I was recently watching a college football game, Boise State v Nevada, and the kicker missed not one but two field goals. To say that the field goals were chip shots is an understatment. He could have won the game and given his team a chance at a National Championship Game or at worst a spot in the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of all college bowl games. He choked, and yes I do feel bad for the kid.
Tonight, LeBron James returns to Cleveland to play against his old team as a member of the Miami Heat. He took his talents to South Beach. He left behind his formed team for a chance to win titles in Miami.
After Kyle Brotzman, the kicker for Boise State, missed not one but two field goals I felt devastated and upset. “That’s his only job” I told my wife. Her reply “It’s just a game, now hopefully I won’t have to hear about it anymore”. I love my wife, she’s great and I can’t imagine life without her. But, for a split I wanted to draw up divorce papers right then and there.
For the Cleveland and Heat game tonight, I can only imagine the reaction the fans are going to have for “No-Ring King”, or “The Traitor”. You’ll always hear people say after a tough loss, or losing your star player to another team. “It’s only a game.” No, it’s not, it’s a lot more than that.
People follow teams and players for years. We buy sweaters, shirts, foam fingers, cheese heads, dog collars, banners, posters, hats, and other fan paraphernalia. We buys tickets, go to games, cheer real loud, talk smack to the other team and fan base, and let people know that we are apart of “The Nation”. We sign up for fantasy leagues, spend hours watching their games on TV, try to inculcate our wife and kids to liking our team, and teaching them the game.
So when your team suffers a devastating set back – it hurts. When you’re sitting at the edge of your seat and a kick or two are no good, you can’t help but to hurt. You’ve invested in this team, your team. It becomes more than a game, it becomes a piece of you. Now, hopefully you have enough balance in your life that it’s a small piece, but none the less, it’s part of you. You associate yourself with a type of family, your sports family. And just like when someone in your everyday family is hurting, you hurt. When their sad, your sad; when they cheer, you cheer, and when they find success, you take a part in that success.
That’s the way they want it. Schools, owners, commissioners, and leagues. They want you to be vested in their teams and players. That’s what gets you to come back and spend your hard-earned dollars. Or gets you to invest your time, time that could be spent with your wife who thinks “it’s just a game”. No, it’s more than a game to a lot of people. Whether that’s right or wrong is for you to decide, but the saying that “it’s just a game” is just plain wrong.