This is being written at the time of the 2006 Rose Bowl where Texas just won an incredible game over the USC Trojans.
My heart is pounding, my head is swimming… I don’t even know what to say.
I hate USC. I do. I hate them almost as much as I hate the New England Patriots. And that’s saying a lot. But I’m neutral toward Texas. I rooted for them like hell in this game but only because a.) they weren’t USC and b.) they’re from Texas.
Maybe that’s part of it. I mean, sports is a great thing. It’s almost a religious experience, and I don’t mean that as a hyperbole. Sports help us to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to tie ourselves to a bigger entity and hundreds or thousands or millions of other people. It fills that need. When our team succeeds, we succeed. And as sweet and satisfying as that is, it’s just as crushing when they fail. Because we’re failures.
But with either, we’re feeling those emotions through our team and their accomplishments, and maybe it’s more powerful than if we were experiencing it ourselves. Texas won, and I’m a Texan. Texas is a better state than California because of this game.
There’s nothing reasonable about it, but feelings are rarely reasonable, and damn it, that’s how that makes me feel. I’m a success because the team I wanted to win won and the team I wanted to lose lost. That simple.
It’s a meaningless game in the greater scheme of things. It’s just a college football game, even if it’s for a national championship. But a lot of things are just whatever. A child’s birth is just another carbon lifeform sucking up air. A war is just a bunch of specks of dust fighting on a grain of sand.
Those are both hyperboles, of course, but unless you count the feelings and the effect on the human spirit, the human condition, nothing is anything.
Football is the greatest sport in the world. It’s great because of the interaction between preparation and performance, the balance between talent and coaching. The way possessions work and the wonderful math of scoring points. It’s great because every play is a build up and release of tension, and things can change so drastically each time. I guess I could try to explain it more than that, but if you love soccer or basketball or baseball, I can’t convince why those aren’t as good. Love isn’t reasonable either.
I love football, and at times, every hope and dream in my life is tied to eleven men trying to matriculate a ball across an imaginary line, or stop eleven men from doing so.
My entire week can be ruined by the events on a field thousands of miles away involving people I have never met and probably never will. Sad thing is, Hurricane Katrina or Rita didn’t do this to me. Not even the Christmas Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake made me feel anything. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about 9/11 except for the fact that I was annoyed over how much they would keep showing it on television. I could give you similar examples of my lack of religious faith or empathy, but I think you get the idea. Real things, things that should matter, just don’t to me, because I don’t relate to New Yorkers or Indians. I’ve never been there and only met a few people from there. I don’t love them. I love football.
I love it, and up to a certain point, I can’t explain why.
But then that’s love.