It has been two days since the Atlanta Falcons’ heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. I am still trying to emotionally recover from it.
Yeah, I know how silly that sounds. It’s “just” a dumb game right? It’s “just” sports. I have repeated that to myself a lot since Sunday.
Why should it bother me this much? I don’t play for the Falcons. I have absolutely no interaction with any of the players except for a tweet response from Atlanta Falcons’ Tight End Austin Hooper. What happened on Sunday doesn’t have any affect on my life or my job in any way.
So what is my problem?
Not only am I climbing out of my funk but I am also mad at myself for being this way. Why should any of this matter?
Psychologists say that rooting for a sports team provides us a sense of belonging. Sports offers an escape from the daily grind of work and life. It bolsters our self-esteem and creates a sense of pride. We tend to love the distraction from our everyday lives and like to identify with something bigger than ourselves.
Okay, it sounds like I need a psychiatrist.
I have asked myself the same question over the last two days: “What does sports matter this much to me?”
I don’t really know the answer. I have always been this way.
My first memory of how I started this psychological path was with high school football. The first sports game I ever attended was a high school football game. It was an exciting game and I have been hooked since then. I guess it was a way of escape for me – to leave reality for a few minutes and try to be a part of the team I was supporting. I even tried to play football in high school but quickly realized that I couldn’t overcome my physical limitations. So, that left me with the only option of supporting my teams in being a fan.
I once had season tickets for the local high school football team where I lived and I never attended the school and never had anyone playing yet I was totally involved as if I did. Even now on Friday nights during the fall, I still listen to Georgia high school football games on the Internet and keep track of what’s going on even though I am living in Tennessee.
Since the beginning, my fan behavior expanded from high school football to other sports. I used to follow basketball but after I spent several seasons covering high school basketball games for local newspapers, I was done with basketball after that. I don’t follow high school, college or professional. I might watch an occasional game but I never keep up with how any of the teams are doing.
So why am I taking the Falcons’ loss so hard?
I started following the Falcons in 1977 when they were starting to be a good team for the first time in their history and made the playoffs in 1978. Then there was that “heartbreaking” loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980 playoffs which has now been replaced with Sunday’s loss to New England. I guess it’s like a movie, you follow the story of each season. The good and the bad. Then when you reach the place of an ultimate accomplishment, you feel as if you have done it. Now, that sounds weird when I see it on the screen. What the Falcons do on the field doesn’t reward me with more salary at work and I don’t get a trophy to put on display.
I don’t even live in Atlanta or in the State of Georgia anymore. I have even added teams in Nashville to my fan following. So now I have been emotionally involved in the Titans and the Predators. Don’t even get me started on the Predators and last year’s playoffs.
After Sunday, I have to ask myself why I need something else to stress me out? Why add these sports dramas to my life? They are supposed to be an escape – not added stress.
I’m taking a break from sports. I’m not watching the Predators or anything else for a while. I don’t know how long but I just need a break. Somehow my personality just gets way too involved and emotional about it.
If it’s true that we use sports as an “escape” from our lives, that may have been the case for the first 46 years of my life, but it isn’t now. I don’t need an escape or attach myself to a sports team for some kind of self-esteem issues. My life is good and my self-esteem is in pretty good condition these days.
I do love sports. I guess that part of me will never change. Had things been different, I may have had a permanent career in sports writing. I will still write in my blog about sports, but for now, I just need to back it down.