The makings of a true sports fan

Published 8:57 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is it normal to watch an athletic event and experience aches and pains as the event goes on? Is it normal to need to take a breath after an intense moment in the game? If it isn’t, then I have a problem.

In working in community newspapers, the usual line of objectivity is not all that true. When local teams play, we want them to win. When local teams play each other, well, then we are objective.

But, that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the games as a sports fan would. The only exception is we can’t necessarily scream out when we see a bad call or celebrate when our team scores. We have to keep it under our breath; caged in as it were. That’s where one point of exhaustion comes in.

The other, for me, comes when watching sports as a fan.

Watching the final laps of a particular race, I feel like I am leaning into the steering wheel, urging the car just a little faster. When the final seconds are ticking off the clock and my favorite team is ahead, it feels like I am holding my breath until the scoreboard reads all zeroes.

It is this sense of excitement, the sense of exhilaration and the sense of disappointment that makes a real sports fan. It is this involvement in the events we watch that make us hurt when our teams lose and happy when our teams win.

To this day, I still ache a little at Dwight Clark’s catch against the Cowboys in the 1982 NFC Championship game, and that was over 26 years ago. I also still feel the adrenaline from helping Sid Bream reach home and the Braves win in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series; putting the Braves in the World Series.

Maybe it is these bumps and bruises, lost breaths and anxious moments that make us real fans.

Now, for the love of God, can Dwight Clark please drop that pass?