It is an age-old debate, and one I have heard many times… is being a fan of sports a waste of time?
I spent a month of my life deeply invested, emotionally and economically, in the Philadelphia Phillies improbable run to game 6 of the World Series. And in sharing that fact with others received a wide range of responses.
I have lots of high achiever friends that insist that watching sports, going to events, and being a “fan” is a total waste of time…
“You can’t control the outcome”
“It’s a big racket”
And many more… but let me tell you why I think that is wrong.
#1 The poetry of competition. There are vast lessons in watching the best in the world get on the biggest stages, under an unbearable amount of scrutiny, and either perform and step up to the moment or fail. If you cannot find business and life lessons in there you are sound asleep!
#2 The ability to lose gracefully. This one should need no explanation, but sports let us learn lessons about adversity and being our best selves even when it doesn’t go our way.
#3 Successful sports teams at the major levels are some of the best-run companies on the planet. Think about what it takes, the sheer number of people, strategy and execution, and cash, to take a Major League Baseball team from Spring Training through to the World Series. Ticket sales, flights, schedules, equipment, training, marketing, operating a stadium, the farm system, minor leagues, Public Relations… the list is enormous. Business lessons EVERYWHERE!
#4 Sports create unforgettable experiences. For me, this is the most important point. I was raised in a Philadelphia sports family. My Grandmother, my mom, my dad, my 3 brothers… all of us diehard fans of Philadelphia sports. And long after the wins and losses are forgotten, players retire, and the memory of the events of the games are fuzzy, we still share the bond of that experience.
One of the greatest moments my brother Mike and I ever spent with my dad was watching those very same Phillies win the World Series in 2008. We didn’t know at the time that was the last major sporting event we would ever see together… but to this very day, it was the most important. A memory of my late father that Mike and I will hold onto forever…
And that is the point. Hard to say “who cares” to that…
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