The playoffs

I told myself I wasn’t going to post about this, but I’m desperate to do something to cleanse my system of the anxiety and depression and, well, just emotion that I still feel in my heart (despite coating it in Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc and lots of episodes of Law & Order).  Maybe writing about it will make me feel better, or at least make me feel less. 

It’s tough being a sports fan.  I have a working theory that it’s actually tougher being a female sports fan, but I’ll get to that later.  The thing is, that with any sport there’s really only one desired outcome: to win.  And only one team can do that at a time.  And in a league like the NFL’s, only one team can do that each season; that is, win the Superbowl.  Anything less than that is, by definition, disappointing, even when we all know that only one of thirty-two teams can achieve this goal.  It’s crazy to let your emotions become so involved in something you (a) have no control over and (b) are extremely unlikely to get the results you want.  Right?  Right?  I think so.  But year after year I invest considerable amounts of emotional (and sometimes finanical) currency in these teams that can’t help but, at least sometimes, let me down.  I mean, I refer to them as “we” for crying out loud.  And I never even think that’s weird until some non-sports fan lets me know it is.

I love the Green Bay Packers.  I’m so proud of this season and so impressed with how they played.  I think today’s game had some major errors — many of which are to be blamed on Green Bay and, specifically, their defense.  Of course.  The defense, actually, seemed to have forgotten to play the game.  And I’d like to blame the officiating, officiating and the blown calls on Fitzgerald for offensive interference (more officiating, I know, but I can’t find a decent link to an article about it yet). And I will to some degree, but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter because the game is over, the season is over and the Green Bay Packers are heading home.  More importantly, though, is something that I know now, even in my disappointed and sad state:  While they may not be Superbowl-bound this year, they still are , as they always will be, my favorite team of any team that ever was and ever will be.

A long overdue word, though, to Aikman, and everyone else on national tv, they’re the green bay packers, or the GREEN BAY PACKERS.  But they are not, and never have been, as far as I know, the GREEN bay packers.  Or the green BAY packers.  Analysts’ emphasis is always off, which seems particularly weird for a fairly well-known team and an easy-to-prounounce town.

As for women.  Here’s my thinking.  Women, in general, are less likely to be sports fans than men, particularly fans of such sports as football and basketball.  I have no statistics to back me up, just 34 years of experiencing life as a female with very few female friends that share my interest.  And I have female friends, so don’t try to get me on that.  So, there are fewer women to talk to about sports, which can be sad because talking to men about sports often gets competitive and aggressive and sometimes you really just want to talk it out.  See, that’s what I want.  As a woman.  To talk it out.  About how I’m thinking and feeling about it.  And not to one-up someone else with different statistics or some writer’s theory.  Well, sometimes anyway.  And without being able to do this as much as I’d like, it’s rather isolating.  In any event, as long as I’m stereotyping myself and my friends (read: accurately describining the way things are), I’ll hit you with my second point.  Women are generally more emotional and more “in touch” with their emotions.  I really don’t dig that expression, “in touch,” but I’ll use it here because it seems kinda appropriate.  Given this (no stats, let’s just let it ride as true), sports losses — and wins — affect women more.  Women take it more personally — should I not have moved on the couch during that last drive? was it my fault?  — and they take it harder.  I don’t just bounce back from a loss like today’s.  I want to talk to Aaron Rodgers and tell him how proud I am of him.  I want to smack the defense on their collective head and say, “Why didn’t you get on the plane to Phoenix?”  I want to say, “McCarthy, don’t give up on us. And excellent work on that onside kick call!” 

But I can’t do any of that.  So I sit here and steam and stir and twitch, and wonder what I could have done differently. And I count the days until August.  Which, frankly, is a weird thing to do in Wisconsin in January.  Except it’s not.  If you’re a sports fan.  And you’re a woman.

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9 Responses to “The playoffs”


  1. 1 Sarayu January 11, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I think you should know this blog post makes me want to be a sports fan. I have a lot more to say, but I need a moment to collect my thoughts. Brilliant post, just brilliant.

  2. 2 Sarayu January 11, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Ok, here’s what I’d like to add, with the contingent that there likely will be additional comments to come as I’ve had more time.

    I can totally imagine you’d feel isolated in the sports arena because all the men I know do get rather caught up in comparing statistics, and while I, of course find it entirely dry and boring, I would think someone who actually understands the language and has far more to say about it would find it excruciatingly reductive and feel cut off at the knees, so to speak.

    I think the older I get, the more comfortable I feel being a woman, meaning I sink deeper into what that means to me, and I think genuinely love that women get so emotionally involved/ attached. This is not to say men don’t get emotional about sports, frankly, some of the most emotional moments I’ve seen in men come out when they’re watching sports, but as you noted, the decompression process is entirely different. Particularly after a loss. I really just wish you would’ve had the chance to smack that collective defensive head, and verbally pat Mr, Rodgers on the back. I bet A.R. would’ve really appreciated that.

    Although this doesn’t ease the pain at all, your love of sports, especially the Pack, is one of my favorite things about you.

  3. 3 Jane January 11, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Oh sweetie! It’s just so hard. The first two pictures of A-Rod in the JS Online slide show made me want to cry. Must say, though, that your uncle was a lovely combination of emotion and intelligence when it came to football.

  4. 4 Sara H January 11, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Oh, that game. How can anyone score 45 points and still lose? That first quarter really did us in. I agree, EXCELLENT call on the onside kick.

    I’m not sure if this is a particularly female thing, but I just feel the WASTE so much – the giant effort to mount a comeback! The incredible chance after the missed field goal to win the game! The COIN TOSS! All for naught! It just rankles me. And my heart breaks a little bit for all the players who went all out to come back and get those 45 points, when mostly what people will remember is the botched overtime drive. Sympathy, I guess, is very likely a uniquely female feeling after a sporting event? I just want to tell A-Rod, cheer up, my friend! You were AWESOME this season.

  5. 5 Sara H January 11, 2010 at 10:18 am

    And p.s. Did you see the FACEMASK on that last Rodgers tackle? That touchdown should never have been allowed. Oh, the injustice!

  6. 6 gracieandkate January 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Yeah, the facemask blown call is one of the “officiating” links I put in. Just ridiculous. And I was kinda surprised Aikman didn’t say anything about it since it was shown up close several times. It kinda reminds me of this time Gabriela Sabatini, I think it was, one some Grand Slam event…There was a really close call that the official might have overruled, but she just started jumping up and down and screaming that she’d won that everyone was like, oh, yeah, ok, I guess it’s over.

  7. 7 gracieandkate January 12, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I just read a nice article in which a CBS sportswriter touted the game as the best he’s ever seen. And said Rodgers showed why he’ll better than Favre. I liked that.

  8. 8 Sarayu January 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I like that too. Now I’m really going to have get into sports, particularly the Pack, and even more particularly, Aaron Rodgers.

  9. 9 gracieandkate January 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I think you should date Aaron Rodgers! He’s from California, you know.


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