Fantasy Football is a Distraction from Reality.
I remember the day I decided to move on from Fantasy Football like it was yesterday. It was a pivotal moment in my life. I had just attended my first new moon ceremony and received the download that it was time for me to move on from fantasy football because it was the major distraction in my life from being in the moment of this current incarnation of the human experience.
Trust me, I can imagine where your head’s at right now…
“Fantasy Football… a pivotal moment in life?”
“New Moon ceremony… umm, what?”
I get it, I totally understand more than you know because if my future self came to visit me prior to this experience and told me I’d be giving up fantasy football and that would be the beginning of a massive change in my life and that I’d be attending “new moon ceremonies” I’d laugh it off. First, the thought that I could move on from the addiction that is fantasy football and secondly what the hell is a moon ceremony….
“Quick” Back Story of My Depression for Context
Let’s back up for a second. In March of 2019 I was battling one of the worst depressions of my entire life. I felt nothing. My nights consisted of sleepless tossing and turning. Awaking fully after even managing to get just a few hours of what little sleep I could. I’d go on with my day and focus on business and put the mask on as the “businessman” and continued to grow my business.
There’s a difference between not realizing you’re depressed and using distractions to avoid how you truly feel vs. what I was doing.
I lived for Monday — Friday between the hours of 9–5.
I knew what to do with myself when others were working. People would need me and I could strategically occupy my time with “work”. Thursday night was met with anxiety because that meant Friday was coming which meant the weekend was coming. How would I fill my time and face how I truly felt on Saturday and Sunday when people didn’t need me?
Finding Joy Again (A Rebirth Through BREATHING)
This cycle went on for an entire month! In April of 2019 I experienced transformational breathwork for the first time and that was an experience through even this day I will never forget.
I felt my soul leave my body as I had vibrations so strong I wasn’t sure if I was having a seizure and was going to die. What was this experience? A rebirth.
I wrote about my rebirth in depth as soon as it occurred and you can check it out on this post here.
Going Deeper with Ayahuasca
A week after my rebirth through breathwork I journeyed with the sacred plant medicine “Ayahuasca” for the first time. This was such a transformational experience that I started this project you’re seeing now — “Soul Seekr”. Here’s a 5 part blog series about how Ayahuasca opened my heart and introduced me to this current way of life I’m experiencing now as I endearingly refer to it as “SOUL / Life Balance”. Shortly after this experience I had an ego death experience with psilocybin mushrooms. It was a spiritual awakening of sorts.
Basically, what I’m saying is I finally felt something again. Not only did I feel something — but I felt LOVE!
Discovering a New Moon Ceremony
All of this came from just three “woo woo” type experiences so I figured hey why not check this stuff out some more.
Somehow someway I came across a “new moon ceremony” at a yoga studio in Santa Cruz, CA. Honestly, I don’t even remember how I came across this because at the time I lived in Silicon Valley (about 30 minutes away from the beach town “Santa Cruz”) and it wasn’t like I went to do yoga in Santa Cruz that often (if ever at all to be honest).
Nonetheless, I came across this new moon ceremony and read the description of the workshop. I remember it saying something about being a “workshop” to bring a pen and journal and how we’d plant new seeds of intentions or something. Honestly, I was super unsure about all of it. To say walking into the door of that yoga studio that night was uncomfortable would be a massive understatement.
When I arrived in the yoga studio I saw the instructor setting up an “alter” in the middle of the studio. She had a blanket laid out with some crystals, oracle cards, incense, and other similar things. Honestly, the concept of an “alter” is still new to me even a year later. The first time I ever came across an “alter” was in a cacao ceremony before I did breathwork.
Side note: As you can see I’ve really gone down the rabbit hole of spirituality in a short amount of time. Anyway, let’s fast forward to how fantasy football changed my life.
Fantasy Football Became My Biggest Addiction
I reluctantly got into fantasy football around 2014 as a way to stay in touch with my best bro’s from Chico State. Our time in college was spent living above the most popular bar in town partying with sorority babes. Everything you could ever dream of the college experience… that was mine. We were the epitome of “bro’s”.
A few years out of college one of my friends decided that we should create a league with our best friends from college to stay in touch. The first year in our fantasy league I got last place.
It was the first time I played fantasy sports in several years and I was determined like never before to get “good” at fantasy football for two reasons.
First, I can be extremely competitive and when I have a chip on my shoulder I get blinders on. Second, our league was arguably one of the most competitive leagues I had ever heard of…
- We had an expensive buy-in
- We would use WhatsApp to keep in touch and the messages easily totaled over 100 texts a day (even during the off season — every day)
- The winner of the league would choose the destination for the next season’s “draft” (no place was off limits)
- We would stay up as late as 3am (or set an alarm to wake up at 3am) on Tuesdays to snag free agents.
- Most of us would consume content about fantasy football like we were getting paid for it. It was an addiction and a bad one at that.
By my 4th year in the fantasy football league, I had become Champion of the league.
I would wake up in the morning and check my top resources for fantasy updates — like literally one of the first things I would do after waking up. I’d throw SiriusXM radio and listen to my favorite morning fantasy podcast as I lifted weights at the gym then the rest of my day would consist of pausing whatever I was doing work wise if a fantasy football notification came through my phone (and this would be while listening to fantasy football radio).
I remember several times hearing breaking news in the middle of a work day about a player getting injured and I’d go to snag the back up player to add him to my team and the back-up would already be gone. That’s how competitive our league was. There could be breaking news and I’d hear as soon as the news broke but if I didn’t immediately go to our fantasy football app to add a player he’d already be gone.
My Life evolved around fantasy football.
Receiving the Message it’s Time to Move on From Fantasy Football
I think you get the point, so let’s get back to the point of this story. During a meditation of this new moon ceremony I checked out in May of 2019; I received a “download” that I needed to walk away from fantasy football.
The truth is; this was but just a minor download that came a few weeks prior when journeying with ayahuasca, but this was something that I had forgotten about. Given that I was dealing with one of the worst depressions of my life, giving up fantasy football wasn’t exactly a top priority in making shifts in the way I was living to bring back joy in my being.
The message of moving on from fantasy football was simple and obvious to anyone that saw my addiction over the years. I wasn’t living! I wasn’t present!
I was experiencing highs and lows through other people’s success and failures.
It’s one thing to cheer on your favorite team and be proud of them when they win and be sad when they lose. But, it’s an entirely next level false reality when you “build a team” of players from around the NFL to make your own fantasy team.
The process of building a fantasy team gives you way more ownership than that of being a fan could ever have.
Guys, I would get sad (I’m not going to say depressed because I know what depression is and I respect the word “depression”), but I would get sad and my energy would be down if I was losing in fantasy football … and this could carry on for weeks (or often even months!)
Think about it this way, if you don’t win the championship — the whole off-season you’re going to be dealing with the feelings of not being good enough. Our fantasy league spoke every single day (literally 365 days a year) and we had the typical bro chatter. If you’re second to last you’re still upset because you constantly play the “what if” game… Well, what if I started this player in the championship… “then maybe I could have won”.
Here’s the kicker… When I won the championship that fourth year I was relieved more than anything. I wasn’t stoked that I made a few thousand bucks, I was just proud and relieved. Now I didn’t have to face the feelings of “fuck, damn it… why didn’t I start…” etc.
This is no way to live!
The Day I Gave Up Fantasy Football
I went back and forth for weeks on whether I’d actually move on from fantasy football. I talked to my friends outside of my league that didn’t know my college friends and everyone kind of agreed that I was overreacting. See, the thing is — I wasn’t so much worried about what life would be like with all this new found time and loss of an emotional rollercoaster… clearly I wanted to move on because I wanted to experience life without being addicted to the distraction that is fantasy football.
I was worried about how my friends in the league would react to the news. I was one of the more competitive players and founding members of the league. I had seen how they treated people that left the league in the past. It’s no way to treat your friends. I know this now being a “recovering bro”. But, in the heat of the moment you do guy stuff — meathead stuff.
Much as I expected the news of me leaving the league was met with describing me as words like “fagg*t”, b*tch”, p*ssy” etc. This went on for a couple of weeks.
I even started to get spam phone calls all the time and I knew from college that these guys would bully the more conservative guys in our frat by putting them on spam call lists and things like that. It was pretty clear for me to connect the dots that now I was on their “hit list”.
Wow, is this a way to treat your “friend”?
Grief & Mourning
This sounds trite, I know. But, I went through a few month phase of grieving my loss from my old friends. I mean I thought these dudes were my best friends. But, this isn’t how you treat a friend no matter how much of a meathead you are.
If you’re actually friends, you pick up the phone and you call your homie because you know he just went through a massive depression that led him to journeying with plant medicine, going to new moon ceremonies and doing all the hippy dippy things he’d never have done as a bro — hunter type from Northern California. Friends would be thinking to themselves, “Something is up. Why is Sam acting this way?” Instead, they chose to bully me.
Luckily, I came across a quote “Hang out with people with a common future. Not a common past”.
This quote came into my awareness like one of the most synchronistic things to have ever occurred in my life. This quote became my anchor for when I was sad about losing my friends — my identity of being a bro.
A Year without Fantasy Football
At the time of this writing, it’s been about 11 months since I left my fantasy football league and here’s where I’ve been spending my time…
- Meditation: I’ve been inconsistent with my meditations since I began meditating give or take 3 years ago. But, I’ve been more intentional and consistent with my morning routine and specifically meditation in the past year than ever before.
- My Move: This is a story for another time, but through this journey of going within without distractions I realized it was time for me to move away from Silicon Valley. I moved to Santa Cruz and couldn’t be happier!
- Soul Seekr: With my new found time, I decided to share my journey of this spiritual awakening process through podcasts and blogs which is now known as the “Soul Seekr” brand.
- New Business: Through the process of going within, exploring and meeting more people through Soul Seekr podcast interviews and just getting more in tune with what I truly believe in; I decided I need to move on from my business. I have been running the same business since college and in the Fall with my new found time I launched a new business, “Clone Yourself”, that aligns with my passion and purpose in life.
- Spiritual Practices: Whether it be meditation, yoga, plant medicine ceremonies, microdosing, binging on Gaia TV, listening to spiritual podcasts or just having conversations with others on the spiritual path (and even new AND full moon ceremonies) — I have made my spiritual practices part of my daily routine.
- New Friends: In January of 2020, I joined Aubrey Marcus’ Mastermind, “Fit for Service” which opened the gates to a flurry of new soul brothers and sisters that are on a very similar journey as myself.
I feel more alive now than ever before.
My Invitation to You
I would like to invite you to take a deep look at where you spend your time, who you spend your time with and see if it aligns with your values, morals and beliefs. Are you living for yourself or are you living through someone (or something else).
Distractions are abundant. We’ve discussed at length about the distraction of not just fantasy sports but even watching and cheering your favorite sports teams. But, where else are there distractions in your life?
Well, for me business is a huge distraction. I’m still struggling with this as oftentimes I still turn to doing “business’y” things when I’m unsure of what to do.
For you, it may be different. Maybe tuning into mass television programming like waiting and binging on your favorite Netflix show is a distraction (or worst the news).
Brands are a massive distraction as well. Whether it be an expensive car, clothing or any other item — we look to these things as a source to bring us happiness. But, they never deliver on that, do they?
Our society has programmed us to want more. Our society has conditioned us to have numerous distractions that appeal to various demographics to keep us from authentically living our truth.
This is your life and it’s time to take it back. What lights you up?
For me, it’s doing the physical activities like surfing, yoga, running and swimming to name a few rather than sitting behind my phone and building a “fantasy” football team.
Now, it’s your turn. Where are your distractions and how can you live more in your truth?
Til Next Time My Friends,