“It was so much easier when I didn’t care.”
I don’t remember the first time I said those words to my younger brother, because I have repeated them so many times. I remember his response, though:
“Welcome to my world.”
There are many things I have consistently cared about through the years. My family, my books, my work, my faith, my friends.
But sports? Not so much.
I grew up the daughter of a former pro football player who went to college on football scholarship. My mom loved sports and was distraught as a child when she had to sit out gym class because of a childhood bout of rheumatic fever.
I hated gym class—dreaded it!—and would welcome any excuse to get out of it. I was particularly terrified of team sports, because inevitably, I would be the cause of my team losing when I ducked away from the volleyball or was caught daydreaming in right field. I was tall for my age, and was always asked (by strangers) if I played basketball. Ha! You need coordination, and ideally a hint of competitiveness, to play basketball. I had height. Period.
My brother is a natural athlete, and he played everything from baseball to ice hockey to tennis to soccer, from childhood all the way through college. I satisfied my requisite college phys ed requirements with aerobics, golf and tennis. (Note the avoidance of elective team sports.) And I went to a small liberal arts college where varsity sports like football and basketball were not a big draw.
Given all of that background, you’d think that the Pittsburgh Steelers losing to the New England Patriots in last night’s NFL game would have no bearing on my life, right?
Yeah, well. You live in a place dubbed the City of Champions for long enough, and chances are you’ll catch the fever. Sports fanaticism is contagious, and over the past decade, my immune system has taken a hit.
Hello. My name is Amy and I’m a sports fan. (Hi Amy!)
Pittsburgh Steelers? Check. Pitt Panthers? You bet! (Football, sure, but especially basketball. No pro basketball teams in the Burgh, so I cheer on my dad’s and brother’s alma mater.) Pittsburgh Penguins? Yep. (But only during playoffs—hockey season is entirely too long.) Pittsburgh Pirates? Sure. (A winning season would be nice. I remember one of those about half a lifetime ago. But we’ve got an awesome ballpark!)
All that to say: who knew rooting for a sports team could be so emotionally draining? It’s a blast to follow a winning team, and for the most part, my chosen teams win their fair share. And when they lose to a hated rival like they did last night, it actually takes an emotional toll.
When you care. And oddly, I do.
Steeler Mondays are way more fun when the Steelers manage to pull off a win on Sunday.
This too shall pass. It’s time to put it behind me and watch the Dancing with the Stars semifinals. 🙂