What do we do when our team is playing? Are you the strong and silent “do not disturb me unless it’s with pertinent statistics” type? Are you the “everyone wearing my colors gets a high five” type?” Do you watch it at home or at the sports bar? Do you make specific plans to watch your game that take precedence over any items in your day planner? Is your life on hold until the last out or the final whistle?
Well then you’re a fan. A beautifully obsessed fan. And don’t you ever feel ashamed of it.
Folks that truly love sports often feel the need to defend themselves to others. Every sitcom that has ever been on television has had a Wife’s Upset Because The Husband Is Missing Something To Watch The Big Game episode. And as trite as the recycled jokes are, they are a constant reminder of the division between Sports Fan and Sports Bystander. I don’t believe this division can ever be fully bridged, so I put the call out to all of you to stop trying. Your friends and loved ones will either get it or they won’t.
Accept the fact that folks with think that you’re weird for wearing your lucky (and unwashed) shirt every Saturday, or spending twenty minutes in a costume store looking for the proper hue of face paint, or debating your friends endlessly on whether to get beef ribs or babybacks for a tailgate that is months away. You’re just as odd to them as they and their non-caring ways are to you.
On Saturday night, I left a birthday party to sit in my car and listen to the last five minutes of the Boston College/Clemson game. Two of my friends (a diehard Spurs fan and a well-informed Pats/Sox fan) came out there to join me – they knew the struggle. One of them held my hand as Clemson lined up for the game-tying field goal. They cheered along with me when it fell short. My mother called me thirty seconds later to congratulate me. These are folks that get it. Many folks do not.
Trying to talk someone into being a sports fan is like trying to convert someone to your religion. It is ugly, exhausting and likely futile. As right as you believe you are for wanting to pull for your team on your couch with your buddies instead of going to a family reunion two states over (or a neice’s ballet recital or to look at new drapes or whatever), you’re not going to gain a convert. Folks either get it or they don’t.
So, obsessors, be proud of who you are but realize at the same time you are not always going to convince others you’re entirely sane. Oh well, what they heck do the doubters know anyway? Some are just oblivious to the wonders of competition.
Keep the struggle alive, fellow fans. And Go Team!