It’s depressing to write this, but I will turn 30 later this year.
You would think at this point in my life, I’d be past the all the irrational behavior associated with one of my sports teams losing. You would think I’d leave behind the rage, the despondent face, and the shutdown of all normal neuron activity. You would think I could count to ten, take a deep breath, or at the very least keep some perspective. You’d be wrong.
Three full decades into life and I can’t keep myself from reverting back to child-like behavior when I’m met with massive sports disappointment.
The other night my hockey team, the Calgary Flames, was officially eliminated from playoff contention. As I sat there watching the game online, I began muttering to myself incessantly. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I was alone, because my soliloquies weren’t exactly meant for the ears of children. I know that’s awful. I know it is, but it was like a reflex. As the night went on, and it became increasingly clear that my team would be making tee times, my anger turned to sadness. I took off my t-shirt with the team insignia emblazoned across the chest and folded it neatly while whispering, “So close. I just want one more game.” When times are desperate I’ve also been known to don a hard hat with my team’s logo and the inscription: Hardest Working Fan. (There’s nothing more mature than a grown man sitting alone, wearing a hard hat, wallowing in self-pity). I slid the hard hat back onto a shelf, and then proceeded to check the standings over and over and over again. I stared at the point totals like a mathematical equation I just couldn’t solve. I let out a long sigh, and then said, “Thanks for a good run boys.” I said that out loud as if I was in their locker room expecting one of the players to embrace me. In the moment, none of this lunacy seemed odd or weird or the least bit desperate. But it is! I know it, and I still can’t stop it!
Of course I had my share of temper tantrums as a kid. On Thanksgiving Day in 1993, Leon Lett decided to ruin my life by fumbling a ball in the snow to set up a Dolphin’s game winning field goal. With my Cowboys defeated, I was inconsolable. I ran to my room, sobbing, and refused to come out for hours. I wasn’t just crying, I was wailing. I remember shaking and seething in my bed just as vividly as I remember the look on my parents faces. You know that, we’re-mortified-by-this-and-no-longer-proud-of-you look? Yep, that’s the one. Sure it was embarrassing, but in my defense I was just a kid.
Now fast forward to the present day. Has my maturity level evolved? Recent events point to no.