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Monday, February 3, 2014

What Is the Benefit of Being a Spoilsport?

Party Pooper
Party Pooper (Photo credit: Randi Deuro)

        Many of you may have been glued to the television watching the Super Bowl or at least in a household where others were watching it.  I'll admit that I had the game on while I did computer stuff, but I wasn't paying that much attention.   I have no idea what's going on in football.  Never have and probably never will.  The truth is that I don't care for football.

         My negative attitude toward football used to be much more intense than it is now.  I'd make fun of the sport and the people watching it.  If I was with a group of people watching the game, I'd ridicule and spout all sorts of negativity in an attempt to spoil the game for everyone else.  No one paid me much mind and I was probably more annoying than I was influential.

         The fact of the matter is that a lot of people enjoy football.  They enjoy the camaraderie of watching the game together.  Some like to watch the games alone because they enjoy the sport.  People talk about upcoming games and analyze games gone by.  Football is a passion for many and a pleasurable pastime for others.  And on the beneficial side to society the sport contributes to the economy.

       There have been many times in my life when I've tried to ruin the fun of others or cast a shadow of negativity over pursuits that others enjoyed and found pleasure in doing.  Why?  Just because I wasn't interested.  If people were doing something that I didn't like then they were taking attention away from me and I felt left out.   Sometimes I thought what people were doing was dumb or time wasting and in my opinion they shouldn't be doing it.  That's a terribly controlling attitude when I look at it in retrospect.

       Thankfully I've accepted that I don't have to like what others enjoy, but I shouldn't be trying to mess up their good times either.   Finding the positives is a good thing.  If I expect to be happy then I should expect that others should be permitted to enjoy what they want to do so long as they are not harming others or doing damage to property or the environment.  And if people don't want to watch Fellini movies or listen to classical music with me then it may be their loss but they shouldn't try to stop me from doing it or ridicule me for it.

      There was a time when I wished football would just go away.  I have even suggested it be banned by the law.  How absurd!   Being a spoilsport is a bad thing.  It makes the spoiler look bad and the rain can make the parade marchers wet, but usually they have umbrellas and don't pay much attention to the one doing the grousing.

       Let others have their good time.  Ideally join in the fun and you may even find why others enjoy the thing they are doing that you didn't like--or thought you didn't like.  I kept Super Bowl 48 on to keep track of what was happening even though I didn't understand it, I watched some of the commercials (there were a few good ones), and I watched the half time show ( I usually do flip that on even if I'm not watching the game).  I won't say I necessarily had all that much fun, but I hope some of you did.

      Do you usually watch the Super Bowl?   What types of events do you like to enjoy as a communal experience?    Have you ever tried to spoil the fun of others because you weren't interested in what they were doing?    Is there anything that others enjoy doing that you wish would just go away so they'd stop doing it?

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  1. When married there was always soccer being watched on TV. Not a lover of soccer used to make little remarks.
    Then my youngest son when four found how to kick a football......from then on there was no stopping him.
    Hw played soccer for his school, also our town's local team.
    On leaving school much to his dad's pride and delight was an apprentice to the game and went on to become a pro. player until injury made him hung up his boots.
    I don't watch soccer these days but think of bygone days when soccer was a part of my life.


  2. I think a lot of us have that attitude, especially when we are younger. Most grow out of it. Some never do.
    Football is my favorite sport (to watch, not very good at playing it) and I follow it closely. Yes, I did did watch the game last night. Sorry blowout though. The halftime show was decent but the commercials were very lame.

  3. My husband used to make fun of people who watch sports. My brothers are crazy about Cricket matches. Yesterday for the first time my husband realized that there is pride in practcsing for something for months and then winning the game.

  4. Never been a fan of any sport. Since I don't live under a rock, I have known many people who were HUGE fans of various sports. If they wanted to go watch some game live, I was usually up for it. I actually enjoy hockey and baseball at the arena. Never been to a football game (other than hs games)

    My ex-husband was a Braves fan extremist. And when I say that I was bothered by the games, I actually mean that I was bothered by how he watched them. I have never seen a person get so worked up (throwing things) and screaming profane things at the television. It was bad enough when he did it around me, but it was even worse when his young children came to live with us. There was no reasoning with him to indicate that it was not acceptable behavior. So, when a game was on, we all disappeared into our rooms and closed the doors. That is not a good thing to do to your family. His game was spoiling our LIVES.

    I have no desire to rain on anyone's parade, but I sure don't want them raining on mine, either.

  5. We hosted our annual Super Bowl party, last night. I don't so much enjoy gathering to watch the game as I just like having people over. Life is so busy. This just gives us an excuse to get together. I do like football, though. Not a fanatic, but I like it. Now, ice hockey ... LUV!

  6. Well, BOIDMAN, it's good that you realized the error of your ways.

    However... change "football" to "Reality TV" and I adopt your prior viewpoint and attitude in a heartbeat.

    "Reality" TV (is that not a great oxymoron?) would have destroyed America... if America had not ALREADY been destroyed.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  7. Two thoughts here:
    1. The irony is that now that you're more accepting of people watching football, because of the concussion issues, more and more parents are not allowing their children to play the sport. I wonder, will that affect its popularity 20 years from now?
    2. I still need to watch the Fellini movie you put on our Netflix queue. :)


  8. My father was an avid sports fan, as were my first two husbands. I grew to hate sports. Thankfully, I'm married to someone now who is not a sports watching fan. I did go to a Super Bowl party yesterday - I watched the National Anthem being sung, then went to play Charades and Password with others who don't care for football. Everyone had fun doing what they enjoy. Great introspective post, Lee.

  9. Yvonne -- When my girls started playing soccer I became a big fan. I started watching the games on TV and even went to a few of the local pro games. Now I no longer watch soccer, but I still like it better than American football.

    Alex -- The commercials were not as good as in previous years and I haven't heard much talk about them on the radio.

    Munir -- I used to be that way too. I don't necessarily like some of the attitudes of the pro players, but I can appreciate their skills and what they have put of themselves into playing the game.

    Robin -- My father used to seem the same way but now I realize that he was just getting into the spirit of the games. He never swore or got angry. The rest of my family is pretty much the same about sports. I think it seems silly, but they have a good time with it.

    SA -- Things were quiet and dull at our house, but my wife was sick too. Even if she had been well though the house would have been quiet.

    StMc-- My mother and sister love those shows and I'll sometimes poke fun at them about it, but like my mother says, she can't do much else since she can barely walk and has to sit in front of the TV all day. Fortunately in the past few years she has taken up reading and watches much less TV.

    Jeffrey-- I think soccer will continue to become more popular. I heard that it is now the fastest growing participatory sport for kids, surpassing even Little League. I think Fellini's "8 1/2" is a great film, but it's probably too slow for most people and it's in subtitles which is a big drawback for many. If you do watch it I hope you'll tell me your thoughts. Just don't make fun of me for liking it :)


  10. Karen -- Sounds like my kind of Super Bowl party. I'd be off playing games too.


  11. I'm really not into sports much. I didn't watch the Super Bowl. My best friend, however, is crazy about all of them so I try to know a little for her sake.

  12. I'm not a giant sports fan, but I am a fan of watching sports fans. I love their enthusiasm and craziness when the yell at the TV.

  13. Jennifer--When my mother starts talking about the football games it all just goes over my head. I'm not very good at sustaining a reasonable conversation about sports.

    Southpaw -- It can be entertaining sometimes, but it can also be annoying at other times.


  14. Lee-

    I enjoy football, although the past few years i have not been as avid a watcher as in the past.

    This was a good Super Bowl to not watch. It was over pretty much on the first play, and I started multitasking during the second quarter when it became apparent how outmatched Denver was.

    I feel the same way about reality TV-have never watched an episode of any of it.


  15. We're a football family. My oldest son played in high school and college and is not a high school coach. That said, I don't really care for any professional sports. To me sports are something you do for pleasure and joys of being part of a team, not something you do for obscene sums of money.

  16. No sports for me. At all. But I love superbowl commercials.

  17. I love football and the Seahawks so I was super into the game yesterday. I try not to be a spoil sport b/c I hate it when it's done to me. My mother does it all the time and that's how I grew up with her pissing on everything I was interested in. My ex husband did it too and now my fiance' sometimes gives me shit about things I like. I don't like it at all. It pisses me off big time.

  18. Larry -- When even the commercials are bad then that's a bad sign for the Super Bowl.

    Susan GK-- My family was more of a basketball family though they love a lot of sports. Somehow I ended up a black sheep on this.

    Sheena-Kay-- The commercials were real duds this year. And some of them didn't really make sense.

    JoJo -- Negativity doesn't win many friends and doesn't do much to keep them.


  19. I really enjoy sports in person, but on the TV, not so much. I did try to watch the Superbowl, but actually fell asleep twice.

    Personally, I find the best way to deal with those people and things that annoy me, is to walk away. My only issues about control, are a desire to control myself and my personal space. How sad to try to control others, especially through ridicule.

  20. Football was always on in our house when I was growing up, so it's comforting when it's on. Reality TV is what I don't get. Survivor shows can die anytime.

  21. As a rule hubby loves all and I mean 'all' sports. I tune it out, unless the Steelers, the Pirates, the Mariners or the Seahawks are on the field. Then I'm paying attention. Loved the game yesterday, I wanted the Seahawks to win, but was shocked at how easy they did it! Don't think anyone expected that. It was fun, even the commercials, but half time - no - love the bands but not the pro's. I've always been good at tuning things out - so no need to get involved to the extent I have to spoil it for someone else.

  22. That was a great 'admission' post. We aren't much into football either but we always have the game turned on. Because that is the only way to stay up with what others around us are interested in....

  23. I haven't "seen" a super bowl in something like 15 years, and I didn't see that one, either; I just had to be there at the party for it. (Yes, it was a requirement.)

    Personally, I don't think the super bowl (or football) add enough positives to counter the negatives they bring. Super Bowl Sunday is the day, by far, of the greatest domestic violence in the US. It is also the biggest day for human trafficking. Is any amount of money in the economy worth those two things?

  24. Went to a Superbowl party once, enjoyed it and the host explained what was going on, but sorry, football leaves me cold. Matt watches golf but although I used to play, that too leaves me cold. Don't think I have ever been a spoilsport though. Maybe I have and just forgotten.

  25. I was about to ask in what way could there be a benefit to being a spoiled sport but you've cleared things up for me, Lee :-)

    I watched the Superbowl and enjoyed the half-time show most of all.

    I can certainly say there are things that I don't agree with, but I don't try to take away from what others may enjoy. I may ask how far is too far for certain hobbies and share a word of concern or caution, but then it's different strokes for different folks.

    My 9 year old daughter is having to learn to deal with this now. She likes some things that her BFF doesn't and he's been making it a more often thing to tell her that he thinks certain things she likes are lame. I try to counter that with reminding her that he is entitled to his opinion. He can think "collecting xyz" toy is lame all he wants. But if she enjoys it, then she has to be okay with knowing not everyone will see it her way...and not everyone will be decent enough to recognize that every person isn't them.

    Glad you found a change of heart in that regards :-)

  26. I pretty much ignore the Super Bowl. Every year. If I get the chance, I might go out shopping. But otherwise...

    I don't have a problem with anyone else enjoying it, though. I won't go to the parties. They can have all the fun they want with it. If they don't bother me, why should I bother them?

  27. Faraway-- I don't know that the ridicule is intended as an attempt to control anyone as much as it is to get attention.

    L.Diane -- Reality shows must be popular with a lot of people considering how many there are. They're also cheap to produce.

    Yolanda -- If people are having harmless fun why try to ruin it for anyone. I don't know much about football, but the Super Bowl was pretty darn dull.

    Paula-- Actually this post was intended more as a parable.

    Andrew -- I read somewhere that the domestic violence claim is a myth. I might tend to believe it because I think that sports bring out the violent side of certain people. Look at the rioting in Seattle and the amount of damage done. One might debate though that this still stimulates the economy. For some maybe.

    Jo -- I think a lot of times we are spoilsports without realizing it. I always tended to try to justify my actions but in retrospect I see that I was wrong.


  28. Angela -- I still might question why a person spends (wastes) so much time and money doing something, but I no longer harangue them about it. We should be free to follow our interests.

    Liz -- I avoid the Super Bowl parties as well although I'd probably go if it was a family member having it. I'd go for the family time and not the game.


  29. Claiming that it is a myth in the face of actual statistics seems to be a ploy to undermine the statistics.

  30. We no longer attend the Bowl Parties our extended family used to host. In fact, we stopped watching the Bowl in its entirety.

    Life is slow around here.

  31. Great post - great questions:

    I don't watch the Super Bowl.

    I don't mind being "with a crowd" for things like the Winter Olympic we had here in Vancouver - or Lacrosse Playoffs (family sport) - but truth be told I'm not much of a spectator.

    I wouldn't deliberately spoil someones fun. I probably have though, by showing little interest in TV sports - but my friends know better than to invite me in the first place.

    Certain TV shows outright annoy me and if I'm with someone that insist on watching said shows I will make myself scarce (or hope they make themselves scarce). hehehehe

    Overall, though, I can take or leave it all. Mostly leave it - but I do try to be a "good" sport when push comes to shove! (Okay… I shove back, eek)

    Till next time,
    Jenny :)

  32. I'm not normally a big football fan. Never have been. BUT I live in Seattle so I had to watch this Superbowl. I admit I enjoyed watching our underdogs win so spectacularly.

    Live and let live, I say, when it comes to people enjoying different hobbies, so long as they don't force their loves on me if I don't share in them or criticize me for the ones I love.

    Glad you learned this too.

  33. This is exactly how I feel about basically any sport, especially if it is televised. I cannot think of a more passive or uninteresting pastime, but I've learned the same lesson you have: whining about it just adds my annoying voice to the preexisting annoyingness, because certainly no one turns off the TV! Now I bring my computer along and just enjoy the snacks. I like myself better when I smile and let everyone else enjoy themselves. Fun post about the importance of attitude. :)

  34. Andrew -- I don't recall the source where I read that the domestic violence claim was mythical so I can't vouch for the veracity. Sporting events can get people riled up. We've seen a lot of evidence for that.

    Susan K.-- I'll bet our life is slower most of the time. It would be a pretty dull contest.

    Jenny -- Probably making oneself scarce is probably the best solution. I find it a waste of time to sit through something I absolutely don't like and would rather do something else if I can.

    Jagoda -- Sometimes people get so rabid about sports they can kind of shove it in your face and I don't like that.

    Sarah -- We don't make many friends by continually showing our displeasure. Computer and snacks sounds like a good plan. And maybe earplugs.


  35. I'm a huge football fan. It started out as more of a, "Well, my hubby and his dad are watching it so I guess I will too." That grew into a true love for the sport. Now that they are both gone, watching the games helps me remember them both. I even have a ritual where I put on the digital photo album so they can watch too. Silly, huh?

    But, you're right. There's no reason to rain on anyone's parade. It shows a lot of character to reflect like you did here.

  36. Interesting and authentic post, Lee. I think a lot of people do what you describe subconsciously. The basis seems to be that if we put others' enjoyment or talent down we lift ourselves up. That logic is flawed. Not totally on point but along the same lines is parents of sporting children. Putting another's child's talent down does not make your child a better player it simply makes you feel better for a small moment in time. My family have a fascination with science fiction, something I don't share. I used to put it down, but at the end of the day no-one can say someone's tastes or feelings are wrong or better or worse. They just are.

  37. Hi Lee,

    Ah yes, we were subjected to the Super Bowl live in the UK. Of course, we have to clarify that you mean that type of football, football and not soccer, football.

    I like my sports. I much prefer watching the Grey Cup, however.

    Is the A to Z some sort of a sport?

    Take care, my friend.

    Gary :)

  38. I'm also not a fan of the Super Bowl. Like you, I watched the half- time show, and some of the commercials out of curiosity. Fortunately, my husband got fed up with the game in time to watch Downton Abbey with me. It was the best of both worlds.


  39. Elsie -- Your tradition is sweet.

    Judy -- We need to learn how to encourage everyone in their interests and pursuits and not be overly boastful about our own abilities.

    Gary -- I amazed that people outside the U.S. even care about the Super Bowl, but then again there is so much hype about it. A to Z is not a sport, but it's a pleasurable and even meaningful event to some.

    Julie -- It's a pretty sorry game when a football fan turns to Downton Abbey instead.


  40. I usually don't watch the Super Bowl unless my team is in it.

    As for being a spoil sport, I don't really do that. If there's a sport on or that people talk about that I don't like, I don't watch or participate.


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