Monday, October 20, 2008
Is There Such Thing As a Nonmiserable Sports Fan?
I like to think I am a reasonably intelligent person. Maybe not the smartest guy in the room. But if I am experiencing some sort of pain or discomfort, I am a good enough problem solver to remedy the situation. If I walk face first into a closed door, I have the acumen to try turning the knob before smashing my face again. If my hand should come into contact with a hot stove top, it doesn't take me that long to remove it. Basically, I hope I have at least the common sense one could expect from an average lab rat. Push one button and get food, push another button and get a shock. It doesn't take long to figure out which button to push. And yet I predictably bash my face into the same locked door, over and over. Mixaphorically speaking.
At some moment in my life I decided to be a sports fan. If only I could take that decision back. It was a shit weekend for the three teams that I live and die with. The Red Sox made a valiant effort in climbing out of a 3-1 hole but in the end they lost to the damn, dirty Devil Rays in game 7. Although game 5 (Fenway is glorious) might have been the best baseball game I have ever seen. BYU’s football team pissed their pants and humiliated themselves against TCU. Quest for Perfection my ass. And the Utah Jazz’s point guard and best player Deron Williams had to be wheeled off the court of a preseason game with sprained ankle putting his availability for the opening of the season in question.
If I were as smart as a lab rat, I would recognize that there is a source of pain in my life and then make the appropriate decisions to relieve myself of that pain. I would stop pushing the button that shocks me time and again. I would realize how foolish it is to emotionally invest in something that I have no control over. I would stop handing my happiness over to a bunch of athletes who have no idea who I am. But somehow, the more they hurt me the more I love them.
It really is a dysfunctional relationship. I am Tina and my teams are Ike. And just like Ike and Tina, the good times do not compensate for all the crap. Yeah, BYU bought me some nice flowers when they beat UCLA by 57. And the Jazz tell me, "You're beautiful, baby. I love you." every spring when they start the playoffs. But those moments of happiness and anticipation only make it all hurt that much more when they get drunk and beat the hell out of me. I tell myself they didn’t mean it. I say, “Yeah, they cut my heart out this time, but next year will be different.” But next year isn't different. It never is.
But even as I type this, I am still convinced that the Jazz will win the NBA title this year. Williams is a future Hall of Famer in his prime. Boozer and Memo are playing for contracts, so they should have career seasons. With AK coming off the bench and CJ starting that gives us the depth to beat the best teams in the west. Korver will finally settle in and consistently bomb it from outside. Brewer will continue his impressive rise. How could we not win the whole thing? John Hollinger on espn.com picked us to win the west. So it’s totally reasonable for me to make the “they must win it all this year or my life has no meaning” ultimatum with myself. Right? Ike loves me. He really does.
I need to have some sort of sports fan lobotomy. I need to surgically remove the irrational part of my brain that cares so much about this meaningless, stupid crap.
That or I need to man up and stop whining. When you accept the vicarious joy of victory, you also sign up for the heartbreak. If I am going to leap off the couch in genuine glee when Deron Williams hits a pull up three pointer in Kobe Bryant’s face, then integrity demands that I feel like shit when the Lakers win the series in six. But like I said, the highs don’t compensate for the lows. It’s a losing, abusive relationship. Stay clear at all costs.