I am a fan. I am not nor have I ever been an athlete. I was not blessed with soft hands or big hands for that matter, so I was never really cut out for organized sports. Not that I would have wanted it any other way but I wonder if I would have followed some sort of dream had I had some basic skills to play ball.So I am just …the Regular Guy.
So here I am …a fan. Not a fan-atic (fan being short for fanatic), but these days, just a fan. I have to say, my days of living and dying over my teams wins and losses, have long since passed. I began to realize about 10 years ago that I, as a fan, seemed to care more about my teams losing than my teams players did.Â I remember crying as a child when Cleon Jones struck out and the Mets lost a game. I remember how sick I felt when the Mets were down to two outs, and two strikes in game six of the 1986 World Series. And then how my heart raced and my mood became elated, when the game suddenly became a win for the Mets and they were once again alive to possibly win the Series in seven. Not since those days have I cared so much about sports and my teams.
Growing up, before free agency, if your team was good, it was always good, But,if they were bad, they stayed bad. My team just happened to be bad. Make that very bad. The Mets were lovable losers. Never picked to win anything, I did, as luck would have it, enjoyÂ my teamsÂ first three World Series at an age that I can still recall all of them vividly. My Mets had the great Tom Seaver. I still remember the first time I heard his name and he is the reason I became a Met fan. He was and probably still is, the single greatest Met to ever wear our uniform. It was, as any Met fan knows well, the worst day in our lives when they traded him to the Reds. You see times were different then, and Tom Seaver belonged to us. He wasn’t supposed to go anywhere. After all, not many guys moved around much back then especially a star like Tom Terrific. Who wasÂ I going to root for now on my team. This was my first scar as a fan.
I don’t watch all the major sports but I do like to watch football. I didn’t do to well picking a football team either, w
hen I chose the Minnesota Vikings. In retrospect, my choice of the Vikings didn’t look so bad back in 1970. It was my grand parents anniversary and I was in Momma Leone’s in Manhattan with my family celebrating the event. This would be my first experience with the Super Bowl. Thinking back on it now, I used to think it was weird that they would choose the day of the Super Bowl to celebrate, but back then the Bowl was fairly new and it didn’t garner the attention it does today.
Being that as it may, the Purple People Eaters were playing and I just had to make them my team. What kid wouldn’t pick the Purple People Eaters for their favorite football team. The Vikings had a tremendous defense which is why they went to four Super Bowls in eight years. Unfortunately other teams had better defenses when they met the Vikings in Super Bowls. Four visits, four losses. Not a good record and to date they have never gotten back there. Yeah we had some good teams but we couldn’t get over the hump.This would be scar number two.
Being a fan, epecially for some 40 years, the scars never heal. This is where it becomes hard to be a fan. Although years pass and players change our need to heal the scars never wanes. Being a fan of a losing team only makes it harder because it never seems that we can get that win that makes us forgive and forget the past wounds. This is why it is harder on fans then it is on the players they root for. The players don’t have years and yearsÂ invested in the team they play on, but we do. While those players were in diapers we were rooting for our team. When those same players retire, we will still be rooting for our team.
I woke up. I woke up one day and decided that my teams wins and losses were no longer important in my life. I don’t watchÂ much baseball anymore because for one thing I am sick of the drugs, the high priced players who never stick around, and the fact that I have to pay to watch them now. I don’t stay home on Sundays anymore to watch football, because when the weather is nice its hard for me to waste a day indoors watching television…any television. Life has too much to offer me other that watching sports and I am sure that on my dying bed I won’t be thinking I should have watched more sports.
I am a fan. I am still a fan. I am a fan but now I know my limits and because of that I can appreciate sports as entertainment and nothing more. My memories of the Mets and the Vikings are still intact and the scars never do heal, but life is so much bigger than sports, and I am spending my spare time…. trying to grab a piece of it.
The Regular Guy