"I hate when they run up the middle on first down!"
"The referees call too many penalties!"
"The kicker should go back to bagging groceries!"
"The announcers don't understand the game!"
"Instant replay ruins the experience!"
"They should just pounce on fumbles instead of trying to pick them up and run with them!"
Finally, he said, "Well then, what are you going to do about it?"
I answered the only way I could, "I'm going to drink more beer and yell louder at the TV. Maybe, just maybe, someone will hear me and do what I say."
Sebastian's got a great article here -- he's really been on a roll lately. The only thing I'd add is that sometimes you can't do anything. When I read that book on stoicism last month, one of the key points was that you need to sort out the things you can change, the things you can't, and the things you have some bit of leverage with. Ignore the things you can't change, act on the ones you can.
The ones in the middle -- the things you can change but only a little bit -- you internalize, separating the parts that you own and the parts you don't. For instance, you can't make yourself win a sports match. But you _can_ make sure you play the game as absolutely the best as possible.
This is such a simple observation -- almost stupidly simple -- yet we keep getting the three categories mixed up, worrying about stuff we can't change, and giving up on things we can.
For those who missed it, the Oregon football team's offense is playing faster then the referees move the first down markers and return balls, changing the sport. The fans respond by booing the refs!
This is what is going on this weekend. My Facebook news feed is being spammed with people changing their profile avatars to cartoon characters, signifying that they're thinking of the children - honest! It reminded me of this cartoon: http://nonadventures.com/2010/01/09/the-breast-intentions/
I posted that and told people if they're having trouble thinking of holiday gifts, they should make donations on the behalf of others and give that as a gift. It solves their "what do I buy X" conundrum and actually provides some real help to the cause they claim to care about.
EDIT: "The kicker should go back to bagging groceries!"
Neglected to mention that this one seems to have worked. :)
Actually, this one we could do something about, no? I agree that professional sports announcing is terrible for people who are seriously into the game. So, could we build either an official or amateur broadcasting/dub-over of the commentary?
Would NFL Network carry an alternate commentary version of the game, with more football commentary and less nonsense about who is dating what celebrity? Could you do it unofficially? I bet it'd be really, really popular.
That's why I like "So, what are we going to do about it?" - Even if you don't do it, you might get some interesting ideas. If there was a serious analysis/no nonsense/no frills football commentary, I might tune in to that. Things like analyzing the plays, the line play, the coverages, how different players size/speed/length of arms make a difference, etc.
Anyway, Patriots fan but I always liked the Steelers. Classy organization, heavy focus on defense and an efficient game. Hope the two see each other in the AFC championship game.
Edit: Also, sometimes you decide it just isn't worth bothering because you've got more important stuff to do. It's still a fun thought exercise in that case, and occasionally you stumble on something cool.
So I don't know if the NFL Network would carry it, but I don't think that'd matter too much.
(Sadly, HIPAA -- American health privacy legislation -- means that there is a lot of uncertainty about whether they can actually use it or not, and since I'm not a lawyer and don't have an extra $100k lying around I can't resolve that ambiguity at the moment.)
That, and no more lists...
We've only just started coding on it again after focusing on ramping up another more easily monetizable project with investor interest, but even in its simplest form we found that it makes a huge difference when walking away from a situation to say not just "well that rocked/sucked" or even "won't do that again" but to ask ourselves "what lesson can I learn from this?"
It seems being mindful and asking the right questions, consistently, pays immense dividends.
I'm adding this question to my list. One could even say I've "learned" a "lesson" :)
It helps people feel less frustrated if they can complain about it.