DionRabouin.com (sort of)

Boys and their games

Is there anything more absolutely ludicrous than sports? Not necessarily the sports themselves, but the excitement people derive from them. I’m not even talking about playing the sport(s) because that’s understandable, but what I can’t seem to wrap my head around is just how wrapped up in our sports we men can get. The Super Bowl was this weekend – the primordial American holiday where we Americans consume more food than on any other day of the year – and it got me thinking about how much of ourselves we invest in our sports teams.

We men – not all men, but the vast majority who find themselves glued to their television screens on Saturday and Sunday, not to be bothered with other worldly matters — invest ourselves so heavily in our sports teams. I know this because I am one of those men. I live with my teams. I die with them. I spend hundreds of dollars to attend their games and purchase their merchandise. We question other men’s fandom. Whether they are true fans or just “front runners” or “bandwagoneers.”

The world of sports, for us, is a world that we have absolutely no control over and yet we do everything in our power to make sure our team wins. We wear ten-year-old jerseys and refuse to wash our underwear. We won’t sleep with our girlfriends or speak to our mothers because we’re afraid that it will jinx our team. We go to certain places and avoid others like the plague because in some strange, existential way, everything we do affects our teams performance.

Our teams become reflections of ourselves. Every win, every loss, every first down and every missed opportunity is a little piece of us. We eat, sleep and breathe our team.

The best night of my life was the night the Florida Gators won the National Championship on January 8, 2007. Think about that, I’ve been alive for 22 years and the absolute, unequivocal best night of my life revolved around a football team that I have no affiliation with winning an arbitrary game, which gave them an arbitrary title.

Somehow we men seem to derive some sense of accomplishment from the success of a team we’ve rooted for, despite our generally insignificant role. Perhaps it comes down to nurturing, a concept not generally associated with the manly men who pour their souls into sporting teams. But if you think about it we nurture these teams.

They are our team. When they’re not doing well we support them and love them and spend our hard earned time and money to see them play. We lavish them with our unconditional love and support in hope that someday they’ll grow up and do something great. And when that happens we can look at our team that is now considered the absolute best in their field and know that it was us, despite all the trials and tribulations, who got them their. We loved them when nobody else did and we stuck by them no matter what anyone else said and nurtured them into the champions they are today.

In that sense our teams are like our children and we like their fathers, screaming, sobbing and willing them to do their best, to do what we know they can, to be the best they can be.

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