Here comes ‘Cheeseheads’

How do you think Green Bay Packers fans will be portrayed in the cable TV show by that name that debuts this fall? Once the cameras roll, “reality” likely will turn to “over the top” and viewers will be saying, “Golly, Martha, look at those crazy Wisconsin people.”

I’m a modest football fan, Badgers mainly. But I’m always amazed at how my otherwise intelligent friends spend (waste) so much time between games talking about each trivial aspect of the game: the players, the coaches, the strategy, and on and on.

Long ago I forced myself to admit that when my team wins, it in no way reflects on me personally. Likewise, when it loses, there is nothing I could have done to prevent that loss. That includes giving my opinion on talk shows, writing letters to the editor, volunteering advice to the coaches, cheering more loudly, or wearing some outlandish outfit to the game. To soothe my disappointment, I have to realize that while I had nothing personally to do with the loss, neither does that loss affect me, my family, or my career.

At a conference I attended last month, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was the luncheon speaker. Someone in the audience asked the 37-year-old athlete what he planned to do once his NFL days are over. He replied that he really doesn’t think about that because he feels it’s his obligation to focus 100% on his team and his employer. He drew a laugh when he added, “I hear guys in the locker room talking about some business deal they’re going to do after the season, and I think, ‘Hey, they’re not doing all that great with the job they have now.’”

So do you think Peyton would advise his ardent fans to “get a life” and limit the time they spend obsessing over Broncos trivia? Would he tell them they should focus on things that would improve their family’s life, such as studying, thinking about the business that provides their paycheck, or even painting that hallway closet?

The fans’ wish to vicariously share in their team’s success doesn’t apply only to football. I’ve found myself watching Steve Stricker, only to see him miss an easy putt just after I tune in. Thinking I jinxed him, I leave the TV for a while and when I come back he’s doing just fine. It’s absurd, of course, to think that Stricker’s game is affected by whether I am watching or not. That would not be logical.

But sports fans aren’t necessarily logical, and it’s more fun to approach their team’s fortunes emotionally. Peyton Manning may be one of the few who approach sports from a logical perspective. But of course he’s one of the few who actually does personally affect the success of his team.

Football season is closer than you think, so polish up your cheesehead and look forward to enjoying the games for what they are: games.



My new favorite app

It’s Pacer, a pedometer for the smart phone. It counts your walking steps, I assume by counting jolts of the phone’s accelerometer rather than by the GPS, which would measure distance traveled by all modes.

I’ve set a goal of 8,000 steps per day, which is totally arbitrary. I’m not sure if that’s the best target, but the assumption is that more steps are better for the heart and body. The app really does provide motivation. I find myself taking stairs rather than escalators, for example. The app provides a graph of the last week’s activity and it’s easy to see that a typical day in the office is less heart-healthy than a day filled with out-of-office meetings. A travel day, walking airport concourses rather than riding the moving walkways, provides the most steps of all. And if I see I have to get my average up, I can always mow my lawn again — that racks up a quick 7,000 steps.

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine – your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.