The benefit of missing out

I used to enjoy it.

Every Saturday night at about ten o’clock, I’d make myself a cup of tea and slouch on the sofa, ready for one of the highlights of my week. Match of the Day.

During the week, I’d get home from school at four, and flip straight to Sky Sports News. For the next forty five minutes, I’d read every headline and score and watch every report and interview.

In college, our first free period would usually result in heading to the library, loading up NBA.com and watching game highlights, daily Top 10s, and reading all the news and articles we had time for.

I do neither of those things anymore.

Why? Because to be a completely committed fan is a full time job. And I don’t have that sort of time to plow into pursuits that have no direct impact on the life I’m trying to build.

Consider what you have to do to keep up with your team:

Track their games and how they perform. Track the games of your close rivals and how they perform. Read news and articles and analyses about your key players, your team, your rivals and their key players. Speculate about upcoming games and important match ups. Understand the importance of certain matches and feel the pain when you lose and the exuberance when you win. Monitor individual player’s lives and the possibility of them moving from or to your team. Know the history of your team and the league and the sport. Keep track of changes in other team’s rosters and coaching staff and how that will impact your performance. Converse and debate all of the above with other fans and anyone willing to listen.

I’ve been on both sides. I played football and was a football fan. I played basketball and was a basketball fan. Now, I practise Brazilian jiu-jitsu but I don’t follow the tournaments or the competitors.

Once you step out of fandom, you realise something.

Nobody cares if you don’t know last night’s score. It doesn’t matter if you miss the final. Whether you’ve read the latest analysis of your teams performance in the playoffs is of no direct consequence in your life. The world still turns.

The only people who get offended by your nonchalance are other superfans. If they’re not true friends, they’ll quickly drop you from the circle. This is fine. Vacuums are soon filled.

But by deciding to miss out, you’ve freed up a valuable chunk of your most precious resources: your time, your energy and your attention. You can now distribute them where they can be of greater impact.

The biggest benefit of missing out is that you don’t have to keep up.

It means one less thing to worry about. One less commitment. One less activity to fit into an already cluttered life.

To me, that sounds like a good deal.