Monday, May 5, 2008

To those of you who "get it...."

It's Friday night -- let's say like 10:30pm. You just finished up your week and you're heading out to the bar with a bunch of people who in all likelihood don't really comprehend what it is you're going through. If you're like me, you've spent the better part of life after high school searching for the select few in this world who get why your face is hidden behind a disgusting wall of hair.

Most won't understand that it isn't really a beard, and it isn't the result of a three week coke binge, hacking away at every redeeming quality your soul has to offer. You didn't lose a bet, and you're not protesting against the sale of South African apartheid diamonds. They probably think that the stench fuming off your body like wood chips in a sawmill is from the three week old masterpiece on your face. You're too ashamed to say in public that it's from your socks and underwear which haven't been changed (let alone washed) since you clinched the division with that win over Chicago.

Finally, even after the bud light and Jameson has settled in, you still refuse to sit in the booth to the right of the little stage where the bar hosts live music every Thursday after happy hour. It doesn't matter that all of your friends are being forced to stand in the middle of the dance floor where the local trash is grinding up on the rest of the local trash. Your buddy almost got in a fight with one of them for looking at some girl the wrong way. He's your best friend though, and he's probably the one guy you're with who gets that it's absolutely necessary to avoid that booth at all costs. If you were to sit there, you're going to blow the lead again just like last week and the guilt is just too heavy to carry all the way to free agency. No real friend would put another friend in a position like that.

I'm off course referring to the nonsense that every nonsensical sports fans imposes on themselves during the unbearably difficult period that is the post season. You ever try explaining to a girl or some hippie weirdo why you have empty beer cans lined along the perimeter of your apartment? I swear man, even the most asinine characters I've come to know have suggested therapy when they've witnessed the shit I've pulled during the playoffs. The thing about attending a massive, universally known sports school like I do is that there's a unprecedented mix of people within the community. In my first year way back in 2003 (pathetic I know), I met people from Ohio, Michigan, California, Texas and North Carolina within the first 48 hours after move-in. Each of them had their own culture, their own stories, and most importantly, they all had their own sports loyalties which I was eventually forced to accept.

And when you do that, when you submerge yourself into a lifestyle filled with people from all over the country, it's nearly impossible to find those passionate about your teams the way you are (this is excluding the school's football and basketball teams, of course). You seclude yourself from the rest of your world. Everything shuts down. Everyone who had become the make-up of your social life are now barely visible beneath the shadows cast from a championship trophy so close you can smell it.

There's a writer on this blog right now who is going through this very process. He realizes that none of us really give a damn about his team under normal circumstance, but know we will support him during these heart-wrenching times -- either that or continuously remind him how his favorite player is a pussy-ass diver, fishing for penalties and afraid of contact. It's a give and take situation.

But that's how it is, and that's just fine with me. I went through this process during the Giants Superbowl run a few months ago, and I'm telling you, the amount of attention I got from people, both negative and positive, will forever shape the way I treat others during their favorite team's most treacherous times. For those of you who reminded me how utterly undefeatable the Pats were... I just hope we aren't friends when you're heading into a deciding game -- I can't afford the medical bills.

To this day, I still have a hard time understanding how the outrageous things we do effect the outcome of these games (and yes, I've given up trying to explain it -- I just know it's true). How the fuck does a beard, or fuck it, a mustache make the puck slide off a hockey player's stick with better crisp and accuracy?

Remember when Oprah was pitching that book The Secret, which claimed that there has been "a secret" known by successful people for literally thousands of years? -- that if you identify what you want, and use the metaphysical world to channel your energy, you can create a tangible, positive effect on your own life? I used to look at the whole concept as the ultimate sucker-punch on the impressionable American public, but who the fuck knows? Maybe there's some truth to it. Maybe if you want something so God Damn bad enough you can turn it into a reality. I mean, let's be honest. The Giants had no business beating the Cowboys or Packers, let alone the Patriots. It's obvious that the beard I sported for five weeks did something to Tom Brady's ankle and Eli Manning's heart. I don't think I have special powers or anything because I've seen it work with other sports fans, too. Some hot shot scientist who's had Laker's season tickets for the last 30 years needs to lobby for more funding to study this topic. There's got to be others like me who wants to stop guessing with their superstitions and start taking a more choreographed approach.

We're fans. We're the reason they play the game, yada yada yada -- but part of me likes to think we're a little more than that. Each and every year, multi-million dollar, freakishly gifted athletes take the court, or the ice, or the field and put their bodies on the line on a regular basis. You're telling me that these guys don't have the ability to channel out the crowds and play relatively the same no matter where they are? The fans are clearly doing something, otherwise there'd be absolutely no way to explain the significantly better home records across the board in every sport.

It's in our in voices. It's in our socks. It's in our beards, and it's in our hearts. Keep doing all the bullshit you guys do. If you support the notion that you're just a fan and not really a part of the game, then you and I will never quite connect. If you support the notion that "the 12th Man" is more than just a concept, then you and I need to have a beer and watch the game. There are few out there quite like us.

1 comment:

Coach Pops Chambers said...

Example--Iwler and I sat in the same seats and got a case of Iron City bottles and KFC before each Steeler game during their 2005 championship run. We did it for the Wild Card game against the Bengals and continued against the Colts, Broncos, & Seahawks (which by the way is the only team in NFL history to beat the 1,2,3 seeds--all away games-- in their own conference and the #1 of the opposing conference). Iwler also sat in the same position on the couch for those 4 games. I think Perilstein is involved in this somehow, but I am having selective memory.