Being passionate about sports is a trait my Dad passed on and instilled in me from an early age, and watching and talking about them together was a very bonding experience we had that built over the years. When I was young I was very blessed and had the opportunity to attend a lot of games with him live: football & basketball, some baseball & hockey games, and we even went to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 races twice. His father had taken him to the big race a few times too and to many other games when he was a child, which I think had the same impact on him!
I was never a good athlete, but under his tutelage I became very interested in drama and intrigue with sports and began to understand, appreciate and enjoy all the nuances of the games: teams - their players & coaches, stats, and strengths & weaknesses; types of plays; strategies; the history of the sports; … and I adapted Dad’s favorite teams & players and we followed them very passionately, intently and took the games very seriously. To this day I can get depressed after a game my team loses, and as a kid I’d pout and be in a really bad mood, often for days.
We watched games and followed our teams, not just the games, but almost every day, as we even fought for who got the Sports page first! His excitement, curiosity and dedication were contagious.
As I got older and I moved away to other places I made the “pilgrimage” up to two hours every Sunday to watch football with Dad & on Memorial Weekend went to watch the Indy 500 with him almost every year. We didn’t even miss a minute of games, with Mom being part host, part cook & part waitress … bringing us big homemade deli sandwiches, her legendary guacamole, and yummy desserts she baked. Then during commercials sometimes we would both sprint to different bathrooms for a break, rushing so as not to miss a second of the games!
However, I recently realized I have actually tried to avoid watching big games there since he passed away. I just admitted to myself that over 3 years after he died it still can be emotional watching games in the room where we watched events together. It can be a sad & empty feeling🥲 The first games I watched without him there soon after he died were some of the few things that triggered me to cry when I wasn't processing things well yet. When I sat there in my familiar chair and our team scored I would turn to high five him and saw the empty chair he always sat on next to me and suddenly deeply felt his absence… It was one of the first ways I truly realized he wouldn’t be there to share experiences with me (physically) anymore. It hit me hard. The first time I watched a game without him I completely broke down in tears which was the strongest emotion I had experienced since he died to that point.
I realized that sharing sports with him was so much more than the games, it was something we shared together in almost a ritual format for decades, and looking back I remember how much I always looked forward to being with him for each coming game. So I still am deeply invested and tuned into sporting events and that focus can help me to take a break from pain, depression, anxiety, fear & worry. It’s all I think about for that 2 ½-3 hours, sometimes longer.
Do any of you take comfort, find refuge, a healthy escape and/or a distraction in watching sports? Or are there other things you enjoy watching like binging episodes of your favorite show? Or watching a movie trilogy over and over? Or watching thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, or action or drama movies that take your complete focus like tunnel vision? Or do you enjoy watching nature, animal or history channels? Was sharing them with family a part of your childhood?
What engrosses & entertains you the most? How do these affect your energy and emotions when you watch them? Do you find it a much needed window away from thinking about your health challenges like I do?
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