A thought after last night’s basketball disaster for Tarheel fans; I’m sure Notre Dame fans are ecstatic.
The better team last night won the ACC college basketball tournament, and I know certain avid UNC fans who’re still feeling bad, and may continue feeling bad for a few days. Â In grad school at Carolina in the late ’60s I very slowly became a fan of Dean Smith’s character, coaching style, and fabulously successful teams. Â I became more passionate as the Dean-decades passed, and much more so from regularly watching and listening for about a year in the mid-’80s with a small group of passionate undergrad fans. Â Now-a-days I rarely watch games, have to work at learning the current players’ names and exploits, Â and wouldn’t recognize them if I saw them on the street. Â I do listen and enjoy UNC basketball on the radio, especially to big rivalry games [Duke, etc], progressively more as the season reaches a climax in the winner-take all tournaments.
I’ve read that picking a sports team that wins a lot & following them with passion is actually a very useful mental health practice. Â It helps focus positively the passion that everyone can have, by being Â passionate about something of no deep importance, rather than suffering through passionatelyÂ melodramatizing Â important stuff in your life, like Relationships, the part of fortune, loss. etc. Â Like many new practices, it can seem artificial at first, but keep practicing, especially in the company of others who’re passionate about that team/activity. Â It’ll become more and more natural, help you feel connected to other people/ practitioners, and lean the balance of energy in your life more toward the positive.
For a surprising demonstration how just two minutes practice of an archetypical “Power” posture can change your life see a TED talk by Amy Cuddy, PhD. Â I accidentally put in the video rather than the link.
For an in-depth discussion of passion and how to capture and strengthen it, see Greg Levoy’s fine new book Vital Signs: the Nature and Nurture of Passion,