Watching Sports with Equanimity

I’ve always been a big college basketball fan which makes March Madness, the college basketball tournament, one of the most celebrated times of year. My family competes every year to see who can guess the most winners which always brings extra excitement. This year I sat a three day course just before the tournament started so the dhamma was fresh inside me, and I noticed something different from years past.

One of the reasons the tournament is thrilling is the rapid continuous swings between victory and defeat. One second your team is winning, and the next second the opposing team has hit the game winning shot. These emotional swings are what we celebrate, but this year I noticed how agitated my mind was becoming. I was literally craving victory and having aversion to defeat. This emotional rollercoaster is what I used to consider the fun part. Actually, I still consider it the fun part, but I’m also noticing that it’s directly in conflict with maintaining equanimity.

So then I started trying to watch games with equanimity and it became pretty boring. I’m not sure how to want a team to win without craving, and if I’m not attached to my team winning, it’s hard to care what’s going on. I start just rooting for my team to play well instead of to win, and this give me equanimity, but I lose interest quickly. It is strange to realize that watching sports is literally a celebration of attachment. We live for the extreme highs and lows. Maybe someday I’ll just stop watching sports altogether. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. For now, I’m going to continue riding the rollercoaster. Time to meditate.

This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

One thought on “Watching Sports with Equanimity

  1. Good to know I’m not the only meditator out there who still falls for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (both are actually agony!)


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