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Instead of arguing about football, you could...September 26, 2012 @ 2:10 am (Updated: 9:23 am - 9/26/12 )
In conversation and on social media, arguments went farther than Russell Wilson's 24-yard pass to Golden Tate that led to the Seahawks Monday Night Football win over the Packers.
Discussions raged, rankled and rolled across the country, reaching a friend of mine Larry Hochman, who's an author and education counselor in Connecticut.
"I'm more interested in the integrity of the game," he says.
"The main part of that sentence is that it's a 'game.' The minute you make a game the centerpiece of your life you have to sit back and reevaluate."
We weren't on the field Monday night, but to some degree, most of us got caught up in one crazy, incredible Seahawks game.
We do the same with Husky games, Oregon Ducks football, or even watching our kids' football and soccer games.
"When you don't have a whole lot going on, as far as taking risks in your own life, or when you're angry at something or when you're disappointed, it's a lot easier to channel that at something outside yourself. That's when you really get the difference between a fan and a fanatic who wishes death on referees and opposing players," Hochman says.
"It is easy to lose sense of perspective when you don't have that sense of ownership of your own life."
Not obsessed with sports? Then there's probably something else outside yourself that grabs your attention. It could be "The Real Housewives," "Dancing With the Stars," or Facebook. In some way, we all escape our lives.
"It's easy, with all of the distractions and all the choices we have, to live vicariously off someone else. That's cool and it's a fun thing to escape into once in awhile when the world overwhelms you," says Hochman. "The price of that is losing your own freedom of choice or the freedom of even knowing that there are choices, when you fall into the trap of living based on what Snooki is doing or what your favorite outside linebacker is doing. It's in other people's interest to keep you in that place."
The challenge is to find a way to channel the passion you feel for something outside of yourself, into something that will make a difference for your life.
I asked friends on Facebook and Twitter to name something positive you could do with your time, instead of arguing about the officials' call in the Seahawks victory over the Packers.
Their suggestions put the fuss over football in perspective. They range from volunteering at school and helping with a non-profit to collecting supplies for a foodbank and writing letters to service members overseas.
Tim Schmitter is working with retired racing greyhounds, helping them find a home.
Ken Thomas says teaching kids about the joys of restoring American cars is a more valuable use of his time.
Larry Snyder is thinking of rounding up day old pastries from coffee shops to feed the hungry. While he's doing that, he can still let everyone know how he feels about the game.
Randy Small is praying for a four-month-old baby girl who is recovering from a heart transplant at Seattle Children's Hospital. "I'm pretty sure her parents missed the game," he writes.
Roger Ward thought about teaching his daughters Taekwon-Do.
One other option, comes from Jennifer Jackson Chancellor who reminds us we could complain about how bad the Cougars lost over the weekend.
And, my KIRO Radio news anchor pal Tony Miner jokes, "Sorry, I can't think of anything more important."
"When you live for yourself and you start to grow a little bit beyond who you are right now, it gets scary," says Hochman, "but man does it get fun."
By LINDA THOMAS
Officials signal after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pulled in a last-second pass for a touchdown from quarterback Russell Wilson to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle. Photo by Getty Images
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