I have been a fan of sports since I was old enough to watch. I love playing any sport, from football to racquetball to golf to pool and will play anytime. Things change as we get older and we start having responsibility and we have a family, a job, school, whatever it may be. What I have come to find out though, is as you get farther and farther away from your playing days, you start living and dying more and more with your favorite sports teams.
A little background on my favorite teams, as an Arizona native I am a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Phoenix Suns. College sports is where it gets a little sketchy, I was 6 years old and my dad had a year in sports 1991 video. I must have watched it 1,000 times, because I can name every major event from that year. Well, in this video were some memorable games and teams. The first part of the video was about college football, and that was the season of Wide Right I. I instantly fell in love with Florida St. (why I picked the losing team that year, I have no idea, but I did) also in that video was a recap of the Duke v UNLV NCAA championship, and again I picked the losing team as my favorite. Why I did this I have no idea, that is how kids think I guess.
Well, as I was going through school and playing sports I have run into my fair share of other athletic fans. My friend through school Matt, is a huge Notre Dame fan, and my other buddy Evan was a big Penn State fan. I for some unimaginable reason married into a family full of Notre Dame fans. My neighbors who are married are a Bears fan and a Packers fan. My buddy at work is a Redskins fan. Now, I list all these because I have noticed that being a true sports fan is like a fraternity, and I really think it is because we have invested so much into these teams now that we have no athletic outlet. I mean just take this weekend for example. Notre Dame lost to a pathetic 2-8 Syracuse team, and all night Saturday, and Sunday afternoon, there just wasn't the same pep in my families step. Well Florida St. pounded Maryland, and on top of that had a Rhodes Scholar on the field, (way to go Myron Rolle). Then Sunday came. I was able to steer clear of all human contact during the Cards-Giants showdown and went home and watched the game I had taped. After an hour of a grueling, gut-wrenching defeat, the rest of my day was shot. Why? I had no vested interest, I don't get paid to watch the games, I don't gain anything out of a victory, why did I feel like I was just punched in the stomach and had my lunch money taken by the school bully?
I came up with nothing, I have no idea why I get to the emotional highs and lows that I do. All I know that this is how my year goes from January to December every year:
January- The Suns are usually rolling along, and all I can think of is, "Is this finally the year we do it?" Duke basketball is anywhere from #1 to #10 in the country and I am gearing up to play the hated Tar Heels. Cardinals, generally I am looking at mock drafts to decide what position will best fill the numerous voids on the team I so love. Fla. St, usually playing in a January bowl, and I am just kicking myself that they always somehow find a way to lose to an inferior team or two and end up not playing for a Nation Title.
February- The Suns are still rolling, we get the entertainment of the All-Star break, and I am wondering when the Spurs are going to make their run, and when will the Lakers fans stop trying to convince everyone that Kobe is the greates of all time. Duke has either narrowly won or lost to North Carolina, and usually are getting ready for their #1 to #3 seed in the tourney. Cards, still trying to figure out if they should draft offensive line help, or get help in the defensive backfield.
March- Well, the Spurs are overtaking everyone with their boring, plod along game, and running off something ridiculous like a 10-15 game winning streak while my Suns are slowly starting to self destruct. Duke is usually bounced by a lower, less talented seed who just out hustles them in every facet of the game, and I lose all of my NCAA brackets again. Cards, only 1 more month til they find some way to screw up their draft..... again. And, finally, the only team to ever win a major sports championship are starting spring training.
April- Suns are starting to pick back up and finish the regular season up, but no one thinks that they can win in the playoffs, so I get even more revved up because I know that they are just going to prove everyone wrong. Cards draft someone who they shouldn't have in the first round, and pass on Adrian Peterson, or Jay Cutler, or any number of dominant young players in the game today. The DBacks are giving me hope that they will again be playing for a World Series title with a dominating rotation.
May- Suns, rip my heart out, throw it on the ground, spit on it, and then lose in the playoffs, and I feel like ending it right then and there.... then I realize, again I have no vested interest other than being a fan, but I still feel like a kid who just found out that Santa is not real, and have lost all reason for faith. Well, at least my DBacks are still playing well.
June- Damn, spoke too soon.
July- Thank God the all-star break is here, they can regroup and put a run together, maybe make a small deal and put themselves in position to make a strong playoff run.
August- Well that is what I get for loving a big market team with a small market payroll. As I watch the teams we are running neck and neck with make move after move, I sit and watch my team stand pat. Oh well, football season is gearing up, we have training camp battles, and I hear our offensive line won't be so... well offensive this year and we may be able to run the ball.
September- Why do I always set myself up for dissapointment, why do I always think that we can win it all, every year. Oh, and the Cardinals still suck. Well at least Florida St. is playing well with their young nucleus of players.
Ocotber- Of course, who doesn't want to see the Yankees and Red Sox play each other again, and why does the NL even get to put a team in the World Series. Cardinals are showing some life, this is good. Slow start, but we are making our way back. As for my Seminoles, well they somehow find a way to lose to a much lesser opponent, and again become irrelevant in the National Title picture. Oh well, the boys in Orange and Purple are back, and this is our year... I think.
November- Why oh why do I ever put any faith in the Cardinals, they are never able to sustain any sort of winning, why do I always do this to myslef. Florida St. knocked off two or three ranked teams, and again will be playing for the ACC title, I am interested to see what team shows up. Duke starts playing the Little Sisters of the poor, at least we will get some 90-30 scores early in the season. Here we go, the Suns are off baby!!!
December- Can the Cardinals ever put two or three good months in a row together, I mean seriously if we could ever play 5-6 games in a row well, we would not go 6-10 every year. And how exciting, we get to watch a 2 loss SEC team beat the crap out of an Undefeated Big-10 team, while my Seminoles are getting another top 10 recruiting class. Duke is rolling, and did I mention, The freaking Suns are off!!!!
Seriously people this is my life. 12 months straight of frustration and dissapointment with the teams I call my own. I have invested every ounce into them, and I quite frankly I am drained. Why do I do it? No idea, all I know is that investing all you have into your team, whether it be one or five or ten, is what being a fan is about. You know those people that are in the front row of games, they are like the chicks in the front row of a rock concert flashing the band, they are only there during the good times. You want to see a true fan, look in the upper deck in the corner in a horrible seat at the guy grinning ear to ear as he watches his team pull out another victory, or sulk out of his seat after another heart breaking defeat. These are fans, they live and die with their teams, and you know after a rough loss the only thing that will make them feel better is alcohol, and talking about how bad everything else sucks, just so they can bring everything down to the level of crappyness that we feel. This is being a fan, this is loving your team. This is why we watch sports. This is why we love sports.