We are just a few days removed from the anniversary of 9/11. Someone mentioned on Facebook how all the TV networks covered the aftermath 24/7 and cable networks went dark, I remember the days of television being 24/7 coverage of the recovery efforts and stories of the day. I remember for a time it was necessary. I also remember a point where I voiced the opinion on a listserv that I thought it was time for the 24/7 coverage to stop and for entertainment television to return. I also remember someone writing back an angry response calling me insensitive. I still stand by my thought at the time that it was better for people to have the distraction of random television shows if they so chose.
We are now in the middle of a pandemic. There are massive fires out west. There is social unrest. In the midst of this we also have NBA basketball, NFL football, MLB baseball and the US Open. There was a article in the paper recently where the columnist implied that no one really cared about sports these days and that it was all just background noise. He is probably right that many people don’t care about sports. Many people didn’t care about sports before the pandemic and they wasn’t start now. There are some people who probably used to care about sports who now don’t. There are some like me who do care if their team wins and loves having sports back. Even if it is just background noise isn’t that important as well?
When we were in lockdown and I was working from home all day I would have the news on in the background. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was not healthy for me. I switched over to game shows and once the NBA started I had that on in the background while I worked. I needed a break from the stress of the news. I’ve binged shows on Netflix. We are catching up on shows we had on the DVR. I’m watching and caring about sports. I still read the newspaper every morning and I watch the morning news. I check my state’s Covid numbers every day. I’m not ignoring the news. I just find things to take my mind off the stress of all of the bad news.
Distraction isn’t insensitive. It’s a vital mental health need.