It's summer. It's boring. We are anxiously awaiting the start of SEC Media Days, and upon its arrival we will anxiously await the start of football season. A continual rising and falling feeling takes place. The rising occurs when we look over a football schedule, and the falling occurs when we realize how far away the starting date is of said schedule. During this time, I always find it soothing (or at least preoccupying) to insanely question why I care. Not that I ever consider not caring, which is an insane thought in itself, but the question is why I continue to care so much about a certain sports team in the first place.
I'll begin with the occurrence that initiated this recent train of thought during this particular Mississippi summer. I recently received a text from a friend (a diehard San Antonio Spurs fan) the day after the Spurs lost a devastating game 6 to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. I received the following text message:
Why do we put so much emotionally into following sports teams? Seriously don't know sometimes. I was explaining to someone how disappointed I was and I kind of stopped myself and realized how insane it sounds sometimes.
I was leaving a dentist appointment in Jackson (no laughing gas involved), and I paused in the parking lot to consider his question. It was valid for sure, but I wanted to really address the heart of the question. I wanted to dig deep and try to express why I felt being emotionally invested in a sports team was worth it. After thinking it over for a minute or two in the Baptist Hospital parking lot, I felt I was ready to wax poetically on the meaning of fandom. Here is what I came up with, fragments, run-on sentences, and all:
Because all in all it's a fairly enjoyable experience. Emotionally bonding with other fans as if you're part of the same cult or have earned some special credential. Breaks up the monotony of life. Creates fairy tale story lines like worst to first which are not generally experienced in one's personal life.
The losses make the wins all that much more enjoyable, and it seems like the harder you take a loss the more you are entitled to savor a win. Because you've earned it. You give your all as a fan just like you expect the players and coaches to give their all on the court/field. And lastly, you do it to care about something greater than yourself, which is something that only a fan can understand. Sports can serve as a renaissance of the human spirit that deserves unconditional loyalty, and an experience of that nature is rare these days. That's my take anyway. And yes, it sounds insane.
Perhaps I went a bit too poetic towards the end, but I think I was pretty damn close to expressing the way I feel. I want to see Ole Miss succeed almost as bad (and sometimes more than) I want to see myself succeed. As a University of Mississippi School of Law student, I've worked this summer. I've written pointless things for the law review. I've fulfilled my CPE requirements for my CPA license. I've read several books in my spare time. In other words, "blah blah blah dull, grown-up stuff and blah blah blah." I always end up watching an Ole Miss video, counting up predicted wins and losses on our schedule, and reading ten different college football articles per day that say the same damn thing as the articles I read the day before (though those on the Cup are extremelyrewarding upon repeat views *wink wink)
The point of this post is to get you to comment on why you're a fan. Not why you're an Ole Miss fan per se, but why you feel like being a fan is worth it. Read my friend's message and tell me how you would have answered it. Tell me what I'm missing and why I'm missing it (because if you're reading this, you're just as qualified to answer that question as I). But mostly, answer the question because you have plenty of time. August 29th is a world away, and we have nothing but time to address open-ended questions such as these. But before you take to your keyboard to address the psychological issue(s) of sports and their fans, watch the video below to stir your loins. Because, as a fan, what the fuck else do you have to do?