What Running Has Taught Me About Being A Sports Fan

So to start this blog off let me tell you; I am a Dallas Cowboys fan living in the city of Philadelphia. To those who understand the meaning behind that there is no need to explain. For those who don’t understand, that is the truest definition of living behind enemy lines. Cowboys fans in Philly are not well liked or received. I can tell countless stories of when someone took their fandom too far all because of the professional football team I cheer for.

How does this relate to running? I’m glad you asked.

Along with being a big sports fan I am also very active on social media. Primarily, twitter. When I was first introduced to twitter it was a very confusing concept to me. Why in the world would people care what I have to say in 140 characters? And vice versa. Eventually I came around to it and realized that twitter allows you to enter into conversations with like minded people with the use of hashtags. Versus Facebook where you are stuck with the conversations of people you specifically have friend requested.

Having said that I have used Twitter as a platform to enhance my running experience. As the title of this blog suggests, I am very much a novice runner. So through the use of Twitter I have been able to connect with people who are going through the same things or people who have the answers I am looking for. And overall it has helped my running progress immensely.

Specifically I participate weekly in Twitter conversations known as #BibChat and #RunChat. It is pretty simple. A moderator asks a series of questions over an hour and you use the appropriate hashtag with your answer. And you become connected to all these people who are talking about the same subject. And it is a lot of fun because the running community is very supportive and you speak to people who understand what you are going through because they are experiencing the same things.

Now we flip to the ugliness of Twitter. Specifically when it comes to sports.

Back to me being a Cowboys fan in Philadelphia. Last night was a pretty significant game for the Cowboys with most the world watching. During the game I was tweeting a local sports radio host with somewhere around 18,000 followers and they happened to retweet something I said. Nothing harmful just banter about my faith in the Cowboys. Well the haters came out of the woodwork in full force. All of a sudden all these people were tweeting me with real hate. People who have never met me. Not just coming at me for sports, but people looking at my twitter account and attacking me personally.

Now, of course I am no idiot, I realize this is the world of twitter. I get it, any idiot can open up an account and start hurling insults. This isn’t about how I feel like I was being picked on. I am way too easy going and have too thick of skin to let some keyboard tough guy have an impact on me. And I also know the things these people were saying to me were not nearly as bad as the death threats some awful people put out there. What amused me about all of this was the fact that looking at the profiles of the people making their comments you could tell most of them were family men. Their avatars were of their children or family. So here you have some family man putting his kid to bed and then getting online and attacking someone because they cheer for a different sports team. Really?

So it brings me to my main point: with so much positivity I get from the running community, why subject myself to such anger over a meaningless sporting event? I enjoy sports and love the back and forth, but when you see grown adults hurling personal insults at someone they don’t know, you have to ask, is life that bad for you? If so I am sorry. So that all being said I have decided to purge myself of the sports side of twitter and focus more on running. Social media is a two way street, if I don’t want to be involved in these conversations that is my choice. I enjoy the back and forth between my family and friends, but I won’t have some random person I don’t know hurl insults my way because I happen to cheer for a different team. So I scrubbed my twitter clean, unfollowed those sports radio hosts I listen to and decided to stay on the positive side with running.

That is ultimately what this post is about. Ever since introducing running into my life over a year ago I have just had a more positive outlook on life. If this were a year ago I probably would go back and forth with every last person on twitter about the Cowboys/ Eagles rivalry and not think twice. But since adding running into my life I realized how positive people can be and there is no room in my life for meaningless negativity.

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