About ten years ago, I found myself watching football on Sunday afternoon. At the end of the 3.5 hour long contest, my team lost and I instantly thought to myself, “I just wasted three and a half hours that I could have been doing something I enjoyed.” It made watching sports hard for me ever since.
I’m not knocking on just sports, but I guess anything where you have a good chance of being disappointed. In sports, it’s almost always a 50/50 deal. Either your team wins or they don’t. When watching a movie, there is always a chance you won’t enjoy the movie or you will, but behind the scenes there are people working hard so that you will be entertained and you get your moneys worth. Where as in sports… the fan is the last person anyone cares about.
I was once a big NASCAR fan, where my odds of being disappointed were even greater, something like 40-1. The races were often four hours in length and after my revelation regarding being disappointed occurred it made it almost impossible to watch a full race again. For the time cost of watching one race, I could watch four to eight TV shows, or even two movies that were all created in attempts to entertain and please me. Why do I waste time watching something where the odds are I’m going to be disappointed?
There is an argument for the joy of the sports or the athletic competition, but that’s what highlight reels are for. Or maybe, it’s feeling apart of something bigger than yourself where the best of the best face-off to see who ultimately is the better performer. I guess it’s up to each individual to put value on how much they appreciate those aspects.
I’ve realized that in the past, I’ve done a lot of things out of my own expectations. I’m a fan of this so I must watch this game. Or I enjoy this show, so I need to read all the related books. Or even, I really like The X-Files, but can I say I’m a fan if I quit the show after Mulder left?
Where did this pressure come from? Certainly some of it came from social expectations of “mega-fans” but somewhere inside of me I feel the need to be a completionist, and in doing so, I’ve stuck with things much longer than they ever deserved. I found myself watching TV shows I was completely disinterested in, just because I wanted to “finish it up.” And I guess the biggest shocker for this is, why? Who am I trying to impress? No one cares if I watch all of a show or not. No one cares if I’ve seen ever episode of Futurama twice or if I fizzled out in the fifth season. It’s just entertainment, and the moment you are no longer entertained, you should venture out to something else that meets that need.
While sick, I laid in bed looking at all of the TV shows I have started across several streaming apps and I realized I didn’t want to watch any of them. In fact, I wasn’t really enjoying any of them. I was just watching them to watch them, and maybe a few weeks from now I feel more compelled to watch an episode of Dharma and Greg, but for right now, what I want to do is rewatch Mad Men. So, I restarted Mad Men from the beginning, leaving dozens of shows to be neglected in the process. And who cares? If you are reading this, I’m certain you don’t. And why should I? It’s just a TV show or book or film series, or video game or stamp collection or car restoration or whatever else you want to fill in the blank with.