Every once in awhile, a huge controversy comes out that sets the entire country abuzz.  It’s something shocking, unexpected, and usually makes one group of people look pretty terrible.  Those involved go into damage control mode as the public sends its wrath upon them.  It is discussed at every workplace, school, church, and family dinner table.  People begin to feel anxious about the future.

I am of course talking about the pass interference flag that the referees picked up in the Cowboys/Lions game yesterday.

I find it absolutely amazing how upset people have gotten over it.  Okay, yes, it was a bad call, but to actually feel anger and distress (for longer than a few minutes while you’re watching the game) is pretty pathetic.  Facebook and Twitter feeds were dominated by people losing their minds over this call.  Many made strongly worded Facebook statuses to Dallas Cowboys fans the world over to let them know just how much they hated them.

Where are people’s priorities?

Don’t get me wrong—sports make up a non-trivial part of my life.  I still play baseball competitively and enjoy watching a few professional sports.  Playing sports can have obvious benefits to physical health, build character, and help with teambuilding and leadership skills.  I’ve experienced all of these positive effects from sports in my own life.  On top of that, it’s fun to be able to escape life for a few hours and just focus on the competition.  The thrill of victory can be rather intoxicating when you’re putting all you’ve got into it.

Watching sports is fine as a hobby too.  It’s fun to get into a game, rooting for your team and booing the teams and players you don’t like.  Some people put more time and money into watching sports than others, but that’s okay because we all have different interests.  Furthermore, sports are social and they do a great job of bringing people together.

The problem, however, is that some people tend to take things too far.  When losing a game ruins your day (or week), then you may want to reconsider your priorities.  If you find yourself actually literally hating your rivals and their fans just because they are your favorite team’s rivals, then you may want to reconsider your priorities.  If you find yourself with an overwhelming sense of pride over something you had absolutely nothing to do with, then you may want to reconsider your priorities.

If the reaction to this blown call weren’t bad enough, there’s actually a discussion about the political ramifications of New Jersey governor Chris Christie being seen hugging Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones at the end of the game.

To most of society, all of this behavior is quite normal and healthy.  People happily tolerate others who cannot handle something as silly as a bad call in a game.  Yet those of us who express concern over police brutality, taxpayer-funded drone strikes against innocent people overseas, or inflationary monetary policies that harm the poor are considered weird and are routinely told to shut up.

Do you ever reflect on what causes you the most emotional discomfort?  Can you say that you are proud of it?

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