Last month, I joined a Fantasy Football league!
If you don’t know me, that probably doesn’t mean anything to you. However, if you do know me, that probably shocked you. I’ve spent most of my adult life bragging about my lack of concern for following professional sports. I find watching sports entertaining, but I have no interest in following sports. In fact, my wife was so aware of my lack of interest in sports that she was surprised to learn that I knew the rules to football. During our student ministry Super Bowl event, she legitimately had no clue that I would be able to watch football and follow what was going on.
The answer is simple: I wanted to do something fun and social that I could fail at. If I come in last, I don’t care. If I come in first, it will be a nice surprise, but I could only chalk it up to luck.
Joining Fantasy Football means I have something in my life where there is no stress; It’s fun without consequence.
Nowhere to Fail…
We live in a world of constant competition.
Working with middle and high school students, I’m constantly shocked at how early schools are pushing students to commit to either a career path or advanced level classes. Sometimes I feel like, by the time my children reach grade school, I’ll have to select their college major before they enroll. It isn’t just core classes either. Sports teams have A and B teams starting in middle school, and you’re placed in ranked seats in band starting in 6th grade. We’re training kids from a young age to view everything as a competition.
By the time we’re adults, the stakes change. As a child, you’re competing for a potential future. As an adult, you’re feeling the real pressure.
- Are you getting promoted as quickly as your co-workers?
- Are your kids as well behaved as your friends’ kids?
- Are your kids developing as fast as your neighbors’ kids?
- Is your car as nice as your neighbors’?
- Is your home as clean as your sister’s home?
We all have ways that we compare ourselves to others. Now, I can tell you that it’s unwise to compare yourself to others, but you know that. We know intuitively that we’re comparing the best of others to the worst of ourselves but, for some reason, we still do it.
At the same time, even if y0u remove the negative side of comparing oneself in these areas, you’re still left with areas you should be concerned with:
- Am I doing my best at my job?
- Am I raising my kids to be great adults?
- Am I taking care of my home?
These are real concerns. But, what happens when you have nothing in your life that you can fail at?
Many of the activities we participate in for entertainment are actually areas where we’re competitive. Many years back, my wife and I joined a softball league. My wife was just playing for fun, but I played baseball for 10 years growing up. I had tons of fun playing softball as an adult, but I also needed to be successful. I really cared if I hit the ball when I swung the bat. I really cared when I put my glove in the air if I caught the ball. Those are skills I think I should have. Playing softball, while certainly fun, caused more stress in my life.
Where can you escape from stress?
RELIEVE STRESS!!! Give Yourself Permission to Fail!
Where do you have permission to fail?
In college, I took a class on marriage & family, and one of the lectures was on giving yourself permission to fail. The idea wasn’t that you give yourself permission to fail at important things, but that you include recreational activities where you have no emotional need to succeed. Each of us need areas of our life where we can fully escape from all expectations of success.
If you want to relieve stress, give yourself a place where you have permission to fail!
For me, Fantasy Football is true recreation; There’s no expectation of success, there’s just fun.
- Where have you given yourself permission to fail?
- What do you do that is purely for entertainment?
- Where can you go to escape?
…if you’re wondering, I’m currently 1 & 1. I’m projected to lose this week, but I think my guys are going to pull through!