I went to an SEC school. And no, folks, I don’t mean “Securities and Exchange Commission”. We’re talking the S-E-C. The center of extreme crazy sports passion. The mighty Southeastern Conference.

The WHAT, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. The SEC is THE word, the first and the last one, in ALL of College Football. Best conference, bar none. 

(And if you don’t think so, just ask anybody who went to Georgia, Florida, or–most of all–Alabama. You’ll be set straight VERY quickly, I promise.) 😏

Suffice it to say that spending four (plus) years in an SEC Football town it makes for a VERY passionate August through December. Sometimes the schools and the entire TOWNS just sparkle and glow with the electricity in the air. You can practically SEE the passion. The tradition.

The insanity. 

Yes, folks…..I have followed the nutzoid world of Southern College Football for a good 20-some-odd years (and ALL of them odd, I assure you!). It has been one of my greatest sources of excitement and passion, and fun…..but also of disappointment, shock, and sheer disbelief in the ways that people sometimes treat each other.

Today I’m using the Wide World of Sports as an example of what can often become misdirected passion. What does that even mean, and what are the consequences? And is there an upside to all the mess?

What can happen when you get REALLY emotionally invested in a sporting event of any kind and it doesn’t go your team’s way? Simple. It can fly right past passion at breakneck speed and land in a minefield of anger and resentment.

Let’s get real, folks. These young men are out there every weekend doing their dead-level best to win. They know the stakes. Sometimes things DO go wrong in these games, though. It might be human error, it might be “just the way the ball bounces”.

But when it goes wrong and the burning fervor over the outcome is THAT high, well… it can spin FAR out of control (with extreme Social Media vitriol just being a SMALL example). As though what they do somehow reflects on all of us fans as INDIVIDUALS.

It’s as if what our sports heroes do on the field affects OUR personal lives and individual egos (and as if it’s THEIR responsibility to bring US happiness and validity).

Some people take it to frightening extremes, from vandalizing players’ homes to poisoning and killing a rival’s beloved landmark trees.

True, most people wouldn’t dream of taking any sports grudge THAT far. But the misdirected passion can still be found far and wide in much smaller and potentially more far-reaching instances.

Not that I am any stranger to this sports-driven insanity. FAR from it.

I’ve made unbecoming comments about rivals that I’d just as soon forget. I’ve had my days sometimes defined by whether or not my team had a good day on the field.

There have been individual years of my own life where I swore I was trudging through the drudgery of daily life, waiting for September when football would be back on. Knowing that when the fall and the football came around, all would be well again. (Southern football fans, don’t TELL me you don’t know what I mean, either!) 😏

I’ve felt the thrills and the agony as though I was the one throwing the football. I’ve had incidences where I ached with such severity over big hits and gut-wrenching losses. Moments that I swore that I PERSONALLY was the one who missed a National Title Berth by 5 yards or nearly got his head taken off by Nick Fairley…..

But here’s the deal—getting THAT wound up in a game can mean one of two things: either you’re living your own dreams through someone else (and sometimes getting mad about the way they’re doing it)…..OR….

….it means that you’re simply a passionate person, someone who has drive, ambition, and love for life. Someone who needs to use the passion that sports gives you not only as a game to love but also to further a dream of your own.

And if this is you, that is BRILLIANT!

Believe it or not, those kids on the field are here to show you that very thing–that YOU have something amazing to share with the world, just like they do. That YOU and your big dreams and passions are just as worth living and sharing as the game-winning kickers and star running backs. 

Most of all–that other people are out there showing you that it is VITAL to go after your dreams. That YOUR dream–and actually LIVING it–makes you just as important as Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, or Simone Biles. 

Use that fire not only to LOVE the game you love, but to realize that when it comes to dreaming big and living YOUR dream life, they’re examples. And they can become your peers instead of just your idols.

Now, THAT makes Football Saturdays more than fun–it gives them a true PURPOSE and MEANING in your life.
Bottom line: LOVE the game. But know what it is and what it isn’t.

Don’t pay others to live your dreams—live your dreams WITH them. Period.

Oh, yeah, and Go Dawgs. 😉


1 Comment on What Extreme Sports Passion Means (Good, Bad, Ugly?)

  1. Merri
    October 16, 2016 at 10:28 am (9 months ago)

    This says it all beautifully! Your words were quite hauntingly familiar and inspiring!


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