Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hook 'Em Horns

It's no secret that in Texas, football might as well be the only sport. But it wasn't until recently that I've gotten on board with even watching football with any sense of enjoyment. I didn't understand all the rules and why 60 minutes of play seemed to take at least two hours in real time. I preferred tennis and soccer. A particularly fond memory I have is from a get-ahead summer school class I took when the teacher slipped me the score of a World Cup match during a test. I would never have needed the same courtesy to know how the Packers were doing or how many touchdowns the Patriots had.

I think much of the reason I shunned football was simply the faux rebellion which taints most teenage years. We're always looking for something really popular to hate so we can feel superior to the masses. Now, I'm secure in my individuality and I don't care if being a football fan makes me one of millions. Which isn't to say that people who don't like football aren't secure, just for me, the only reason I kept so far away from the sport was simply because of outside neuroses.

The turning point for me really came after my first semester in college. My Texas nostalgia was in full swing as I found myself away from home and my favorite state-wide grocery store chain. It just so happened that that particular year, the UT Austin Longhorns won the championship. I watched, anxious for my newly-found team to represent the state I had abandoned. When we won, I was ecstatic, but I still wasn't a full-on football convert. Only this football season have I tried to watch as many games as possible, and spent many hours watching ESPN commentary. Much of this was spurred by simply having nothing better to watch, but now, I'm invested.

Tonight, for those that don't know, the Longhorns will face the Crimson Tide in the championship game. We're underdogs, and pretty much the only state in an ESPN poll that thinks we're going to win is Texas. More people think Alabama will win with double digits than think UT will win at all. I have hope that we'll win, but I dread losing. It will mean not watching ESPN for a couple of days. And then what will I do!?

One sign that I truly like football is how painful it is to watch the Longhorns play now. The more I care, the less pleasurable it is to watch my chosen team. I can't watch Andy Roddick play tennis without being stressed out beyond reason, and the same is true of UT. The championship game tonight will not be enjoyable unless it is always clear that we will win, and I know that is not going to happen (whoever wins, it won't be obvious). So spare a thought for me, and send me calming vibes!

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