The NFL vs. The State of American Politics
The NFL vs. The State of American Politics
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“Whew! At least we have our Refs back!” said every NFL fan in America today. One more confused look, one more bad call, might have sent us all into some spiral of canceling our NFL Sunday Ticket. But we can’t just bask in the glory. Nope. It can’t happen without some admonishment. Here we sit, in front of our TVs, like some adolescent whose parent has just caught them watching porn, with a guilty look. How could we possibly care about football when there are far bigger issues to worry about? I realize this is an election year, but are we allowed no downtime?

I’ve read several comments from people on Facebook who say basically, “anyone worried about stand-in referees in a football game have no idea what life is about”. Well, here’s some news for you. Some of us do have an idea. We do care. We are informed. It’s just that we can’t remain focused on death, destruction, and the downfall of America all the time without feeling the need to skewer our brains. Not to mention, if you stay focused on one spot all the time, you tend to lose focus.

Here’s an example: Grab a piece of paper. Draw a circle on it. Hang it on the wall in front of you. Now stare at it indefinitely…I’ll wait…

What happened? The circle becomes blurry. Is it black or gray? How big is it, really? Is it even a circle? Eventually the circle becomes such a mess it fades into the wall. Now we have no clue what we’re even focusing on. The lines are no longer clear, and the point is totally lost.

It’s the same thing when all we watch on television or read on the internet is something about politics. Eventually we don’t even know what to believe anymore. Any boundaries we have established are lost. Our views become so skewed we have no idea what is going on. It’s just like when you’re driving and you never move your eyes from front; you tend to have tunnel vision. Sometimes you just need to move your eyes from side to side and take a look at something else.

This, dear friends, is why some of us watch football or reality TV. Occasionally it’s even nice to just sit with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and watch the Flintstones. We don’t always need to be in a constant state of deep thinking. I think a good mindless aversion even helps to sharpen our focus.

I know from personal experience I can be so focused on something I lose track. I can walk away, do something else, for a couple of hours, and when I return, new information and clearer thoughts have entered my mind. See, the brain is a strange mechanism. Even though it might seem someone is paying no attention to something, they could be processing information in the back of their mind the entire time.

My son can be playing guitar, seemingly focused on nothing but six strings, whilst I’m speaking to him about an issue. But once he has processed the information I have given him, he can repeat what I have said to him verbatim and give me solid input. It’s the same thing with watching sports or other unimportant activities.

In fact, I could go so far as to say perhaps what one might call “wasted time” is very important. Sometimes not thinking about an issue allows the body and mind to relax enough to deal with issues of the utmost importance, like whom I should vote for.

I think we all need a little downtime. Relaxing is not necessarily wasting time. Everyone needs to shut off for a little while. A person cannot remain in some perpetual state of neutral, but neutral doesn’t mean one has shut the engine down completely, either. I would prefer not to have a nervous breakdown. (Although, I probably deserve a stay in some nice resort, or mental facility, call it what you like.) So, I do take the time to nourish myself. How do I do that? I watch football or stupid reality shows. I read a book or listen to music. Is that so wrong?

I’ll never be a football fanatic. No one will see me dressed from head to toe in Dallas Cowboy’s gear, but I do enjoy watching. When the game is over, it’s back to life, real life. I walk my happy rear end back into the world of political debate, school work, and deep philosophical thought. But until that game is over, it’s just me, screaming at some obviously clueless ref, threatening to fly to wherever and take over some coach’s job. Meanwhile, in my brain, the gears are turning silently. And beware when I shut off the television; for I’ve been recharged and I’m ready to go.


Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff.  The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!

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