The field is not tense. The lines, and the nets and the flag are not tense. Tension rises and falls with the arrival and departure of the people who visit there. If only we could be as objective as those game objects.
Gather perspective in.
Slow the heart rate down.
I might look like I have the calmest, most zen presence when I watch a sporting event. Whether I am on the sideline coaching, or I’m watching one of our kids play, I don’t show much emotion there.
I don’t yell, I don’t pace, I don’t react or emote or convey even the slightest hint of body language about the emotions that are so palpable and evident for people on the sideline of most youth sports games.
I admit, the feelings are there sometimes. I feel parts of what goes on around me. I have nerves when they play, and excitement in close games, but I rarely feel compelled to display what I might be feeling. I observe much more than I react.
I watch: the mittens banging on the glass at an arena…the kicks of the spectators as they imagine the ball moving with their swing instead of the swing of the players on the field.
I listen: to the angry frustration at a lack of control over what is unfolding on the field, or on the court or in the arena. I hear the disappointment, sometimes muttered under the breath of a parent or grandparent because the performance does not match up to expectation.
The fields, and the courts and the rinks don’t need my noise too. It’s loud enough.
Maybe fans/parents are loud because they need to be loud. Maybe that is where the bottled up emotion about other things in their lives can finally be uncorked.
My kids are like that…but it’s still acceptable for them. They are young.
After a week of intense obeying and learning and following direction in school, our kids will release. They release in tears and in bickering and angst. It passes and we all feel better.
Maybe sports are that outlet for adults. It is a human necessity to feel the world around us, but it is not appropriate to cry all the time, or to laugh in some settings. Emotion needs to happen, and as a response to that innate need, society has created the sporting arena.
The more pent up emotion, the more display on the sidelines at our kids’ games.
Sports used to be my outlet for anger, and I would run myself to death to work through things. It was therapeutic. Maybe I don’t need sports for my outlet anymore because I have fully accepted and embraced every kind of emotion that surfaces for me. I work to deal with my emotions outside of the sports world.
I watch a weekly crying show. (Every Sunday night, I let myself cry my eyes out) I verbalize what needs to be verbalized and I write, too. I write about what would otherwise be bottled emotions. If I feel an emotion rising about a song or a commercial, and I don’t stifle the tears…I let them flow.
It’s not perfect, and I’m not sure it entirely answers the questions I have about apparent rage in the stands, but maybe if we just granted each other permission to feel…wholly and completely without the fear of judgment or ridicule…those stands might be a lot more pleasant and a flag would just be a flag and a line would just be a line.
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