So, my beloved Broncos apparently forgot there was a football game to be played yesterday.
Losing sucks, but it’s part of being a diehard fan. You have to take the lows with the highs. It hurts that I waited 15 years to see my team make it back to the Big Show, only to be rewarded with that performance. A more competitive game would have been easier to swallow. Instead, it was over 12 seconds in. Seriously, that opening snap (or lack thereof) just set the tone. There was an immediate, undeniable sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and it only spread as the minutes ticked by. Still, I love my team. This loss changes nothing.
I do want to take a moment to examine the culture of sports fandom, though. I promise it’ll be interesting, even if you don’t give a crap about football.
Leading up to the game, there was a lot of trash talking taking place. Especially on Facebook. Me? I refused to step into the fray. As passionate as I am about my team, and as confident as I felt, I never made a single disparaging remark about the opposition. I have too much respect for the Seahawks as an organization, and for the team they had assembled. “Any given Sunday” is a very true axiom. I wished my Seattle fans luck and told them the best team would win. Which is exactly what happened. There was no bragging in the weeks leading up to the game, and in fact, my lone post at all involved the fact that 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse, a fact I hoped was a good omen. (It turned out to be more like The Omen, but whatever). The point is, I chose to remain classy, and took the high road. It wasn’t always easy, considering I live in the Pacific Northwest, and there are a lot of Seahawks fans here. Even in Portland, which I’ll never quite understand. It’s not even the same state! Regional pride is a big thing. Because I was respectful of my friends, I expected the same in return.
Instead, before the game was even over…officially, anyway (because it was over long before it was over)…I started receiving gloating messages from a family member. A family member who lives on the East Coast, and who never talks to me. His tone was very “in your face.” He has no vested interest in the Seahawks (that I’m aware of, anyway). Instead, he seemingly felt the need to rub in my face the fact that my team had lost. For no apparent reason whatsoever. Had we discussed the game beforehand, or football in particular, or sports in general, I might have expected something from him. But we didn’t. So when he declared Peyton Manning a “choker” and said I “should have rooted for the hometown team,” I was caught off guard. First off, Peyton didn’t choke: it was a full-team effort rife with dropped passes, poorly executed running plays, etc. Second, if I do have a hometown, it’s Portland. See above. So I explained carefully that “I bleed orange and blue” and support my team through thick and thin. Only to find more sarcastic negativity posted to my FB feed. So, I called him out on it. Told him he was out of line, and that if the tables were turned, I wouldn’t give him a hard time or tear apart his team. Was I being overly sensitive? I don’t know. Maybe a little. But as a diehard fan, losing hurts, and I only want to be treated the way I treat others. Fair is fair. I felt better for standing my ground. And I got the following response from a friend.
I never understood the compulsion by sports fans to rub it in when their team won or my team lost. Last I checked, neither of us was on the field making the plays, ergo, we have no control of the outcome. With that being said, why do we feel the need to say “We kicked your ass!” No. You didn’t. Neither of us was on the field of play. Secondly, there’s not just sportsmanlike conduct by the players….the fans should respect the sport, as well. My team wins, I pat my buddy on the shoulder and tell him, hell of an effort and move on. My team loses, I shake my head and internalize the disappointment and hope that my friends show me the same respect. Seems I may be stepping into a personal matter, but thought I share my thoughts on this and let you know that I feel your pain. Consider this a slap on the shoulder and your boys gave it a hell of an effort.
We had invited a couple of friends over. One had prior plans, another cancelled at the last minute due to illness. Fortunately, I had also asked my neighbors if they wanted to stop by a couple days earlier, and they said that would be fun.
Here’s the thing: I have lived next door to these two for seven years. They moved in two months after I did, back in 2006. They’re a nice couple who have grown into a family of 4 during that time. I’ve considered them friends for a long time now.
And yet, this was the first time we’d ever had them over.
It’s just one of those things. We’d wave hello in passing, chat when we were both out back on our patios, borrow the occasional egg or cup of sugar from each other (though I seem to have done the majority of the borrowing over the years). We’d always say “we should have you over sometime,” but sometime never seemed to materialize. Life just got in the way, I suppose. Now that our “sometimes” are dwindling since we’ll be moving soon, I wanted to make a stronger effort to get to know them better before we left, and the Super Bowl turned out to be the perfect event. They came over right as the game was starting, and ended up staying nearly six hours. This was great, because not only did we have a blast, but they provided a nice distraction from the game for me. Had it been just Tara and I, I’d have been much grumpier than I was. Instead, we shared stories. And alcohol. We talked politics and religion and the paranormal and family life. We played with their kids. Their kids played with our cat. We played records. Tara danced with their 3 y/o son, who couldn’t stop feeling her up. In short, we truly did get to know each other better than we ever had, and it was a great time. It makes moving bittersweet, though on parting (I offered to call them a cab, but they chose to walk the five steps to their front door instead) we promised to get together again. Ironic that we might see more of them once we move, than we ever did in all the years they were right next door.
So it was a great evening, despite the Broncos’ poor showing, and the fact that I woke up this morning with a doozy of a hangover. Turns out mixing vodka, gin, wine, and tequila can sort of mess your head up a little. Who knew?