“It’s only a game”


So last night was Bears vs Packers. To say it had been on my mind for most of the previous seven days doesn’t do it justice. All day yesterday it was nearly all I could think about. Not just the game itself, but everything leading up to it. Who would I ask over, what food would I make, do I have enough liquor in my kitchen, is my place even clean enough for guest, etc.

Then the Packers lost.

End of the game I texted one of my friends and said it’s a good thing my friends were leaving because I was on the verge of murdering someone. Her reply was, “Relax. It’s just a game”.

Yea, but…but….

She was right. In the immediate aftermath of the game I was equal parts disgusted, disappointed, stun(ned), and upset. Then I read her text, thought about it for a moment, and I sort of had this calm come over me. In the greater scheme of things, what happened last night wasn’t the end of the world. I didn’t rush to the internet to read and share reactions. I didn’t call anyone to bitch about the coaching or the bad calls or the fumble. I basically let it go and turned on a movie.

In retrospect, I’m not certain I like that.

I know that being so passionate about something like an NFL game, or sports in general, isn’t a good look. I don’t like talking with strangers in the bar about the Packers. I would rather not debate Ted Thompson or the Brewers when I’m at a party where people are within earshot. I don’t consider it a badge of honor that I could tell you stats from years ago or tell you what some DB ran at the combine in ’06.

But sports has always been one of my big interests, and since blogs, comment areas and message boards took over the internet it’s become increasingly easy to debate and discuss not only sports, but whatever you wish. With all this discourse comes a sense that you’ve invested part of your life to the game itself. You’ve spent so much time reading and writing about it that when the game finally ends, you feel legit emotions one way or another.

I thought about it today. Looking back at last night I felt a range of emotions that I rarely get to experience at any other time. Anxiousness, nervousness, outrage, contentment, elation. It comes with being diehard fan. I still don’t buy excessive amounts of team gear, I don’t mix it up with other fans, and I’m not some asshole like fucking Fireman Ed. He’s a loser.

But when I hear, “It’s just a game” I can acknowledge that she’s right. It is only a game. It’s a game played by athletes being paid millions who have no idea who I am and probably don’t even care about the game they play as much as I and others like me do.

But I keep coming back to the emotions a game like last night brings out. Isn’t that a good thing? Don’t you want to feel that way every once in a while? Doesn’t that make life just a little bit better? Doesn’t the low you go through after a tough loss make the high after a huge win all the more sweeter? If I were being honest, I would say I feel sorry for people who don’t care for sports. I feel pity for those who don’t feel that range of emotions on a regular basis. Or at least every weekend in the fall.

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