Friday, August 25, 2006

I ADMIT IT...I'M A FAN!

Yesterday I was listening to Mike & Mike on AM 1300 and I caught them discussing the AFC and the NFC and how the balance of power is beginning to gradually shift from the AFC to the NFC (although I must admit I’ve seen no real evidence of that yet). I think Greenberg was championing that notion more so than Golic.

Anyway, I heard Golic later claim that Greenberg’s opinions were that of a fan and therefore biased. Golic made it clear that he was not a fan and that sort of struck me. Greenberg for those that listen to the program, is a dyed in the wool Jets fan. Golic, a former player, claims to not have emotional ties to any team.

I thought about that for a moment. What is it like not to be a fan? Does it make football less interesting? Does it make it more of a business? Does it help Golic’s objectivity?

I then thought of a few conversations I’ve had with local media people who cover the Ravens. Some are fans but they tuck that away in the closet a bit. Others by their own admission are not fans and they claim it makes it easier to cover the team – to maintain journalistic integrity.

This of course made me wonder about my own efforts as a journalist or journalist wannabe as one member of the local sports media might suggest. I’m a fan! Oh Lord am I a fan! When I watch them struggle on the road on TV like they did last year, it gnaws at my gut and that’s when it hits me – the affliction that I acquired as a toddler…Football Tourette’s.

No one could correctly identify my ailment as a young fan. My fiancé correctly diagnosed it a couple of years ago and unfortunately there is no cure.

It started one day when we were at home…I was watching the game and she was doing whatever she was doing. I’m oblivious to all things that are not within 4 feet of the TV screen when the game is on. There I was, fully engaged and focused upon the action on the field.

I study. I look for tendencies. In my mind I make suggestions that I hope through some form of telekinesis the play in my mind finds its way to that of Brian Billick. It never does and when the play he calls falls two yards short of the first down stick, my silence ends. I leap from the sofa as though I was shot from a cannon. I whip out the finger. (No not that one). I direct it towards Billick to further emphasize my point and then the expletives come flying out.

My fiancĂ© who is now used to such outbursts was initially shocked. Today those outbursts are expected much the same way that Darren McGavin’s character in Christmas Story is expected to curse a malfunctioning furnace. I just curse a malfunctioning offense.

I just can’t help it and for this reason, I tape every game. I take a deep breath hours after a game and let the emotion subside. Then I put on the goggles of objectivity and break down the taped version of the game.

After all it is my job.

But being a fan is a way of life.

I feel sorry for Golic!

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