Okay, so, here is the dilemma. I love football, but I don’t have a team. I am beginning to think that not having a team is affecting my enjoyment of watching the game.
I did not ever think this before. For the entirety of my life up until very recently, I have been happy to cruise around, flirting with this team here or that team there.
Maybe for a solid week, I thought I was a Browns fan. Go, Jamal!
But I’m not really a Browns fan. Invariably, I wake up at the end of the week and turn on a Browns game and ask myself, “What was I thinking? What did I see in them?” Their defense crumples like a paper plane in a math teacher’s fist.
Besides, I am from California. No matter how hard I try, I can’t become a Midwestern girl who grew up around smoke stacks and sleet, and proudly wears brown and orange.
Orange makes me look jaundiced. When the thermometer drops below 55 Fahrenheit, I start whining.
So I go back on the open market. Playing around with the Saints for a weekend, then sobering up and kicking them to the curb just like the rest.
I have even been known to change my affection for teams at halftime, in the same game, without shame.
To many people, that is like leaving the prom with a different date, which I have also done. But we are talking about football here, so lets stay on subject.
Out of my friends who are devoted to a team, nine out of 10 became fans because of proximity. The home team.
All of Wisconsin adores the Packers.
San Franciscans love the 49ers.
But the proximity thing does not work for me.
I am from Southern California. There is no football team in close proximity, unless you count USC. While I appreciate the purity of college ball, it bores me.
There is something about grown men who are getting paid millions to run, grunt, and tackle that makes it more exciting to watch.
It is the stakes. If a pro fucks up, they might get fired. If a college guy fucks up, he will just get benched and write texts to his girlfriend about how the coach is a suckwad.
Maybe it is my age. Maybe I am at that time in my life when I look around and all my friends are settled into their team choices, for good or for bad, and I’m seeing that they have more meaning in their sports-watching lives.
A richer experience. Connection. If I dare say, intimacy, even.
When I watch a game with them and see how their eyes light up brighter than mine when a kick return crosses the fifty, well, I start to feel like a slut.
Like someone who can’t commit.
Like my love of the game of football is a cheaper kind of love because I am not in it for the long haul like they are.
They have their team. Their team has them.
And what do I have?
I am a football floozy, a sideline slattern, a halftime hosebag. I claim to love the game, but if I really did love the game I would pick a team.
And right when I am at my lowest, beating myself up, internally pleading, “There’s always San Diego, Lefty. They’re close enough to L.A. and even though you don’t feel an affinity for SD because it’s basically Orange County on steroids, LT is a future Hall-of-Famer and he shares your initials, c’mon!"
Then Brady’s knee implodes.
My friend David from Boston falls into a depth of depression rivaling the loss of a loved one.
And I see the other side of having a team. The pain that comes with the gain. David’s hero is out and the joy has been sucked out of football for him. His whole season is shot.
He tries to pretend he is interested in how Cassell will perform, but his heart is not in it. And all of a sudden, I don’t feel so bad anymore.
There are advantages to being a slut.
I flip the channel. Maybe Tampa Bay will be my team today.
Until halftime, at least.