Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Vicious Cycle

For the first time this year, the football teams I root for both lost. Michigan to Iowa and the Lions to New York. Normally, losses to two very good teams would just be a bummer. But after the start the Wolverines had, and the performance of the Lions last week, I expected more. I wanted more. Hell, I needed more.

Investing personally in the performance of 18-23 year old college students and millionaire NFL players is a dangerous proposition, but isn't that what being a fan is all about?

Fanatical is defined as A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause. Unreasoning enthusiasm sounds about right. Yelling, complaining, and cursing are perfectly normal reactions to many happenings.  Bang your thumb with a hammer? Let loose an unprecedented stream of curse words. Get cut off in traffic and get stuck at that extra slow red-light? Complain as loud as you can to the invisible passenger sitting next to you. Watch a Michigan DB get another face mask penalty? Watch Cliff Avril draw another personal foul? Watch back to back kickoffs sail out of bounds? See Fox show a close up of Drew Stanton warming up on the sideline? What is a reasonable response to these travesties? 


For me, anything short of going DeNiro in The Fan is within the realm of possibility.  I have cursed. I've thrown things. I've turned off my cell phone to ignore texts. I believe on September 24, 1994, I ran outside and starting crying. One would think that in the 16 years since then, I would have learned to take these losses in stride. Not So Fast My Friend. With age comes wisdom, and knowing more about these games makes the tough losses worse.


Being a kid watching football, there is feeling that some things are just bound to happen. You don't realize that your team is getting dominated on the line of scrimmage, or that on 3rd and 10, you don't throw a 5 yard out to the TE. I say again, on 3rd and 10, you don't throw a 5 yard out to the TE. Maybe it's the internet. Maybe it's the amount of money these sports generate forcing the information to the forefront. Until about 2004 or so, I knew nothing of the players Michigan was recruiting. If they weren't playing prominent roles for the Wolverines, I knew nothing about them. But I can watch an NFL Draft and hear a guys name, and 95% of the time I know what college he attended, and 40% of the time, I can name his High School. So unreasoning enthusiasm is an understatement.  I got happy yesterday hearing that Michigan officially offered a junior in high school a scholarship. I was excited because I know he has strong interest in becoming a Wolverine, and not long after getting his driver's license, he is a talented athlete. Is it wrong for me to get excited about someone who won't contribute to my favorite school for another 3 years? Unreasonable to ask in my honest opinion.


So what does any of this have to do with the previous weekend? Nothing. Everything. These gentlemen have played 13 games combined. Both have suffered injuries, both serious and nagging. They need this bye week. I need this bye week. This will be the first weekend since August that I know for a fact that neither of my teams will lose. That sound you hear is me exhaling. I can go shopping on Saturday afternoon. I can do homework at 1:00 on Sunday. It's a glorious feeling. I used to look at bye weeks as an inconvenience. As a fantasy football player, it usually meant having to pick up a kicker or defense to fill in for my starter. This season however, it couldn't have come at a better time. I can use this time to catch up on some long neglected reading. I can finally clean out the spare bedroom that is still unusable due to clutter after 2 months. Maybe I will take up building those ships in the bottles. Either way, it's nice to have a break.


Or maybe I will study the Penn State defense, and see if they can make Denard beat them through the air. The vicious cycle continues.

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