Monday, February 06, 2006

Watching As A Hobby

Watching can be a hobby. While it definitely is a less physical hobby than others, such as hiking, it can be valuable nonetheless. Sometimes, too, there is little option. If you do not play football, then watching it is a close second and definitely counts as a hobby.

If you are interested in a spectator hobby, there are some ways that you can get into it. First decide what you like to watch. No, that does not mean decide this very moment. It means take some time. Sit down and think about what you enjoy. Then watch a little of it. I was surprised when I discovered that watching tennis on television is not as terribly boring and ridiculous as I had imagined it would be. Instead I enjoyed it - not as much as I enjoy playing it but I enjoyed it anyway.

Pick a team and follow them. Or pick no team and follow a league. I do both, and it is great fun. I grew up watching college football, and the University of Georgia is my team. Now, though, I watch the National Football League with my husband. Although I cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals, I do not care for most teams over the others. So I watch what goes on in the league and keep up that way. Either way is fun and can be a great way to meet people.

If you do not want to become an NFL or college basketball junkie, try some lesser-known sports. You can watch lacrosse, for example. Even women's soccer, though it has become more popular in recent years because of Mia Hamm and the World Cup, is not as popular at high schools and colleges as other sports. Watching these sports has several advantages. First, you can get tickets more easily because you are not competing with 200,000 other people who want to see the same game in person. Second, you can get the tickets for less money. There is a more personable atmosphere surrounding these games, and you often feel more like a participant than a spectator.

Other watching hobbies include bird watching and beachcombing. These hobbies are essentially the same basic idea. With bird watching, you will need to invest in a good pair of binoculars and a bird identification book. Go to a state park or other good outdoor area and begin watching. You will see birds in their natural habitats, and though it may not sound exciting, many people find it fascinating. You can bring bird-watching to you by putting up various bird feeders and houses in your yard.

If you are going to beach comb, you will need to live near the beach (or enjoy this hobby only occasionally). Spend some time looking down. Find shells and other objects and then identify them. You can create displays with them or simply watch.

Films are another area where you can turn watching into a hobby. If you like Japanese culture, for instance, there are plenty of ways to get into Japanese film. You can start by watching a few of the movies. Then if you want to move beyond watching, you can take a film class or read books about the moviemaking and what goes into it. This hobby can turn into something that you really enjoy and about which you are knowledgeable.

Finally, cultural events are a watching hobby that also are educational. You can go to plays, operas, other musicals, concerts, and a host of cultural events where you will be able to watch people perform their crafts while you enjoy the message and the ideas.

These ideas are only a few of the watching hobbies that you can take on for yourself. Do not let this list be exhaustive for you. There are watching hobbies from people watching to dog races to horse races to car races. Take some time to find what interests you and then make it a part of your life. There is no reason that you cannot make watching something you enjoy a bona fide part of your life. Check it out. You may surprised at what you can learn when you try out a new watching hobby.

By Julia Mercer

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