Hi, my name is Justin and I have a college football addiction.
At least that’s what I’d tell the College Football Addicts Anonymous if such a group existed.
I blame the Ohio State University for my addiction—a problem with which I’ve been dealing since 2001. That’s the year I was first "recruited" to attend school in the heart of Buckeye Nation.
It’s not my fault, you see. I was born in Ohio where football is practically a way of life. Of course, people say football is a way of life at every campus that houses a major college football power.
Talk to anyone at USC, Texas, Georgia, and so forth. "Nobody does football like we do football," they’ll say.
"Collegefootballism" can strike anyone at anytime because if your team is a winner, you’re bound to get addicted to football.
I didn’t realize how addicted to this sport I am until a few days ago when my broadcast team traveled to Ellenboro, W. Va. to cover the Ritchie County Rebels game against the Williamstown Yellow Jackets. Since I’m a sideline reporter, I get to see the action up close and personal.
While I watched Williamstown dominate the Rebels on defense, all I could think was, "I wonder if I could run the same type of blitz and pass coverage against Stephen tonight when we play NCAA ‘09."
Afterward, I asked the play-by-play man if he thought I had it bad for college football. "Sounds like it to me," he said after I told him some of my thoughts during the game.
He’s also an Ohio State alumnus, so he knows how intense things get during football season.
Still, I manage to keep my addiction at a healthy level as I understand it’s just a game. Still, it’s sometimes fun to pretend to be more obsessed than I really am just to see people’s reactions.
Most hardcore fans have three symptoms of collegefootballism.
The first symptom of collegefootbalism goes something like this: Someone mentions the state of Florida in conversation, and you immediately think of the Gators.
I admit to once being a victim of this symptom. I vacationed to Myrtle Beach last summer, and asked my dad how far away it was from Clemson. I caught myself and made a pathetic attempt at a cover when I said, "I hear the girls are pretty at Clemson."
The next symptom is a little more severe—hatred for the rival.
And it doesn’t matter where you go, everyone in the country has a rival team that they just can’t stand.
My uncle is a Wake Forest fan, and he won’t refer to UNC by name. Instead, he calls it the "evil empire."
I once met a guy who walked away from an attractive girl she said she was a Michigan fan. I swear it wasn’t me.
One of my old fraternity brothers, a USC fan, just asks who you’re talking about if you mention UCLA.
It goes on and on.
The last symptom is turning this sport into a religion. This symptom is probably the most extreme.
However, I once heard an officer in Block O (Ohio State’s student fan organization) say that Block O was the choir and Ohio Stadium was the church. He said this on local TV right before the 2006 Michigan game.
I guess if that’s how you choose to exercise your First Amendment right, then go for it. Who are we, the less addicted, to tell you how to display your school spirit?
But now, it’s November and that means that college football is winding down to its close until bowl season. That also means many fans will be beside themselves trying to find something to do until next August.
Some people will remember that Christmas season begins soon and will likely feed the addictions of other college football fanatics through team-related gifts.
Others may rediscover life outside of college football.
Hey, I’ll even remember I was supposed to ask what’s-her-name on a date. I’ll even remember her name, too.
Seriously, though, people may look on all of the college football addicts as a little weird and intense, but we love our teams. As long as other people don’t trash our teams, we’re not hurting them.
Besides, we could be addicted to a sport much worse than football. Some sport like NASCAR!