I need my next fix. Cuz I keep getting further away from my own center. Then I judge myself for abandoning my life. And I get nasty when my 6 year-old nephew stands in front of the tv during the game. Or heaven forbid my sister or mom ask a goofy question about the rules of football during the Super Bowl.
- Taste of Victory is an Illusion – During the game I tell myself that if my team wins, the taste of victory is going to be so sweet and lasting. The legacy of victory will somehow carryover into the legacy of my life. But it is not true. Even when my teams has won championships … Patriots in ’01, ’03 & ’04, Red Sox in ’04 & ’07, Celtics in ’08, ’86, ‘84 (my dad & I snuck into the old steamy hot Boston Garden screaming from the back row of the 2nd balcony. “Larry! Larry!” & “Beat L.A. Beat L.A.” ’81 & 13 more championships & Bruins ’11, ’72, ’70. Anyone in Boston can tell you that the greatest victory of this generation was the Red Sox World Series in 2003. Why? Cuz every Sox fan born has agonized over tragic losses. In ‘75 my brother & I were in Fenway Park for the game 7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. In ’78 my dad, bro & I were in the bleachers at Fenway for the 183rd game loss to the Yankees when Bucky F-ing Dent hit the cheapest homerun I’ve ever seen over the green monster. In ’03 I was in the bleachers at Yankees stadium when Grady Little got greedy by leaving Pedro Martinez in the game too long & ruined life for every Sox fan.
- Rishikesh Perspective – For 6 years I lived in an ashram. More recently I’ve taken semi-annual retreats along the riverbanks of the holy Ganga in Rishikesh, India. When I immerse myself in yoga, the sports narcotic loses its allure. In my latest December retreat I occasionally checked the net to see if the Pats had won games. But I didn’t bother with all the blah-blah-blah. Normally I’d devour every word in the Boston Globe, Herald, S.I. & Espn. But in India it just didn’t seem important. The simple immediate flow of life happening right there was much more authentic. For me that meant completing a 6 year journey of writing a yoga love story novel inspired by an ancient vedic tale. So it was easy to refrain from participating in the ravenous competition vibe. My remedy for stealing back my soul from the sports world is the repetition of mantra & writing the story that fuels the passion of my life. Next year I envision enjoying the Super Bowl by cycling through Tuscany, journeying to Central American pyramids or chanting mantras with kirtan wallahs in India. As a yoga teacher I’m privileged to serve people daily in practices which feed my soul. How I get nourished off the yoga mat is another unfolding part of my self discovery. When I’m playing my game to the hilt, then I’m celebrating the victory where no one has to lose in order for me to win. And that’s the game ignites my soul.
How ‘bout you?