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64 Comments

  1. Growing up I was a sports fanatic! I remember being so invested in my NY Knicks. I hated the Bulls so much I was practically in tears when the Knicks lost to them in the conference finals. My dad was like “calm down son” and basically listed most of what you said above. I realized a bit how crazy I was about it but I still followed sports. However, as I’ve gotten older I just don’t have time for it. It really is a time suck. I’ve got more productive things to do that interest me. I still follow the highlights sometimes though…

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! I have a similar story. In 1970 or 1971, the Mets had a promotion where you could enter a contest/raffle and the winner would have four Met players come over his house for dinner. I begged my father to enter and he refused. When I asked him why, he said, “Why do I want to feed those guys dinner?” I was crestfallen. He tried to explain that Met players were just people and shouldn’t be worshiped. His logic fell on deaf ears, sadly. I didn’t wake up until about twenty years later. Meh. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. I really appreciated hearing about your Knick “tragedy.”

  2. I have lost interest in Sports over the years for some of the reasons you mention. I will add that the overall quality of play in the different professional leagues has declined. Players change teams too frequently and there are too many teams diluting the talent pool. I’m still a die hard Chicago Bears fan, but that has been down right embarrassing the last 5 years. Tom

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Tom. I loved the run the Bears had in 1985. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team dominate the rest of the league like they did. There was one drawback to that incredible season, though. Do you remember the Super Bowl Shuffle? What an abomination! And, yes, I totally neglected the watered-down talent. Eighteen to twenty teams is enough for most leagues.

  3. As I’ve grown into a lifelong learner, I’ve found I’ve completely moved away from watching any sports and didn’t realize how little I watch (if any) until I read this post. I have so much more time to do things that I want to do and enjoy, and even my husband doesn’t consume many sports anymore either. If anything, he listens to recaps on the radio while he is woodworking in the garage, but rarely do we ever sit to watch a game anymore. It’s fantasic!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thank you, Kate. Twenty years ago, I would have thought you were nuts. But now, like you, I’ve come to realize that a life not revolving around men in costumes is indeed “fantastic.” Thanks for stopping by, Kate. And give my regards to your husband. It sounds like his head is really screwed on right. Cheers.

  4. I was never into sports, but some old friends and co-workers are nuts about basketball…baseball…football…who knows! Some sort of a ball. If they would only focus 10% of that attention to their questionable finances, something that actually matters, unlike sports. I’m not saying give it up but 10%! Just 10% to savings.

    • Mr. Groovy

      “If they would only focus 10% of that attention to their questionable finances, something that actually matters, unlike sports.”

      This says it all, Lily. “Forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Sigh.

  5. I agree with every single one of your reasons, but I’m still not willing to give up watching hockey. I know it’s silly, a huge time-waster, expensive, and at times ridiculously frustrating…but I love it.

    Going out to a few games every year is an acceptable splurge in my books. (Says the girl who is leaving for Dallas on Friday to watch my Oilers and then the Cowboys)

    • Mr. Groovy

      How can I scorn an Edmontonite for delighting in the Oilers. Did you mourn the loss of Dave Semenko? He was one tough cookie and an integral part of the Edmonton dynasty. Enjoy the Oilers and the Cowboys this weekend. I’m sure you’ll have a blast.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Nice, Mr. WoW. I wasn’t familiar with the Superb Owl. Thanks for sharing the link. And I love the point you made about sports being used a background noise. That’s what happened to me on the road to de-sportification. At some point, sports were on the television, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was reading or doing some household chore. Then it was just a short step from not even tuning in. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Only two days away from RTT!

  6. While I do have to say that I am a sports fan, its actually been really nice this season since my team (the horrible SF Niners) hasn’t been showing up. I have had so much time and care to invest in something other than staring at a screen for 3 hours. I do have to admit that its on my bucket list to go to Lambeau field too. And I want to go when it is cold, really get the feel of the frozen tundra.

    Also, you know the professional football market in LA is bad when it cost more to go to a high school game than it does to go to a Rams game (at least at the beginning of the session when they weren’t as good).

    Nice chatting with you guys tonight and I’m really looking forward to the RTT!!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Mrs. WoW. For die-hard 49er fans, this season has to be brutal. They did beat the Giants, though. And even though I’m certified sports curmudgeon now, I highly recommend going to Lambeau Field if you can. It really is a nice experience. The people of Green Bay are wonderful. And, yes, I can’t wait for our Sunday RTT. It you be a blast. Talk to you soon.

  7. I was obsessed with being invested in sports at one point. I watched a lot of games, went to them live and bought merchandise. But I came to the same conclusion as you did. The sports organizations and players don’t really care about you. They only care that you invested your hard earned money in buying their jerseys, hats, tickets and overpriced food at the stadium. I haven’t bought any team merchandise in probably ten years. If I’m wearing any, it’s only because I got it as a gift. And I only go to games if I get free tickets.

    Don’t get me wrong. It’s entertaining to watch, but in terms of putting your money into it and having it as a high priority, I’m no longer part of that crowd.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! I’m the same way as you. I haven’t bought merchandise in over 20 years. I would never wear a jersey again, even if it was gifted. I don’t even think I would wear a gifted hat. I do suppose I would use toilet paper if had the printed faces of owners and players on it. Hey, that’s not a bad idea. We could produce toilet paper printed with the concession prices and the arrest records of the players and sell it on Amazon. Want to start a side-hustle business with me, Kris?

  8. Valid points, Mr. G, and for the most part I agree with you. I too grew up watching Detroit sports – The Pistons Bad Boys, Red Wings, Tigers, and Lions – and attended quite a few games over my adult years. We’ve not spent any money on sports in the last 4 or 5 years though and don’t plan to anytime soon.

    My son treated us to a Tampa Bay Lighting Game for my birthday while we were in Florida a couple weeks ago though and we had a great time. Yes, the food and drinks were crazy expensive but it was a rare treat and worth the experience for the memories we created.

    • Mr. Groovy

      “Yes, the food and drinks were crazy expensive but it was a rare treat and worth the experience for the memories we created.”

      Thank you, Amy. Given today’s business model for professional sports, this is the way professional sports should be consumed–infrequently and strategically.

  9. I grew up watching football with my son and enjoyed the time we spent together. He still follows fantasy football, but with all the political BS, I have lost all interest. It has been a change for the better and I won’t be going back.

    Your list is one of the better ones I have seen. Never understood why a man would wear another man’s name on his back. Ratings are taking a beating as well.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Couldn’t have said it better, Brad. The owners and players have ruined something that used to be a wonderful way for families and friends to bond. The taxpayer subsidies, the outrageous ticket and concession prices, the nauseating sense of self-importance–I don’t know a business more deserving of a stinging comeuppance than the business of professional sports. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. I really appreciate it.

  10. I understand where you’re coming from, but I do enjoy professional sports to a limited extent. Limited in that I only follow baseball, I rarely go to games, I don’t watch all the games on TV, and my happiness isn’t dependent on “my” team’s success. I’m no longer in any shape to play, but I do enjoy watching and I’m not hurting anyone by doing it. While it may be big business, they’re not making much (if any) off of me. I enjoy the games, the traditions, and the statistics. There are people who take it all too far who could probably benefit from spending their time and money elsewhere, but there are also folks like me who consider it just an occasional bit of relaxation.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! I was thinking of you, Gary, as I wrote this. And not because I consider you someone who is foolish enough to sacrifice his economic and social well-being for the sake of grown men in costumes. No, you’re far from being a sports fanatic. But I was just slightly concerned that you might take offense. Your comment thankfully allayed me fears. Thank you. You are a textbook example of how professional sports should be consumed. You use sports as a “bit of relaxation,” not as a way of bringing meaning to your life. Have you ever considered putting video course together on how to be a responsible consumer of sports?

  11. You are so right that sports can be a huge time suck. I guess that’s their point. I’ve gone up and down in my fandom over the years. These days with a job, two kids and a blog, I just don’t have enough time.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Agreed, Jason. I don’t know how anyone in the throes of adulthood, especially those who have kids, can devote more than a couple hours per week to professional sports. Time is a finite resource. Why let it be squandered on something so frivolous? Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  12. I have become less and less interested in professional sports. I really do not like going to the games any longer. As you pointed out the cost is out of this world. I have to admit, I still do watch but not as much. I guess I still enjoy the game.

    I do not hold this against the athletes. They are taking advantage of the opportunity to make a living at playing a game and they try to get the most they can before the window closes on their career (one injury away). With that said, the money they get is ridiculous. The money is the carrot that has created a youth sports culture that is full of false hopes as well.

    Watching the way some of these knuckleheads behave in pro sports is disheartening. There actions are then mimicked by the kids in youth sports. I wish some of the pro athletes were more responsible with their behavior. They seem to forget there are kids watching or they just don’t care.

    Oh boy, this is a topic that can get pretty deep…..college sports? Can you say FBI probe?

    Thanks for the post Mr. G!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thank you, Fiways and Biways. Your comment packs a lot of wisdom. And you are so right about college sports. It’s a farce, a scam, and a detriment to the true mission of college. I have a dream that one day all college sports will disappear and the NFL and NBA will have to start their own minor leagues. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. I really appreciate it.

  13. The only reason for an adult to follow pro sports is to have something to discuss with your barber when you ”run out of chat.” But then maybe when you do, you can ask his opinion on Vanguard and have a much more profitable chat.

    • Mr. Groovy

      “The only reason for an adult to follow pro sports is to have something to discuss with your barber when you ‘run out of chat.’”

      LOL! Best damn comment of the year, my friend.

      • Garrett can attest this time and it’s one of the reasons why I cut his hair now. HA! j/k He never had anything to chat about with the barber and now that I shave his head, he doesn’t have any reason to go and sit there quietly. 😉

        I’d like to hear your thoughts about music as well. What do you think about concerts? albums? merch?

        • Mr. Groovy

          Haha! I’m rapidly following Garrett, so I don’t go to a barber either. I just run a Braun hair clipper over my head every couple of weeks. No sense wasting money on a stylist. He or she won’t do any better with my remaining follicles than a Braun. As far as music goes? I don’t find it as troublesome/wasteful as professional sports. But it’s getting close. Mrs. Groovy and I used to go to one or two concerts a year. But then the ticket prices started getting a little crazy too. We worked around this by buying the $10 lawn tickets at the PNC Music Pavilion here in Charlotte. Merchandise and concessions are just as outrageous. So we would limit ourselves to sharing one $10 beer. We haven’t bought a CD/album in years. Do they still sell CDs? So I guess my bottom line is this: music can become as detrimental as professional sports, but the affronts of the music industry pale in comparison to the affronts of the sports industry. You don’t have to buy a Personal Seat License, for instance, to buy a ticket to a summer concert series at a particular venue. Thanks for stopping by, Claudia. And great question about music. It really made me think.

          • Lawn tickets are a great frugal hack. Instead of buying drinks at the show we went to this month, we went to a bar around the corner after the show and I got my pint. HA! 🙂 We’re not so into the merch or purchasing music, either. Pandora, FTW!

            • Mr. Groovy

              Love it, Claudia. Going to the bar after the show or having a few beers in the parking lot before the show is a great frugal concert hack as well.

  14. I agree with a lot of this, but also find some value in enjoying sports.

    I agree that it is silly and doesn’t really matter and neither the owners nor the players really care about any particular fan base. But it can still be enjoyable. I read novels regularly and watch movies from time to time. All the same factors apply, but it’s just fun, which is worth something.

    Being able to talk about the sporting current events is also great for starting to build relationships. Mr. PIE and I talked about the Patriots when we first met. People see my Red Sox hat down here in DC and strike up conversations. I got an internship largely because I was conversant enough with my interviewer’s favorite team that he took a liking to me. Sports talk can be a great networking tool.

    So I agree with a lot of your points and I agree that a lot of people end up spending far too much time and money on sports, but I don’t think I’d go as far as you on this topic.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Matt. Excellent point. Sports are a great ice breaker. And I love that you’re a Sox fan. Here’s one for you. My mom is from Boston and I knew her side of the family were Sox fans. But I had no idea how intense their love of the Sox was. So for Christmas 1986, my brother and I made Christmas t-shirts for the family celebrating the Mets victory over the Sox in the World Series and Bill Buckner’s historic error. My cousins didn’t talk to me for a year! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Great comment as always.

  15. Ha love the silly comment. It really is when you break it down, but for many it’s a family tradition. On Sunday’s since I was a child I’d watch the Eagles (yes them) and it’s been in my family for generations. Silly to sit in front of TV and applaud or scream but hey, let’s enjoy a little!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Excellent point, Todd. Sports can be a wonderful thing. One of my favorite memories of my grandfather was watching the Sunday games with him. So I got to give the NFL props for that. The key is to think of sports as an escape from life that should only occasionally be enjoyed. Once it becomes all-consuming, you’re sunk. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. It’s always great hearing from someone who is part of a fan base that pelted Santa Claus with snowballs on Christmas day.

  16. frank

    I was just like you Mr. Groovy. Growing up in Queens, we rooted for the Knicks and Jets. In the ABA, we rooted for the Nets and Dr. J. I even went to an ABA finals game that the Nets won, at the Nassau Coliseum.

    As I grew older (maybe wiser) I realized that pro sports was just a big business. I too lost interest and maybe just watch the Super Bowl, mainly cause that is what everyone does and I don’t want to feel left out.

    • Mr. Groovy

      I think the last time I saw Dr. J play at the Coliseum he scored 63 points. I forget who the opponent was that night, but I remember Artis Gilmore being on the team. You must have had a blast at the Finals. How I miss I miss the red, white, and blue basketballs. Great memories. Thanks for stopping by, Frank. You made my day, my friend.

  17. I hate watching sports on TV, it’s a big waste of time. Some people watch sports every night Monday to Friday and all weekend Saturday and Sunday. Some are even obsessed with the commercial that they watch them on YouTube all day long.

    However, I do enjoy watching a game live a couple of times a year or so and our 1 year old enjoys the gifts and attention she gets with her cute little jerseys 🙂

    How I Paid Off My $40K Student Loans Before Graduating Plus other kickass student debt payoff stories from other money nerds
    https://99to1percent.com/paid-40k-student-loans-graduating/

    • Mr. Groovy

      I love it, Ms99to1. Nothing wrong with watching an occasional game. Moderation toward modest vices is the secret sauce of life.

  18. Btw, I still have my awesome collection of football cards from the 70’s. Some real winners in there (Gayle Sayers, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw). I wonder how much I could sell that pile for. For sentimental reasons, I think I’ll keep it. Great memories of my younger years.

    • Mr. Groovy

      That’s great, Fritz. Why do players of that era seem to be more honorable? Were they? Or were most of their ignoble deeds ignored by the press?

  19. We’ve run similar paths, my friend. In 1972, the kicker Chester Marcol was drafted by the Green Bay Packers from tiny Hillsdale College (where my Dad was a prof, and my childhood was spent at the Field House). I USED TO CATCH THIS GUY’S KICKS during practice and run the balls back to him. He was my hero. My Dad and I watched every Packers game on the tiny (12”?) new color tv in his study. In 1973, he was named Rookie Of The Year. (I may be off by a year, pulling this from memory, and I was only ~10 yrs old at the time!).

    Little did I know that would be the Apex of my sports fanaticism. Sadly, Chester has struggled since leaving the NFL, as I suspect many players have.

    Now, I didn’t even know the Rams were leaving St Louis (or have they left already?). Who knew? Who cares? I’ve got better things to do with my life now.

    I’m a better man without sports. Somewhere on my journey to adulthood, I lost 100% Of my interest. The National Anthem antics have sealed my fate for the rest of my life.

    As I said, we’ve walked similar paths. Great post.

    • Mr. Groovy

      What a great story, Frtiz. Sports are definitely more compelling when you actually know one of the players. My cousin plays minor-league baseball and I love going to his games when his team is playing in NC or SC. In fact, I’ve boldly proclaimed that I will only go to a major league game if it’s a game he’s playing in. Oh, and I looked up Chester’s story on Wikipedia. Pretty remarkable. Born in Poland and NFL rookie of the year. How many people can say that! It’s also good to see he may have conquered his post-career demons. Thanks for sharing, my friend. It’s always great hearing from a fellow traveler.

  20. As a Packers fan gotta disagree with you on the owners comment hahaha but yeah I get what you mean 🙂

    I enjoy the socializing when watching football, but football is the only sport I’ll watch. This year though it’s really become the chore…just not feeling it.

    • Mr. Groovy

      So true, Dave. My buds and I did a bucket list trip to Green Bay last year. It was one of the best experiences of my life. But to tell you the truth, no one really cared about the game. Most of us would have been happy to stay in the parking lot and tailgate than go into the stadium. So there is definitely a wonderful socializing aspect to sports–especially football. The trick is to capture the socializing while avoiding excessive costs. Do that and sports are an awesome form of entertainment. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  21. I’m a diehard Green Bay Packers fan and I will try to take time to watch them when they’re on tv since we live in East TN where they aren’t on national tv that much. Usually, I just watch the highlights on NFL.com on Monday morning because I would rather spend time with the family, build something in the garage, or make money.

    Besides the humongous taxpayer subsidies for professional and college teams (plus the college boosters from private benefactors), I do think professional sports is an “opium for the masses.”

    I can’t tell you more than 5 starting players for my team, but, people who do fantasy football, etc can tell you every player for every team and what they eat for breakfast in the morning.

    Thankfully we live in a society where we can have hobbies, but, if these people focused more on the impact of real-life instead of who wins or loses, I just wonder how much better their life (plus the country and world could be).

    I think the same thing about those who obsess over People magazine and the latest Hollywood films.

    Movies and sports are entertainment and nothing else. They don’t affect my life outside three hours each week and my job doesn’t depend on them. If the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NCAA were to close shop today, I would find something else to do and talk about.

    • Having attended a college that hasn’t had a winning football season in over 30 consecutive years and to see all the money that is still poured into the program has left a bad taste in my mind.

      Needless to say, I don’t donate money to my alma mater because I don’t want to indirectly subsidize the athletics program. If I do donate, it’s for restricted merit-based uses.

      • Mr. Groovy

        I hear ya, Josh. Colleges should get out of the sports business. It’s a huge money suck and doesn’t align with the true mission of higher education. Unfortunately, you and I are freaks when it comes to this topic. Sigh.

    • Mr. Groovy

      I’m right there with you, my friend. I used to be a huge, die-hard New York Islander fan. Now I can’t name five players on the team. It’s basically the same with every other team I idolized. I couldn’t name five New York Mets. I couldn’t name five New Jersey Nets. And I might be able to name five Dallas Cowboys–but it would be a struggle. And here’s the truly amazing thing about my transition from sports fanatic to sports dabbler. I’ve never been happier. There is indeed life after sports. Would be that more Americans came to this realization.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Robert. For the longest time, I knew who played in every Super Bowl and what the final score was. Now I have a hard time recalling who played in the Super Bowl two years ago. And, you know, ever since I began to lose interest in sports, my life started getting better. Coincidence? Thanks for stopping by, my friend. I appreciate it.

  22. I used to care a great deal about sports…college sports. And I enjoyed the Hornets when Charlotte first got a team (Muggsy Bogues!) and I still like to watch an occasional NFL game.

    But it’s not the passion it used to be. My life is too busy, and my child doesn’t particularly enjoy watching. So mostly, I do other things with my time unless I’m over at my inlaws’ house.

    So I get no longer wanting to follow professional sports. I understand strongly disagreeing with the way it’s subsidized by taxpayers, the way it’s marketed and priced, or even the way it’s glorified in our American culture.

    But why pick on those who love it? Until recently, love for a particular sport or team transcended political affiliation, class, and race in a way few other things do in our country. For the most part, following a pro sports team is harmless fun.

    And, not everyone who loves sports can play them. Somehow I don’t see my 83-year-old father-in-law playing football and basketball, do you?

    There is something artistic and soul-satisfying to watching someone with truly exceptional athletic talent and skills compete against someone else with equal talents. The Ancient Greeks recognized it with the Olympics, and while we’ve gotten away from the amateur ideals, many still love watching the best compete in sports. For many sports, watching the most spectacular athletes and athletic feats means watching professionals.

    So, love pro sports if you want to, or love opera and ballet, or love reality TV, or love crafting or even picking up trash. (grins) But don’t make fun or disparage others who love different things than you do just because you’ve moved on to a new love.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Fair point, Emily. I got to do better with my qualifications. So, yes, I don’t expect seniors to be playing flag football or rollerblading. At some point in life, if perfectly okay to do far more watching than doing. For anyone under 60, though, the thrust of my argument holds–especially in light of our country’s fiscal woes and the coming onslaught of automation. If professional sports keeps you from securing your future, something’s wrong. In other words, living vicariously through others is perfectly okay in moderation. Living vicariously through others is not okay, however, if it precludes you from saving for retirement, advancing your career, or becoming a better spouse or parent. But then again, maybe I’m nuts. Maybe spending a lot of money on people who don’t respect or like you is perfectly rational. Thanks for stopping by, Emily. Your sober analysis is always welcome here.

  23. Agree. Anytime I talk about cutting cable with someone that hasn’t yet, they say something like
    “we we going to, but…(insert sports team)”
    Way too much of the weekend is burned up with watching instead of doing IMHO.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thank you, Mike! I’ve come across this sad phenomenon as well. And I just don’t get it. I want to shout, “Snap out of it. Those guys don’t give a crap about you.” But I always bite my tongue. Perhaps with time my sports-crazed friends and family will come to realize what a waste it is to burn away a weekend “watching instead of doing.” Great comment, my friend.

  24. Great post Mr. G.
    Even if you don’t watch, big sports can still cost you money. The stadiums are multi-million dollar projects, and often mostly paid for by tax dollars.
    Similar big money is being spent by colleges. Some college teams might bring in money, but many stadiums are paid for with student tuition which was given to them by government loans and grants.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Excellent point, Mr. JumpStart. That’s another reason why I detest professional sports–taxpayer subsidies for billionaire owners and millionaire players.

  25. “Notice how the songwriters said if your team doesn’t win it’s a shame. They didn’t say if your team doesn’t win it’s time to sack the city.”

    AMEN. I used to be a sports fanatic too. My peeps and I would head to Chicago every year from Mpls to take in a Cubbies game. I’ve even got a great pic of Harry Caray trying to grope me and a friend as we posed for a pic with him. Yeah, it was acceptable back then.

    I’ve slowly lost my interest in professional sports as the players have become more and more pompous. This national anthem dis was the last straw for me. I am SO done.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! If Harry were still alive you could sue his wrinkly old butt. And you are so right about rampant fanaticism when it comes to sports. About twenty years ago a friend of mine’s brother got the crap kicked out of him in a bar defending the honor of his hockey team, the Boston Bruins, against a bunch of New York Ranger fans. Meh. This poor sap took a brutal beating for guys he didn’t even know. Even worse, there were people who thought it was perfectly acceptable to assault him because he liked a different team. Pathetic.

      • Mr. Groovy

        P.S. I forgot to mention that you’re absolutely right about the anthem dis. Twice the number of whites are shot and killed every year by police than blacks. Most of the police shootings involving blacks are justified. And those that aren’t justified are rarely a clear case of racial animus. Cops, after all, aren’t X-Men. They can’t read minds. They do make mistakes. But because a handful of cops make mistakes or commit crimes, all cops suck and all of America sucks. Talk about bigotry.

  26. I never understood the deep love of sports. To tie so much of your persona into something you have no control over never made sense. I like going to games for the social aspect and will watch tv sports for the same reason, but that’s about it.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Agreed, DDD. And what really kills me is that professional sports are pretty boring–especially baseball. In baseball, ninety percent of the time it’s just two guys having a catch, the pitcher and the catcher. And people lose their minds over this stuff? Sigh.