The emotional investment that I started paying some four decades ago has taken its toll. To be sure, there have been dividends; tremendous moments of joy, of happiness, bathing in the glory of a team victory, feeling that my unconditional loyalty has somehow allowed me to share in the celebration. I believe that my loyalty has earned me that right.
But by the same
token, this loyalty, this emotional investment that I willingly pay on a
seasonal (if not daily) basis has indeed taken its toll. The losses have hurt
too much. I have let them take the fun out of being a fan. They haunt me for too
long, lingering like some dark cloud, following me around all day on Monday,
killing my spirit. Heck, I don't even enjoy the game all that much until I am
certain that our team is going to win. That's fun? There has to be a better way.
After last year's playoff exit against the evil Patriots, I was livid. I was enraged. I was disappointed, disgusted, disenchanted, disillusioned and bitter; very bitter; extremely bitter.
Did I mention that I
was feeling a little bitter?
I didn't like
carrying this anger and bitterness with me after a couple of days, and finally
made the decision that this was going to change. I decided that I needed to take
a step back and gain some perspective. I needed to learn that the sun did come
up on Monday morning. I needed to realize that having this dark cloud linger,
carrying this ugly baggage around, did not make me a better fan; it just made me
less of the person that I wanted to be.
As with most other changes, recognition was the key. I was already there. I had grown tired of this behavior, knew it had to change, knew that it was no fun.
It was supposed to be
fun. It had to become just that.
We had a mental health professional join us on our Sunday evening show a couple of weeks after that playoff loss. I knew a number of fans who, just like me, took the losses way too hard, and I wanted to gain some insight from this therapist. I discovered that it was, after all, about gaining perspective, about recognition, about the realization that it was just a game, that life did go on, that there were plenty of more games to be played, plenty of more perfect autumn afternoons to watch our beloved Colts. And the sun always did come up on Monday morning.
And if you opened
your eyes and sat up, it was a good day, no matter what happened on a football
field a day earlier. My old high school football coach was fond of saying that.
He was right.
Does this make me any less of a fan? No, actually it makes me a better fan.
I will still talk
Colts football with you until you grow tired of it. I will still get that same
feeling each and every time that I walk into the dome. I will still get that
sense of my history every time I walk the streets of Baltimore, looking for the
ghosts from my childhood. My ears will always perk up whenever someone mentions
Unitas, Manning, Berry, Harrison, Moore, James, or any of the other names that
mean so much to me. Names that have been, and still are a large part of who I
am; names that I carry with me; names that I will admit, are, and always will be
magical to me.
The emotional investment is still there. It is way too late for me to change that. And football is more than "just a game." And anyone who knows me will tell you that the Colts are so much more than just a football team to me.
It was important to me that I became a good fan. It's supposed to be fun.
And now it is. Email me at email@example.com.
I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and concerns. You can listen to Jersey Johnny talk about the Colts and sports from 6-8 pm
Sunday nights. Click
this link to his page at WIBC and bookmark it as you can listen to his
broadcast through WIBC's website.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and concerns.
You can listen to Jersey Johnny talk about the Colts and sports from 6-8 pm Sunday nights. Click this link to his page at WIBC and bookmark it as you can listen to his broadcast through WIBC's website.