More family, less football

Dec. 06, 2012 @ 09:09 AM

Believe it or not, the calendar has turned over to December. You know the month.

It’s the time of year when people’s already busy schedules are suddenly sent into overdrive. There are decorations to hang, presents to buy, play practices and parties to attend. The list seems endless.

The modern holiday season with all its hustle and bustle is no Norman Rockwell painting.  A 5-year-old with finger paint would probably give a more accurate depiction.

Sadly, I am no different. My busy-ness does not stem from decorating or shopping, as you might have guessed, it comes from sports.

There are certainly enough sporting events during December to overload the most seasoned sports writer or fan. Think about it. The high school and college basketball seasons are in full swing while the list of bowl games this year is long enough to make Santa’s look like a post-it-note.

For me, with all these events going on, December truly is the most wonderful time of the year. But through the years, I’ve come to realize that the Christmas season is not about me. Christmas, more than any other holiday, is about what you can do for others, not what they can do for you.

I did not always grasp this concept. In Christmases past, I would give my parents, who are not sports fans, tickets to a Hornets or Panthers game. Of course, one  of them would end up taking me.

Later, I realized I was being selfish. Those tickets didn’t bring pleasure to them. They brought pleasure to me. I had missed the point of the season and the ghosts of those Christmases past still haunt me.

With further apologies to Charles Dickens, I’d like to offer a pre-Christmas warning to all my fellow sports fans. Don’t fall into the same trap I did and it is not just limited to buying tickets for the non-sports fan on your list.

For example, just because there are 35 bowl games scheduled between Dec. 15 and Jan. 7 doesn’t mean you have to watch them all.  Each bowl is approximately three hours long. That’s three hours spent staring at the television instead of making memories and celebrating other festivities with family and friends. Ask yourself if watching the GoDaddy.com Bowl is really that important. Multiply three hours by 35 games and that’s almost four and a half days of college football.

 Now I’m not saying that watching all the bowl games will send Tiny Tim to an early grave, but time is a gift that we have been given. It is far more valuable than anything you will find under the tree Christmas morning. Don’t selfishly keep that gift to yourself. Share your time with others instead of vegetating on the couch.

I know this makes me sound like The Bowl Game Grinch, but I’m not.

I enjoy college football and I do plan to watch two bowl games this season, Duke vs. Cincinnati and Alabama vs. Notre Dame.

I’m watching Duke because it’s a modern day Christmas miracle that the Blue Devils are in a bowl, while the national championship game pits two deeply religious institutions against one another (just in case you were wondering, Alabama’s religion is college football).

I know some fans will watch many more games than two. But just remember, it is best to treat bowl games like fruitcake. They may only come around once a year and they may have a unique flavor, but only eat a piece or two. Save room for the other tasty treats Christmas has to offer. You will be glad you did.