I write these words moments after my beloved New York Jets came up just short of the Super Bowl for the second straight year. I am legitimately depressed right now. After just staring into space for the past 30 minutes, wondering what went wrong and going through all the “what if” scenarios of this game, I decided to vent my frustrations by writing this blog post.
Throughout the game, my emotions went on a wild roller coaster ride. I went from despair (Jets trail 24-0 in 2nd quarter), to hope (Jets cut the lead to 24-10), to excitement (Jets have 1st and goal, trailing 24-10), to frustration (Jets get stuffed at the goal line thanks to retarded play-calling), to unbridled enthusiasm (Jets get safety and TD to make it 24-19) to devastation (Steelers run out the clock to win the game).
It was a crazy ride that left me mentally exhausted—and I’m certainly not alone. Millions of football fans across the country experienced these same swings of emotion today. No matter what the sport, die-hard fans have these strong feelings for their team throughout the year. Few things in life can conjure up such uninhibited emotions like sports can.
And this begs the question? Why do we care so much? Why are sports fans like myself so passionate about it? Think about how silly it really is…
Why I am so passionate about watching a bunch of guys whom I’ve never met, play a game? Why am I so concerned about the success of a team just because they happen to play their home games in a city that is relatively close to where I live? Why do I want to punch out the front-running Steelers fans that are scattered throughout the country and will inevitably talk trash to me tomorrow?
There are so many more important things to concern myself with. I have a job and wife and lots of other important responsibilities. There are bad things happening every day that are much worse than my favorite team losing a silly game. Yet, few things in life get me this riled up.
I’ve thought about this question for a while, even before this loss, and I really don’t have an answer. I don’t know why I care so much. I don’t know why people go so crazy over a game. Why can’t I just watch the game for what it is? It’s supposed to be entertaining—like seeing a Broadway musical, or watching a movie. If a movie or a musical doesn’t live up to the hype, I don’t beat myself up over it. So why do I beat myself up after a tough loss, and on the flip side, why do I get so high if my team wins?
As a sports fan, the odds are against you. There are around 30 teams in every professional sports league. Only one team can win it all each year. The fans of the other 29+ teams end the season with disappointment. Some fans go their entire lifetimes without seeing their favorite team win a title (see every Chicago Cubs fan alive today). Why put ourselves through so much pain? Are we all masochists?
I sometimes wish I didn’t care about sports. I seriously think my life would be better. I would have more time on my hands. No more wasting three hours watching a meaningless baseball game in August, or killing an entire Sunday watching football. I’d probably read more, exercise more and maybe even spend more time with Mrs. Sacks. I’d probably have a more fulfilling life and I probably would be a lot happier.
Yet here I am, as upset as can be after the Jets managed to disappoint me once again. But even though I question my passion for sports now, I know I will be back here next year, rooting hard for that elusive championship once again.
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