Why you’re a fan

Fiesta BowlYou grow up watching a team. You fall in love with that team and you’re hooked for life. Up and down, thick and thin. It is the life of a sports fan. In sports, there are no guarantees. You can be a fan for your entire life and never see the “magic moment” you’re waiting for. Just ask Chicago Cub fans. You can never be sure where or when that moment might make its appearance… You will never know “why”.

That is why you watch. Why you invest all that time and effort. Why you’re a fan. You hope, someday, that it will all be paid back to you. You try to stay realistic. Try to stay grounded. But you hope.

Then comes your shot. Those hopes have come true. You know that you would pay any price to be there to see it. You make your plans and daydream about what might happen. You know you’re a long shot. You know you should just plan to enjoy the experience, but you still dream.

Eventually, the time is upon you. The world stops and your entire existence shrinks into one small sliver of brightly lit grass. You imagined what it would be like, but could never have expected it to be like this. You’re there. It’s happening.

It has finally arrived, and you can scarcely believe it. Every sense you possess is pushed to 11. You can taste the electricity and you have to confirm to yourself that those really are your boys down there.

Maybe your team starts well. Maybe they look so good, you start to abandon your cautions and start to really think it could happen. You’ve been sucked in. You have lost that last bastion of protection to your psyche, let your guard down.

As the game progresses and time ticks away, the collapse you feared seems less and less likely. Your screaming gets louder and louder. It’s going to happen! The dream you’ve had is about to come true.

Until…

Your opponent comes roaring back. Roaring ALL the way back. Takes the lead. You’ve lead the entire game, and now, it’s going to be stolen from you in the final seconds. You feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach. You’ve gone from as high as you’ve ever been to as low as you imagine you could possibly feel. There is a minute left, and you know it’s all gone.

4th and 18 with 18 seconds to play. One more down and you can slink out of the arena and try to disappear.

But that’s when the real magic happens.

Completion… lateral… now you’re screaming! My God, he is going to make it! As soon as the pitch is made, the building starts moving. When he crosses the goal line, your world explodes into a super nova.

Your brain is on such overload that you genuinely fear that the team you live and die by may, in fact, kill you.

When the unbelievable happens you stand there dumbfounded. Unable to form coherent thoughts. Unable to speak. Unable to weep. You simply cannot believe what you are seeing. You are forced to ask the people around you that it is indeed happening. They are just as flabbergasted as you. So, you all stand there somewhere between ecstasy and agony.

Overtime. They score easily. All of a sudden they look stronger than you. You wonder just how much magic can be left. You haven’t taken a breath in 10 minutes.

Your turn. 4th down again. This is the ball game. You can’t watch but can’t look away. Quarterback in motion… what are they doing?! Sweep… toss… MY GOD, HE CAUGHT IT. You’re going bonkers, but you know you’re still behind.

Go for two. Love the call. You gotta do it. Team is tired. Go out and take one last shot. As they line up for this one final play, either way you somehow know your life will never be the same.

It’s happening right in front of you. You know this image will be burned into your brain for the rest of your life. You don’t often recognize history as you’re seeing it, but this one time, you do.

You see the fake… you see the handoff… you see him 2 yards from the goal line with nobody close…

Detonation… Bedlam… Insanity…

You’re feeling everything and nothing all at once. All you see are screaming people and waving arms. Your brain simply cannot compute it all. Hugs. Tears. Time slows down. You don’t believe it happened. Couldn’t have happened. Surreal. The team is celebrating on the field, but you don’t remember seeing them run out there. Blocks of time are missing from your memory. But it really happened. It did.

And that, my friends, is why you’re a fan.

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