I have to admit, I was once a huge sports fan. Growing up, my family planned our lives around the sporting events in which we were taking part. As I moved on to college, I participated in college sports for a while. Later, I planned my weekends around watching football. Since one of my best friends had season tickets to football and basketball, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lot of these games. I was even luckier that my favorite teams all happened to be really good during this period of time. It was a lot of fun.

My friends and I lived and breathed for these weekends. Not only did we get all dressed up to go to the games, we also spent hundreds of dollars buying food and drinks while we were there. Furthermore, we invested ourselves emotional into the outcomes. If my team lost, I would often find myself in a really bad mood for a few days. I began to realize that my obsession with sports – especially football – probably wasn’t very healthy.

After I met Holly, my relationship with professional sports changed. First of all, I had moved away from my childhood home. As such, it had become increasingly difficult to be able to find my favorite teams playing on television. Furthermore, my priorities were slowly changing as I grew older. No longer, did I find it necessary to devote an entire day of the week – plus Monday night – to watching football. Also, Holly has never been much of  a sports fan. As we began to spend more time together, I no longer had anybody to watch the games with anyway.

I have to confess that, at this point in my life, I really couldn’t care less about professional sports. (Ah, that felt good!) Go ahead, take my man card away from me. Excommunicate me from the cool kids club. I don’t really mind. It took a long time for me to realize this, and it took even longer for me to admit it to myself. Yet, the fact remains that I just don’t care about professional sports anymore. In fact, I think that they have become a detriment to our society. Here is why.

Professional Sports are a Waste of Money

Let’s face it: professional sports are a giant waste of money. Last year, Americans spent $25.4 billion dollars on professional sports. That is a staggering amount of money to spend on anything, much less to spend it to watch overgrown men playing children’s games. This amount doesn’t even include taxpayer money spent on stadiums.

Professional sports apologists will say that the teams bring recognition to the town. They provide the city with huge tax revenues. I say that is mostly malarkey. Our city spent close to $1 billion on a new football stadium – and it was completely taxpayer-funded. Estimates say that the tax revenue should pay for the stadium in…oh…about 30 years…just in time for the team to want another new stadium. Even more disgraceful is that the city cut police officers and funding for education at the same time the stadium was built. Now, that is fiscal responsibility at its finest!

Look, I still wear the baseball cap of my favorite team. I even have a few shirts that were given to me sporting my favorite team’s logos. Still, I’ll never understand why we are willing to spend so much of our hard-earned dollars to buy overpriced clothing and tickets simply so that we can feel like we belong to this corporately contrived group.  With the amount of debt that Americans face and the trouble that many are having making ends meet on a day-to-day basis, spending this much money on professional sports is a travesty. We have our financial priorities way out of whack.

Professional Sports are a Waste of Time

Watching professional sports is an utter waste of time. Look, I know that professional sports are entertainment. They are like an interactive soap opera for adults – males especially. Yet, most entertainment does not require our utter devotion and attention for days on end.

I’m not even that concerned about people who spend 3 hours watching their favorite team play once a week. However, for many, professional sports have become an obsession. When you are spending your entire weekend – plus Monday and Thursday nights – watching a game, you may have a problem. Add to that all of the time that people spend researching their favorite players and teams, setting their fantasy lineups, and listening to sports talk radio and you have a giant amount of time being wasted on professional sports.

Why not use that time more wisely? Spend it with your family or be productive. If we spent as much time and energy on things that bear real life weight instead of wasting it on professional sports, we could really make a difference in people’s lives – including our own.

Professional Sports Distract from What is Really Important

It is kind of sad, really. As humans, we desparately want to belong to something successful and important. Professional sports provide people with that opportunity, although it is a false sense of belonging and importance. The marketing geniuses working for these giant businesses have created communities around their games. They’ve convinced masses of people that their participation in these communities is a must for the communities “success.” They tell the fans – which, by the way, is short for “fanatic” – that the team can’t do it without them. In fact, they make people feel as if the team’s success is somehow a personal success of their own.

The truth is that participation from fans has very little to do with the team’s prospects for success. Sure, crowd noise in the stadium may affect the outcome of a particular play or game. However, your participation from home means nothing. Your “I’ve gotta support the team attitude” doesn’t make a hill of beans difference. What it does do is convince you to spend more money on crap, lining the pockets of the owners and athletes.

Professional sports provides people with an escape from reality. It blinds them to the real issues of the world – issues like politics, taxes, and world events that actually do affect their lives directly and should matter to them. Professional sports have become an opiate to the masses, allowing large numbers of us to be more easily fleeced.

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy watching the occasional game. I still cheer for my favorite professional sports teams. However, while it may have taken years to do so, I have finally broken through the mind-numbing fog in which professional sports had me enveloped. I have finally put them in their proper perspective as it relates to my real life. I have ended my obsession and have used my new-found time and money to better my life and the life of my family. I just hope more people can realize what I have before their lives – and their coin – slip away.