Friday, July 8, 2011

emotional investment

Typically, I divorce myself from legal concerns related to sports. I don't bother during the off season to see who is a free agent and who my teams "might get". I won't know who will be playing for the Red Sox until opening day and it may take a few weeks for me to distinguish a Scutaro from a Lowrie (two shortstops for the Red Sox). Line 'em up, start the games, then I will start to follow the sport.

However, with the NFL lockout I find that I am interested. I am not at all concerned with the nuances of the dispute and how much the players might get from this revenue stream or that. I am concerned to see that they settle it. I look through the newspaper daily to see if there might be an article suggesting a looming settlement. On the sports websites I frequent I will click on NFL to see if they are any closer to opening the doors. I will even switch to the NFL channel when I am surfing to hear if there is any news.

I have no financial investment in football. I don't sell tickets, popcorn, own a parking lot near the stadium, or play linebacker. I have an emotional investment. And I am not alone.

It is an interesting concept--emotional investment. We tend to consider investment planning in terms of dollars. Fidelity has a long running campaign about how customers seeking to invest for retirement should follow a plan that will lead them to comfort. This is important, no doubt. Financial security is only irrelevant when you have it.

But emotional investments are as important. So I want the NFL to start, because I like following sports. I have an emotional attachment to my teams such that I feel happier when they win. If we feel this way about our teams or avocations, doesn't it follow that we all have a good deal of emotional capital that can be wisely or unwisely invested. Emotion, I once wrote, runs the show. Only sometimes we do not respect its importance sufficently so we consciously or otherwise throw our precious emotional capital away like some frivolous gambler who places $100,000 on a horse that shouldn't even be in the race.

For all of us--not just those who find themselves happy when their teams win, or those who will want to pop a beverage when the NFL strike ends--all of us have to respect the value of our emotional capital and invest wisely.

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