It's the middle of the Super Bowl. I'm not watching.
I watched the first half, tuning in for the commercials. Quickly caught up in the game. Right after the halftime show I turned it off. And it's not because the "home team" were victims of a horrible play to end the first half.
The reason I turned off the game is that I am a former sports junkie. My teens and young adult years were consumed with teams and seasons. Cathy called attention to it early in our marriage. During a "big" game (weren't they all?) I would issue the comforting words, "Don't worry, honey. The season is almost over." She quickly caught on that a new season of another sport always started before the current one ended. Always.
I played games, watched games, listened to games, read about games, and talked about games. I occasionally -- er... often -- attended games and yelled so much I lost my voice.
For the past several years, I have watched the Super Bowl to see the commercials. This year the Arizona Cardinals, a team I never cared for, miraculously got to the big game. I was and am a fan of their quarterback and I like the things I have read about their coach. However, whether they win or lose (they lost), my un-fan status won't change.
I gave up my habit as a sports fanatic because it left me more empty than full. The emotional drive to stay up with a team was often left disappointed. Besides, life has much more interesting and important things to offer than a game.
Like the call I received during the first half last night.
It was from a friend of mine, a young dad with two small boys. Two years ago at this time his marriage was in great danger and he was consumed with pain. His younger son hadn't been born yet.
During that two years I have had the rare privilege of watching the broken pieces mend. Their marriage and their family are now full of joy and hope.
When he called, I told him I was watching the game. I wondered if he was doing the same. "I'll try to catch the end," he said, "to see who won. Right now I'm working in the yard and spending time with my sons. It's just how I wanted to spend this afternoon."
I'm glad I left the habit behind.