Perspectives: Boycotting the NFL? Consider retiring the man cave as well

Composite image for illustration | Elements from pixabay.com, St. George News

OPINION – Now that a portion of the football-watching public has apparently discovered the capacity for moral umbrage, those making a stand by refusing to watch the NFL will have some time on their hands.

I have some suggestions as to how their newfound discretionary time could be put to productive use. Whoever came up with the saying “Ditch the man cave, bring back the study” has the right idea.

To grasp the opportunity before us, we must first distinguish between the two.

The modern man cave is typically little more than a playroom for grown children. Big screen TVs, pool and gaming tables, posters, sports shrines and entertainment-centered goodies are the norm.

There a man can temporarily escape the responsibilities and demands of being a husband and father and indulge his ego and simple desires. Given that we all can use some occasional decompression from the demands of life, it’s easy to understand why the man cave has become a status symbol.

Where the man cave falls short is its inability to promote any measurable degree of self improvement. It’s goal is to entertain us, distract us and shield us from the cares of the world. What begins as a harmless retreat from stress can morph into a kind of fortress that isolates us from the people and influences that should have a place in our lives.

This can translate into missed opportunities to build and strengthen families ties because we’re too busy indulging our own selfish desires. It’s a place better suited to the whims of a large boy than it is to a man.

On the other hand, a study is a respectful, private environment where a man can also temporarily detach from the cares and demands of life, albeit in a more productive way. A typical study has historically included shelves of good books, a desk on which to write, comfortable places to sit and read, soft but adequate lighting and peace and quiet.

A man’s study was an accurate reflection of the word “study” in that it provided an environment in which a man could devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge, especially by means of books.

Time spent examining one’s knowledge, grappling with new ideas and actively thinking about truth is the fertile soil in which self growth takes place. This means a person who engages in this type of learning becomes better informed and a more capable thinker.

These qualities, in turn, carry over into a man’s personal life, his family life, his faith, his work and his citizenship within the community.

A proper study should be understood as a place of inspirational solitude. It’s where a person can retire to read, write and think about the people and ideals that motivate him to live up to his best qualities.

Ideally, the study is a place where every member of the family can learn to appreciate the value of using leisure time wisely.

Contrast these benefits with what happens within a man cave, where the individual is passively entertained by a big screen or devotes large amounts of time and energy to pursuits that idolize recreation with no corresponding personal growth.

The call for a return to the study over the man cave is not an attack on entertainment. It’s a call to more carefully prioritize how we spend our free time and to recognize how many of us are in thrall to modern bread and circuses.

There is a difference between the kind of individuals who earnestly study and write about what they learn and those who’d rather build personal shrines to their one true hobby. At some level, if we’re not serious about bettering ourselves, we’ll have little to offer the world in terms of authentic improvement.

It’s the difference between going through life as a spectator and finding the confidence to take our place on the field.

As divisive and passionate as the debate has been over dissenting NFL players, the clear silver lining is that a number of former fans are finally ready to put down the remote and find something constructive to do with their time.

Plenty of folks know that they’re angry but would be hard pressed to explain why this is so. Instead of shouting bumper sticker slogans at one another, they might instead find it empowering to understand which principles are at stake and why.

The ability to discern between things of substance and contrived outrage would also save them time and effort.

In a world where the latest, greatest whiz bang technological marvels are always just around the corner, getting people to rediscover the value of personal study may be a long shot. If even a fraction of the disaffected football fans begin to understand what they’ve been missing, it would be a huge improvement.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • Craig October 2, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Just a little bit of dripping condescension for the men you assume watch football.

  • mctrialsguy October 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    No more watching or attending any professional ball games whatsoever, period. Players are not like when I was younger, they are now arrogant, spoiled, paid way to much to play a game, and do not any longer care about the fans or their country. All of my professional ball game and team collectable items have been given away. I will now have more time on my hands to do outdoor fun with family.

  • ladybugavenger October 2, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    I knew it would be a distraction for my team. The moment Carr stood and everyone else kneeled, I knew the season was over. I’m not going to watch my team lose. 😩

  • jaybird October 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    No more attention paid to stupid tweets.

  • .... October 3, 2017 at 3:11 am

    Wooooooohoooooooooo I’m a ain’t a gonna stop a watchin the NFL ……LOL. wait for it. ……here comes No Life.

  • Wolverine October 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

    One man’s waste of time is another man’s (or entire family’s) entertainment and passion. Wow Bryan, the condescension is just dripping off of you towards people that choose to entertain themselves by watching sports and for not reading their bibles instead to seek “personal growth”. Because, of course, if someone wants to watch sports there’s something wrong with them, and they are not as good of a person as they should be and require introspection to seek to better themselves. That’s a bunch of BS right there. Save your preaching for someone that wants to hear it, perhaps you can go on a mission to spread your words of self enlightenment. Sounds to me like someone was frequently picked last for sports and that you now think you’re better than those of us that will support our teams no matter what kind of peaceful demonstrations and social issues they choose to stand up for on or off the field. (peaceful and social issues, being the key words here) Any major sports team doesn’t need you or other fair weather fans, there are plenty of other dedicated fans out there that will keep watching and buying tickets. You’re either a fan or you’re not, no one really cares. If a whole team or a member of a team kneeling is offensive to you, fine take your time elsewhere, but don’t try to tell anyone that they are lacking in personal growth because of their dedication to a team or sport that shows entire teams of men supporting each other and their concerns about social issues. I see grown men, educated men, religious men, experienced at life, in loving relationships, with families all supporting each other peacefully, in a way that is available to them. When a whole team, their coaches and owners support each other, who ends up being the real fool here? Perhaps a prolific tweeter that wants to stir the pot, or perhaps a writer commenting on how men need to seek personal growth to be better people instead of supporting these men? Indeed. People will fit in reading and “Personal Growth” if it’s important to them, along with their entertainment time. I know I do, but making a comment that implies that a person who is a dedicated sports fan is lacking is just plain condescending. I can see the snobbish point you were trying to make, but I think you missed the mark by a mile. Instead you come off as egotistical and arrogant in implying you’re superior to anyone that doesn’t do things like you do or think the way that you do. You’re way off the mark… WAAAAAYYYY off mark.

    • comments October 3, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      I think you just proved Bry’s point. Pro sports fanatics are generally idiots. Good write up, Bryan

  • commonsense October 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    America has created this culture of entertainment that has become obscene.
    Singers, actors, television hosts and athletes play and pretend to audiences who pay them ungodly sums of money for what?
    In the case of professional athletes, they are undereducated, mostly black and mostly unemployable at anything else.
    And now, they complain that the white population has oppressed them for generations and America needs to change or they will disrespect our flag and national anthem. Imagine, we pay them to play games and they think they are oppressed.

    I will not watch another NFL game. I hope the league goes bankrupt. I will spend my time pursuing education, hobbies, fitness and self improvement.

    I will be very selective about my TV viewing. Political liberals like Whoopie Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Colbert and really most of Hollywood will not get my dollar or support. I will not ever watch an award show where they self eulogize and disrespect those who disagree with their politics.

    So, thank you for the opinion piece. I will be the better for it.

    • comments October 3, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Wow, I actually like this comment and mostly agree

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