Why do I even bother watching sports? That was the question I posed to myself this past Sunday. It is the question I think every person who has ever been a fan of some team activity has asked themselves. Why do I even bother?
I mean, I’m a nerdy guy, into nerdy things. My Dad isn’t really a kick back and watch football type guy. Somehow I managed to claim that part of “being a guy” (whereas I don’t know anything about a car’s engine or how to build something with my hands or why you need a Phillips Head screwdriver). I gravitated towards it, and now…
It seems like every year MY TEAMS are the ones who cannot quite “get over the hump”. We (because it is always “we” even if “I” only sit on my couch yelling at the TV) scuffle and struggle to gain some small measure of mediocrity and then fall on our faces any way. And all the while those teams whom you hate… well, they are having the season of seasons.
This is where those of you reading it begin to go through the mental Rolodex of your own teams. You haven’t won anything in 20 years, 50 years… over 100 years. And I hear you.
But I’m lamenting me right now. 🙂
In Poker there is something players try to call on: “One Time”. It is their own personal plea to the “Poker gods” to either help better their own hand or keep their opponent from beating them. However, the key to this, so the superstition goes, is that you only get ONE “one time” during a tournament. So you better pick your spot, as you’ll be swiftly punished for not obeying the rules.
Well that thought colors my watching baseball, basketball, and football. And time and time again I’m considering calling for my team’s “one time” to dig deep and find a way to pull it out. But the small bit of magic you wished for your own team was wasted in week 2. Yet, those other guys (your rivals, i.e. the “bad guys”), they rely on their skills until the absolute last second. Never wasting the magic until ever other option has been extinguished.
So instead I suffer defeat after defeat while other fans continue to find ways to celebrate their team’s successes. I hold onto the one Championship I can claim (1995 Atlanta Braves), but also lament that may be the one season I watched the least amount of the team. The one year I did not live and die with every pitch. In my defense I was still figuring out this whole college/co-op thing, but a true fan would have made time. We won and I was happy, but didn’t get that… well, what I have to believe is an all-consuming, unrelenting joy from the victory. I’m pretty sure I still don’t know what feeling I should have gotten, but it doesn’t taste the same… of that I’m sure.
At the end of every season there is one fan base ecstatic and 31 others who think “well, maybe next year”. But as we’re fond of saying in my house:
When do I get to see the god-damn sailboat?
I complain and bitch and threaten to break things and wonder if someone is cheating and can’t understand how the ref missed another call and of course they want the other team to win and why is my team always being picked to lose in the big games and do we need a new coach and do we need a new quarterback (the answer to those is almost always YES unless you cheer for about one of 5 teams – across all sports).
When? Just let me know… when?
Maybe next year…
John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.
He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!
He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.