Last night, the Texas Rangers won the American League championship against the mighty New York Yankees. I did not watch the game or listen to it. I found out about their victory on Facebook. Honestly, I completely forgot that there was a game last night. Last week, the Texas Longhorns beat Nebraska; I did not watch it or listen to it. I realized the game was taking place as I was walking toward my gate at the Los Angeles airport and the game was on in a bar. For me to have missed or completely forget about those two games would have been inconceivable two years ago.  How did this happen?

On November 30, 2008, the final NCAA Bowl Championship Series (BCS) ratings were announced. When the announcement was made, the Oklahoma Sooners, who had lost to the Texas Longhorns earlier in the year, were ranked higher than Texas. The Sooner would play in the BSC title game. I was not a happy camper. Something so seemingly objective turned out to be only random.  On that day, I decided I would not listen to sports radio and not watch another college football game for the rest of the season. In 2009, I did not watch a game again until the BCS series. I have yet to listen to sports radio since then. This year, I have watched less than 10 minutes of college football. For that matter, I rarely watch sports at all.

Transitioning to a life without watching sports has been surprisingly easy. Maybe I was never a true fan. Growing up in Puerto Rico, we did not play or watch collegiate football; baseball was king. However, during the steroids scandal I fell out of love with baseball. Also, I do not recall our family having a TV set, at least one worth watching, until I was in high school.

I still root – and pray – for the Horns to win and I believe there is a place for sport entertainment; it offers relief to our daily worries and it is a good way to spend quality time with family and friends. Yet my weekends have now become family and relaxation time. My children, wife, or friends no longer have to compete with sports and TV for my time and attention. Moreover, I can sleep better at night without mulling over my favorite’s team loss, and I am even more productive at work. A few weeks ago, we visited the Houston Space Center on a Saturday afternoon. People warned us about the huge lines and how crowed it would be. However, when we got there neither one materialized. I do not know if it was less crowded because of a big college football game going on at the same time that day, but we had a great time. (By the way, UT lost to UCLA on that day.) Finally, another benefit from my new lifestyle is my newfound love for reading. Now, it comes easy, and it is pleasurable.

I write this not as an indictment against sports, media, or fans or even as a personal bravado. Instead, I am writing this as a personal affirmation that for me there is more to life than sports. Now, I have control over my time and as much as I do not enjoy saying this, I have to thank the BCS for it.

© hectorortiz 2010. All rights reserved.

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