Calling All REAL Cal Fans…
(Last post of the millions)
Look, I just suffered through one of the worst weeks as a sports fan, with the Bills’ catastrophic Monday Night loss starting the week and the maddening pain of tonight’s defeat ending it. Mentally I felt like Joe Frazier after the Thrilla in Manila; completely battered, ruined and embittered beyond belief, isolated on an island. Even the Memorial fans had each other to console. I had nothing.
I’m sure most of you feel the same with just that one loss. But at least you all have each other.
Some of you have families, the rest of you have lives. In a few days, most of you will have healed the scars through alcohol, family outings, or the crazy turns of college life. The aches will subside when Cal wins again, or undoubtedly captures another Big Game. Your emotions run high and low, and that’s what makes you human.
But do not become like me. Do not live through the successes and failures (for me, almost always failures) of your sports teams, as I have tried doing for the past thirteen years. Do not isolate yourself to following statlines and ESPN talking heads and namecalling/trolling on message boards. Do not forget that there are people around you, everywhere in the world, who call themselves Cal Football Fans, who are proud to be Golden Bears, who would be happy to celebrate in their successes and mourn in their failures with you. And do not forget you have lives that exist outside of Tedfordism. Reach out and roll on.
If anything positive came out of this horrible weekend for me, it’s that I finally realized what a shallow existence it is to be so blindly devoted to something I can’t even begin to share. Even as Riley fell to the ground on 4th down, I wanted to cry. I wanted a hug. I just wanted words to come flowing out, so I could share what happened with someone. Anyone.
But I was alone for another loss. Again. And I just felt a curious emptiness inside. Every emotion had been totally suppressed; years and years of unbearable defeat with no victories at all (following Buffalo, Orlando, Sacramento, and Cal teams with zero champions) had left me a shell. And that feeling of emptiness sucks more than all the pain in the world. Do not fall into that hole. Fight through it and go to it. That’s what being a fan is all about. Don’t quit. That’s the pussy way out. If you really want to join a winning franchise in need for some self-validation, the Patriots and the Cowboys, the Lakers and the Yankees, the Trojans and the Blue Devils could always use more annoying bandwagoners. To experience the highest of the highs, you need to endure the lowest of the lows.
Wake up tomorrow, go outside, find friends, do things, commiserate, sob, curse out hippies, whatever. Then after you’ve detoxed long enough, come back and get ready to write a new chapter in this story. Because the journey is far from over. Go Bears.
“The darkest hour of the night comes before the dawn.” ~The Alchemist
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