I watched a documentary last night about the Alabama/Auburn rivalry and was sickened by some of the statements that were made. Couples have reported that it puts strains on marriages, which was pretty upsetting but one statement was particularly upsetting. An Alabama fan said that when his team lost, it felt like "somebody stuck a fist inside my chest and ripped out my heart." GIVE ME A BREAK! Heartbreak? Are you kidding me? At that point, I could not watch any more and turned off the TV. Let me tell you about what a tragedy really is. How about dealing with a serious chronic illness? Losing a loved one? Seeing your wife leave you for another man? All of these are indeed tragedies and should cause heartbreak. If you equate a game to anything like that, you have some serious mental issues. I'm no fan of psychologists but someone who allows the outcome of a game to dictate your happiness, you're mentally ill and need to get well. This is not intended to anti-Alabama in any way. The same thing happens in New York/Boston with the Yankees/Red Sox. I once heard a Steeler fan say that when the team loses, it ruins his whole week. Even the talk show host said: "Get a grip buddy!"
I suppose that I could understand such fanaticism if you have a close personal friendship with some of the players but most fans of major college and professional teams have no such relationship with any of the players. The only time I did know the players was in high school and I actually rooted against my own school because most of the players were a bunch of jerks who insulted cross-country runners. Okay, now somebody explain how your life is so much better when your favorite team is winning? Can it help you get a job or get a raise?
With all the hell I've been through, I'm certainly not going to let the outcome of a game determine my happiness. Every day that I am chemically stable is a good one. I've had some irritating things happen at work recently but I won't even let that get me down. I have been pretty much chemically stable for 7 weeks. My friends, THAT is indeed something worth celebrating.
My Clemson Tigers have a pretty rabid fan base and had been contending for a national title through 8 games. I'll watch the games with interest. When they win, I'm glad but I'm not going to use it as an excuse to get drunk and act like an idiot. When they lose, there may be a bit of sadness that evening but I'm not losing any sleep over it and I'm over it by the morning. I know that my problems won't be going away if they win nor will they get any worse if they lose.
As for the NFL this year, I have a few comments:
It's been an interesting season so far. I'm glad to see historically weak teams like Houston, Cincinnati and Detroit contending this season. 12 of the 16 AFC teams still have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. I am surprised at how the Colts have gone from a perennial contender to a bunch of scrubs seemingly due to losing their star quarterback. Speaking of which, I think it's a bad idea to trade Peyton Manning and put your future in the hands of a highly touted rookie. There's really no such thing as a can't miss prospect at the QB position. In fact, first round picks have about a 50/50 chance of long-term success. Remember that people thought JaMarcus Russel and Matt Leinart were "can't miss." Not only do you need extraordinary talent and work ethic to be successful, you must be in an offensive system best suited to your skill set and be surrounded by talent both at the line and the skill positions.
One last comment that I have relates to the Tim Tebow affair. Critics said that he could never succeed in the NFL before he even threw a pass. How do you know until you give him a fair chance? Obviously, he needs to improve his accuracy but he's produced a lot of touchdowns with few turnovers. Michael Vick also completed under 50 percent of his passes as a rookie and nobody called him a bust. Tebow is unlikely to put up big numbers and throw for 300 yards per game but he's capable of 100 on the ground and he's shown that he can be a winner at this level. Some people were actually rooting for him to fail because he's an outspoken evangelical Christian. I don't air my religious views on this blog (see my Main Website for that) but such a viewpoint is bigoted. Pure and simple. One quote was that "his imaginary friends in the sky can't help him in the pros." Can you imagine if anyone insulted a Muslim player like that? In conclusion, yes I'm rooting for Tebow and may invest a bit of emotion in his success but that's because I admire him as a person, not just as a football player. What I do not want to see is sadness about the outcome of a game when you have no real reason to care about the players on a personal level.