It's funny how the actions of twenty year old young men I've never met that are two thousand miles away affect my life.
I'm talking about college football here. The cause of my greatest joys, besides my son, obviously. And also the cause of some of the worst pain.
Every year around the beginning of June, hope springs anew. It's a new season, there are new players. There are older players returning with experience. The coaches have new schemes. The team has a new attitude. There is plenty of newness to hope on. And, as it turns out, ninety nine percent of the time, it is just that - hope.
The fans all start postulating and predicting. Rival fans start trash talking. All that is heard is: "If "x" happens, we can't be beat.." Thoughts of trips in January are prevalent. Everyone has hope. Maybe not to win it all, but hope. Hope to beat one team or the other. Or Hope just not to lose too badly. But, still, there is enduring hope.
All the predicting, postulating, trash talking and hope changes throughout the season, conforming itself to the endless myriad of results that play out. The rollercoaster rolls on, dipping and diving, peaking and falling in increments of seconds, minutes, and games. Seconds can last hours, minutes can fly like seconds. Grown men cry. Grown men yell. Grown, adult males throw things like children. And it's a beautiful catastrophe.
College football is a place where you can feel horrible Even if you win. Or you can find solace in a team other than yours losing( I see you Notre Dame). College football is a place where a guy dressed up like a huge nut can inspire hatred. College football makes grandmothers shout obscenities that would make a sailor blush. College football makes two shirtless, sweaty guys with back hair hug.
College football is all these things, and I love every bit of it. In a masochistic way, I like the agony. After the pain, there is joy. Joy in winning, or just joy that the pain has ended for now. I can see a Michigan sticker or a car and yell "Go Blue" as I drive by. That person will either feel my pain or know my joy. That person is my compatriot, even though I have never spoken to them. This fact make me smile deep, deep down inside.
So far this season has been nothing but a giant let down. The thing is, I know it's always gonna be like that. It's akin to the hot girl that you've always wanted, but knew was a trainwreck finally spending the night. And you start to think: "This could go somewhere".You know it will end badly, but you still have to try. You know you will end up in the fetal position on your bedroom floor screaming "WHHHHHYYYYYYYYY??". You know, but still you love. Moth to a flame.
Fuck it, Flame on.