Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm having an emotional affair with college sports

Last night Gary and I were watching ESPN, eagerly cheering on our LSU Tigers in the College World Series. In the first game of the best-of-three finals, we knew the importance of a win. Securing the win of the first game would give our Tigers a little less pressure for the second game. However, LSU played in typical Tiger fashion: wait until the last possible millisecond to pull off a victory.

Somewhere during the 10th inning, I pulled my eyes away from the television to look at myself and Gary. There we were, two responsible adults, sitting on the edge of the sofa and leaning towards the TV in agonized frustration. I was SO into the game! I hung on every word from the commentators. Watched every pitch. Noted the expression on every Tiger's face whenever a close-up was provided. I realized that if our team could not pull off a win I would be upset, disappointed, maybe even a little depressed. I pushed these thoughts into the back of my mind and decided that I would analyze them AFTER the game.

Our Tigers somehow managed to get a single run and hold off three Longhorn batters to secure the win in the eleventh inning. We were ecstatic! We both jumped up, high-fived each other, and grinned like a couple of idiots (we could not yell victoriously because the babies were asleep). So the second game is tonight, and I find myself eagerly awaiting the chance to go through this torture again.

After thinking about this for most of the morning (it's been a slow day at work), I realized that I get this way not only when my Tigers are playing football and baseball, but any time I start watching a sporting event. I remember specific times - the 1996 U.S. Women's gymnastic phenomenon (Kerri Strug landing on one leg to win the gold), the Michael Phelps hoopla, the NY Giants - Indianapolis Colts superbowl, on and on the list goes. If I get into something, I pick my team/athlete, and I'm in it. I become superfan. It's as if I am a part of the team competing, and any loss will affect me greatly. Why is this? Why do I let myself get so emotionally involved?

My coworker friend - who is a Yankee - informed me that I am the way that I am because of where I grew up and currently live: the South. She went on to explain that people from the South are serious about three things - church, food and sports. I have to admit, she's partially right. They aren't the only things we're serious about, but they're right up there at the top of the list. I'm also not the only one in my family (or among my friends) who places sports as a top priority in life. Maybe I'm not entirely crazy. I do, however, think I may have a problem.

On the day of my very first date with Gary, LSU played Auburn (I'm talking football now). Sadly LSU lost the game. I was so upset about the loss that I considered canceling the date. Seriously! I felt like maybe the loss was a sign, and it would not be a good day to initiate a possible relationship. Luckily for us, I decided that the show must go on.

We schedule get-togethers, parties, outings, etc. around important games. It is necessary that wherever we will be, there must be access to a television or radio so that we do not miss a moment of said game. Granted, we don't get nearly as involved with any other sports so much as LSU football, but still....

Am I sick? Is it wrong that I invest so many of my emotions into these games; that I allow myself to feel dejected and wronged when my team loses; how I feel so elated when they win?

I don't know. I guess I never will. One thing I am sure of, though, is that come 6:00 tonight, I will be in front of the television, ready to cheer on my LSU Tigers!