Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Non-Fan's Notes

I have been discussing football issues on B After The Fact and weight and recovery issues on Time After Surgery . Since this concerns both, I am running it on both sites.


I apologize to NoTrust. After the game, in the middle of the post-mortem phone call, I mentioned a fact that NoTrust has known since 1967 -- I am a Giants fan.

But I have a funny feeling that if the Giants lost a playoff game 20-17 on a missed field goal or two --- I wouldn't have felt much different. I know because when the Giants won a Super Bowl 20-17 on a missed field goal, I didn't feel much different.

This year my mid-life crisis reached drinking age. My mid-life crisis hit its full stride in November 1986, after my beloved Mets beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

After the World Series, I got so depressed, a form of the circus-has-just-left-town blues, that I promised that I would never get so worked up again over a television event -- which is after all what sporting events mostly are. I also made a series of life-altering changes, the most important I started taking acting lessons. Within a year, I left my Harvard Law School job. Within three years, I moved to California, my 200-pound body and my thick New York accent dreaming of some sort of sitcom glory that never came. If the circus-has-just-left-town, I would go looking for it.

I am back to practising law now, and I still do some acting from time to time, but in the words of the newly popular movie, after the 1986 World Series, my life blew Sideways, and has been like that for a long, long time.

I wouldn't blame everything that happened to me on fandom, just like you can't blame everything on the failure of a kicker to make 40-yard plus field goals in the other team's stadium, but it was a little extra thing that pushed matters over the edge.

It has taken a lot of work, but it seems that I have kept my promise to myself. As I get older, and find that most of the things I like to do can be found in my own home, I find that I watch more televised sporting events. I still get excited by my Mets, and can spend a lot of time following their activities. However, when I had a rehearsal for an acting class conflict with one of the Mets-Dodgers playoff games in 1988, an appointment that could have been broken as easily as a trip to Starbucks, I went to the rehearsal. When someone offered me theatre tickets the same night as the last Mets NLCS game in 2000, I went to the theatre.

So while I follow sports closely, and I still know, well not as much baseball trivia as a 14-year old, but way too much for a 46-year old, it appears that I have stopped being a fan. Some games can play in my mind for a long time, and I can listen to the stupidest sports call-in show for hour after hour. I read many books on baseball every year. I like to watch football a lot. And, according to my wife, I love few things in life, if anything, more than falling asleep in front of a baseball game, and then claiming the next day that I saw the whole thing. Certainly, if I can stay awake, I will stay awake, even past midnight on a working night, if I am enjoying the game enough.

I like it when any New York team wins. Life here is too hard, much harder than it is anywhere else. If we have four times the people as anywhere else, I don't know why the Yankees and Mets shouldn't be entitled to win every year. When any of the New York teams win, it makes for a more pleasant city. That good New York feeling is more important to me than whether the feeling is coming from the Yankees, Mets, Giants or Jets. That is an immediate tell. If I root for all four of those teams to win (although I root for the Mets hardest), I am too promiscuous to be a true fan.

I apologize to NoTrust, a true fan, for calling him with my its-only-a-game-mind during such an inopportune time.