That will be the sign I put up in my office window this week. After watching my Baltimore Ravens get their crabcakes handed to them by the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, I’ve decided to go into a sports hibernation for the next several months. There will be no ESPN SportsCenter in the morning as I get ready to go to work. No flipping through a dozen online sports pages to get the latest information on the teams I follow. And absolutely zero games on my television.
Am I bitter about the Ravens laying an egg on national television? Not really. To be honest, I’m not one of those guys who locks himself up in a dark room if my team loses. I just shake my head, turn off the television and find something else to keep me occupied. It’s not life and death, after all.
It’s a game.
But there’s another very real element that comes with the territory of being a fan of a team — taunting. I make it a practice to not answer my phone when it inevitably rings at the final whistle of every game the Ravens play. This has come only after years of picking up the phone to be greeted by laughter or an innocent-sounding friend telling me he missed the game and wondering if I could give him the final score.
But my friends have gotten wise to my evasion technique, and they’ve utilized technology to get their points across. For instance, following the Ravens’ season-ending loss to the Colts, I ignored three phone calls that came within about six minutes of the game’s conclusion. Not surprisingly, none of these callers bothered leaving voice mails because they (correctly) assumed I would just delete them before hearing their jabs at me and my team.
So, they resorted to texts. Though I can’t possibly print some of these (since this is a family paper, after all), let me give you a little sample:
“Who do the Ravens play next?”
“Three points? You guys scored three points? If they played that game for another four days you guys still wouldn’t have gotten a touchdown.”
For the record, I am not a member of the Ravens organization, so “you guys” doesn’t make any sense. In fact, that always bothers me with sports fans — the constant references to “us” or “we” that fans use when referring to the team of which they are a fan. It’s like this sad little fantasy world where people fill a hole in their lives by putting themselves into situations that can only be realized in a dream. It’s just like Bob Bertram dressing up in...
But I digress.
I seem defensive, don’t I? That’s only because I’ve been getting clobbered by every football fan I know who doesn’t like the Ravens. It would be one thing if the people taunting me were actually fans of the Colts. No, these are fans of the Eagles (knocked out one week earlier), the Falcons (not in the playoffs), the Steelers (sitting next to the Falcons and watching the playoffs) and the Redskins (are they still even in the NFL?).
Actually, I can’t clobber the Colts fans, simply because I don’t think I personally know any. Oh, I was a Colts fan as a kid, as were many of my friends who were tired of the Redskins hysteria in Washington, D.C., when they actually fielded a competitive team, but my loyalties to the horseshoe died the day they rolled out of town in Mayflower moving vans.
And, besides, from what I gather from hearing them on national sports talk stations, the Colts fans seem pretty friendly for the NFL. I was going to chalk that up to Indianapolis being in the Midwest, but I do know several Bears fans, and they are not nearly as easy-going and friendly as Colts fans appear.
It must just be the great state of Indiana.
Regardless, I’m done with sports for now. I’m going to take a mental break from the grind of following a team and put that energy into re-reading some of the classics and getting caught up on some movies I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet. It’s time to put away the childish things I thought as a child and move on to the wonders of being a man.
Well, right after the Capitals game. What time do they drop the puck?