Sunday, January 9, 2011
I know I write a lot about being optimistic and positive. Always seeing the good side of a situation. I’m generally a glass half full (even three quarters full!) kind of person. But sometimes I get knocked down by the reality that pretty insignificant things can still make a person pretty sad.
If you’re not a sports fan you might not get the story I’m about to tell. We’re a football family. I grew up watching my mom, not my dad, watch the NFL, following her hometown Cowboys, while we lived in Missouri. I found my own team when I was in high school and began a thirty year love affair with the Seattle Seahawks (I picked them way back then, honestly, because I loved their uniform). I married a guy who’d played college football. We naturally began hosting the yearly Super Bowl party for our friends. In 1993 I gave birth on the morning of the big game and brought the baby home by the fourth quarter, to show him off to the friends who had gathered at our house to watch the game.
So yeah, we kind of like football around here. One of our best friends in Utah teases me that I have a list of favorite teams, when others have just one allegiance. I tell him that I love each team for a different reason. I started watching the Colts after reading Payton Manning’s book, and then continued to watch them because I love a good passing game. I’ve stayed loyal to my Seahawks, many times feeling like I was their only fan in the country outside of Seattle. I loved watching the Packers when Brett was in his glory days and only in the news for his sports accomplishments. And after moving to NY I’ve become a mild Giants fan, since Payton’s little brother is on my TV each week.
But my all time favorite team has always been the Seahawks. They’ve never had a stellar season, plugging away, year after year, and making me crazy when they dominate a top team one week, then lay down for a losing team the next. The year they made it to the Super Bowl, one scrappy game at a time, I was more than elated.
We built a huge snowman out in the front yard, put my Seahawks helmet (found at the goodwill one year) on his head, and a Seahawks flag in his hand that announced our love for the team. I was pretty sure they’d get creamed, but having my team in the big game was a day I never thought I’d live to see, so it really didn’t matter.
So that brings us up to this season. I rarely get to see my team on my TV. Even when we lived in Utah, three states away, the programmers never found it fit to show a Seahawks game in regular broadcasting. I’ve had to rely on the rare Monday Night games to catch a glimpse of them. So when I found out my team was going to be in an important game last week, against the Rams, on my TV, I couldn’t wait.
It was a night game, which I usually can’t see to the end because, well, I’m old and get tired by 10 o’clock. But this one was important. I stayed up for every minute, saw every down. And the Seahawks won.
Unbelievably, my team, who went in the record books as being the only team ever in the NFL to go to the playoffs with a losing record, were on their way to playing the Saints in the first round of the play offs.
For the entire past week I gloated. I wore a Seahawks t-shirt all week. I was pretty sure they’d get run over by the Saints, because the Saints are an amazing team and, oh yeah, won the Super Bowl last year, but I couldn’t wait to see my team on my TV one more time.
There was only one problem. Sam’s year end football banquet was at the exact same time as the big game. Although it did cross my mind, I really didn’t think I could justify missing his big night, just so I could sink into my couch and watch a football game. So we set the TV to tape it and went out for the night. There was one minor glitch when one of the dad’s at the table blurted out “The Seahawks are winning in the fourth quarter!”, after discreetly checking his phone.
When he found out I was a fan, he respected my desire not to know the score, but toyed with me until I just had to know. With disbelief I saw the final score on his cell phone. My team had beaten the amazing Saints, scoring an amazing amount of points. I couldn’t wait to get home to watch the game. I knew they must have played very well, and since that’s not always a given, I couldn’t wait to see my team shine, on my TV.
I got up early on Sunday, got myself set up, and turned on the TV. But there was no game in the queue. Somehow the game, that I had personally set up, had not taped. Either the machine had malfunctioned or one of the kids pressed a wrong button, but my game was nowhere to be found.
I’m embarrassed to say I was heartbroken. It took awhile to sink in. I was not going to see this game, which was by far one of the best my team has played in years. It was over. All that’s left is highlight reels. And for some reason, that’s just not enough for me. I was ready to spend three hours lost in a game that my team played well, and seeing only the best plays from the game only breaks my heart more, reminding me of what I missed.
I did my best to control my emotions. My internal dialogue went something like this, “It’s just a game. It doesn’t really matter in the bigger picture. It’s just one game. For heaven’s sake, there was a shooting in Arizona last night that’s worth being sad about, this is just football.” But I have to admit, littered in between those thoughts were some others that went more like this, “YOU’RE KIDDING ME! One of the BEST games my team’s ever played and I didn’t SEE it? It was on MY TV and I didn’t get to SEE IT??”
It still feels like I have a rock of sadness in my stomach. Hopefully at some point this week I’ll be healed (mature) enough to watch those amazing highlights. But for now it hurts too much. Some silly, insignificant- to-the-good-of-the-universe game has knocked me down a notch.
I’m still an optimist. I still try to see the good in most things. But sometimes I think it’s okay to be sad about silly things. If it’s the little things that bring fulfillment in life, then I think it can also be the little things that bring us unexpected sadness.
Now I need to start gearing up for a big game this weekend. My team has one more shot in the playoffs. I won’t be setting it up to tape.
I’ll be watching it live.
On my couch.
On my TV.
So don’t even think about calling me during that three hour block. Don’t expect me to answer the door. And if you happen to be watching the game yourself, have some compassion and become a temporary Seahawks fan.
No matter how they play.