Sant-Miller: Sports craze plays with emotions
Aaron Sant-Miller | Monday, November 17, 2014
To be a sports fan is to live on an emotional roller coaster. The sadness of a loss, the frustration of poor coaching or obvious mistakes, the joy of a rivalry win, the elation of a last-second victory and everything in between. It’s a whirlwind of emotion, one without a predictable pattern.
While the tumultuous emotional adventure of an NFL season has no formula, there is one thing you can count on: the melancholic apathy of a bye week.
To some extent, that’s almost an oxymoron, to be both melancholic and apathetic. Yet, that’s the only way to describe it. Watching other games and other teams leave you feeling hollow. You try to root against your team’s rivals, but cheering for a team’s failure does not bring about the same energy as cheering for a team’s success. You feel a sense of emptiness, and you’re left struggling to make it through Sunday.
Sundays seem longer without the three-hour commitment you bank on each week. You don’t know what to do with your time and sometimes find yourself staring at the wall, hoping for it to do something exciting. Apathy is the only way to describe these feelings of emptiness and boredom.
Simultaneously, you experience intense longing and sadness as you watch your friends ride the emotional roller coaster of their team’s Sunday matchup. You want those feelings, and it hurts knowing that you can’t experience them. You want the excitement but are left to wallow in a lonely sorrow that can only be described as true melancholy.
This brings about the question: what is worse? Would you rather live the emotional roller coaster and end the day in a loss or suffer through the desert of a bye week?
Logically, it’s an easy question. The bye week helps the team improve. The bye week doesn’t hurt your team’s chances at claiming a Super Bowl. Why would you ever prefer a loss to anything neutral?
As the wise Alfred Lord Tennyson famously said, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
I would rather feel. I would rather hurt. To not feel at all, the emptiness, it cuts to the core much worse than a loss ever could.
With a loss, a fan can break down the mistakes and argue for what changes should be made. There is passion; there is emotion; there is fire. During the game, there is the excitement. The never-ending hope until the clock hits zero, the rollercoaster, the energy. Give me that. Give me humanity.
It’s the secondary and tertiary effects as well. The week leading up to the bye week is empty. With nothing to look forward to on the weekend, every hour of work seems much longer. It is truly a bye week, not an empty Sunday. The melancholic apathy of the bye is felt throughout that week.
Most people will disagree. Most people would prefer the rational outcome. Most people would prefer to avoid a loss.
Let’s be honest: most people will think I’m crazy. No, not because I prefer the emotions of a loss to the emptiness of a bye. They will think I’m crazy because I care this much, because I can talk about being a sports fan this way.
You know what? I absolutely am. This represents so much of what is disturbing about American society and the psychotic nature of being a sports fan. Still, I’ll take pride in my passion, my love for a team that could care less about me.
It’s better to feel.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.