If anyone knows the first thing about me, it’s that I am a stupidly dedicated student. Ever since middle school, I’ve constantly been striving to get the highest marks, make the most significant contributions to my school community and enjoy all the wonderful facets of my education. In a sense, doing well in school has become somewhat of a passion for me.
For years, my other passion has been sports. I’ll never forget the endless afternoons spent at Blue Jays games with my father, nor will I ever forget the rush of emotion that befell upon me while watching Jose Bautista’s heroic bat flip in 2015. I’m a massive supporter of the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and the Ryerson Rams (my school’s varsity team), and obey no limits in learning all I can about the sports I love. There is an unbelievable comfort that I find in watching a game, regardless of the sport. The sense of controllability, the sense of chrysalis, is unmatched by any other activity in my life.
University, as an experience, has been fruitfully busy for me. I adore my school and the environment it provides, but it has admittedly left me with little free time to enjoy the things I love. Since September, the time spent watching sports has been sliced at least in half. That’s disappointing, in many ways. I’m not as up-to-date on the latest happenings as I’d like to be, and my journalistic endeavours are quietly suffering because of that. I still do the best I can, but my ultimate priority is maintaining a good GPA at school and enjoying every second I spend on campus.
With that said, I’ve had to carefully strategize which sporting events I follow and which I toss aside in favour of studying. Here are three rules I (try to) follow when planning out a busy day of writing, relaxing, and cheering:
1) Use it as a break
Studying is easily one of the most exhausting activities one can do. Sure, it’s not physically taxing, but it takes a lot of brain power to sit down at a desk and consistently (and productively) consolidate and learn information at a respectable pace. Breaks are a vital part of studying, so why not use them to catch up on the things that one loves?
For years, I used to collapse on my bed during my study breaks and uselessly waste my breaktime on shutting my eyes for a brief moment, only to lose time on a nap that would only lead to less productivity in the long run. Instead, I now study most of the day and reserve my nights for watching sports, when appropriate. I can get all I want done, while still watching the entirety of the Blue Jays or Leafs game. Not only that, I also appreciate my study breaks way more now that they’re being used on something I truly treasure.
2) Let a couple games go
School is the top priority. Thus, missing a game or two here and there comes with the territory. I’ve run into trouble when I’ve (aimlessly) attempted to catch every inning or watch every period. It just can’t happen.
However, morning highlights are perfect for getting an overview of the night’s activities. Tweets, GIFs, articles, blog posts and so many other forms of communication are perfect for getting the gist of a game’s action, without even having to watch the game.
Sure, it’s always preferable to absorb every second, but the moment one tries to watch everything is the moment one finds oneself inundated with the copious amounts of enticing games available to watch. Good things come to those who wait, and even better things come to those who ration.
3) Plan ahead
In truth, this should apply to every aspect of a busy life, but it’s especially relevant here. One of the best parts of being a sports enthusiast is getting ready for a big game. Whether an intense rivalry or a crucial playoff tilt, there are certain games that matter the most.
Therefore, one should carefully plan out which games are the most important. I, for one, always circle playoff games on my calendar, because those are the ones that I deem the most exciting, important, and valuable to me.If you can’t do that, try and evaluate the value of a given game before investing the whole night. It’d be a shame to spend three hours watching a pre-season game only to find out a doubleheader in the regular season is on the next day.
When it’s all said and done, I’ve always considered sports to be complementary, not supplementary, to my life as a student and aspiring journalist. Although I don’t use baseball as a “pastime”, I still enjoy kicking back with my friends and family and taking in a ballgame.
It clears my mind and allows me to think in a different way than I would if I were at home studying away. It’s that diversification that has, in my mind, allowed me to become a more well-rounded person overall. Self-centered banter aside, it’s just plain old fun.
So, whatever your schedule, occupation, or life situation, enjoy the things that make you happy, even if they come in small sizes. It’s incredibly easy to underestimate the importance of leisure in one’s life, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just as important as getting work done.
To my fellow sports fans: cheer on! Enjoy the games, the players and the stats. Take every opportunity to talk about your favourite teams, and snag every chance you get to relax with the ones you love, and enjoy the games you treasure.