This is for you hardcore NFL fans out there. You know who you are. The kind who want to buy their wives and side-chicks mink coats when their team wins and want to live in a cave like Gollum from Lord of The Rings when their team loses. I feel your pain but I refuse to join in your micro-struggle. I’m done. I’ve been done in fact for years now, and in a moment I’ll tell you why I’ll never go back to being what you are.
What are you? You’re crazy as hell, thats what you are. From the first week of September until the day your team is eliminated from playoff contention or eliminated from the playoffs in the postseason, your behavior is predictable. If your team wins you are confident that the world is aligned to all your hopes and dreams. You are giddy watching ESPN highlights later that evening or the next day. Your week is set. Your morning commute is a spirited drive on a congested parkway as you soak in all the local media love towards your team on the radio. You might even be tempted to call the local station and chime in yourself. You can’t wait to get to the office or the warehouse or the barber shop to rub your squad’s victory in the face of the traitorous fans who choose to root for your team’s longstanding rival. Suck it Steelers fans. Bite it Cowboys clowns. You wear your orange tie or your Denver Broncos baseball cap proudly that day. After work you watch the talking heads of sports on ESPN and Fox praise your team and you curse and laugh if they still doubt your boys. Are they high? The Skins won 31-21! What do you mean they have a weak secondary? The head coach is fine. Stop hating. You are as close as can be to sports Nirvana. I know you well. I see you coming when your team wins. I used to be just like you, but I am no longer that way for one simple reason: Your team is going to lose and the later they lose, the more it hurts.
I also know you when your team does not do so well. In the immediate aftermath of a loss many fans cannot stomach watching another NFL game that day, so if their team plays at 1pm and loses, and there is a game on at 4pm, they wont watch that second game. They probably wont watch the Sunday Night game either. It’s possible that if their team lost on Thursday night that they wont watch any games on Sunday or Monday night. Fortunately there are some good shows on Sunday nights in the fall, namely The Walking Dead, and you can always run to Walmart with the wife and the kids to kill time, or yourself. You can make it through that day fine perhaps, even though your football viewership has ended for the weekend.
The next day is when you realize how long 6 days are. 6 more days until the Skins play again. Forever and a day. During your morning commute you listen to pop songs and Reggae hits from the 90’s on Pandora instead of sports talk radio. You cannot bear to hear all the yapping about your team. When you arrive at work it gets worse. You know he’s there, but you try your best to avoid eye contact with the token Cowboys fan who wore his parade blue Troy Aikman jersey today. He taunts you to the point where you want to pummel him with a bag of needles or knock him out cold, despite the fact that you roasted him the exact same way a few weeks before when your team beat his. The difference this time is the present loss has all but assured your team will miss the playoffs. This game was a game your team had to win but like so many years before, they lost. Your team fought hard, but in the end, like so many times before, they choked.
This is why I can’t be like you. It was hard becoming NOT like you. I was lost for years. I tried not watching the games at all, but I love the sport too much to keep away. I thought about moving and adopting new teams, but my team here in Baltimore is actually pretty good compared to the many hopeless NFL franchises across the country. Then, one day in early September a friend called me and told me that the new NFL Redzone channel was on for free that day. All I had to do was tune in.
I was immediately reminded why I loved the game. I was reunited with the NFL as a whole, and divorced from a shotgun marriage to my local team. The Redzone does whip-around coverage of every team playing that day from 1pm-8pm. There are no commercials. There is just football. I found that I could listen to sports talk radio again without anger or bias and I could form objective, non-myopic opinions watching sports related debate shows (which I am addicted to). I was struggling but I am no more. I’m fine. I still check out my local team when they play prime time games, but otherwise I see them when they are in the redzone on channel 861, just like every other team playing that day.
I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life. I know I’m a bit of a douche for walking out on my marriage to my local squad, but I’m happier now, and in the end sports is entertainment. It should make me happy most of the time. It shouldn’t FEEL like a rocky marriage. It should feel like a mistress. 🙂
I’m just trying to help you with your little micro-struggles. Don’t mind me. Please scroll down and follow me and check out my Media page to find out where else on the web I’m lurking. Please also leave a comment. My advice to you is: take a year off from being a die hard fan and watch the Redzone channel. I think you might agree with me if you don’t see my point already.