Here are the facts: I’m a New York Giants fan. The Giants absolutely suck this year. While they are not out of it officially or mathematically, the “not so Big Blue” has basically reached the point of no return. What does all this mean? That Sundays are the worst.
Order the pizza. Buy the beer. Clear a few hours from my schedule. Invite people over. Get amped. Watch it all go wrong faster than Eli Manning’s rap career. Eat too much pizza in frustration by the end of the first quarter. Drink too many beers out of utter hopelessness at half-time. Half-heartedly attempt to dissuade people from leaving in the middle of the third quarter, then let too much cheese and alcohol lull me to sleep and save me from suffering through a dreadful fourth quarter.
But not this Sunday. The Giants had already taken care of their weekly debacle on Thursday. I was free. My Jets friends have been harassing me to root for the only New York team with any wins. My girlfriend very sweetly has been encouraging me to join Who Dat Nation and root for the Saints. As luck would have it, both teams were on TV today, playing the Steelers and the Patriots, respectively. It was a sports-hate double-header – my decision couldn’t have been any simpler.
I was also very hungover, so I was glued to my couch.
There’s no point rehashing the games, but if you don’t know, the Steelers picked up their first win of the season against the Jets who are who we thought they were. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick did Tom Brady and Bill Belichick things (which may or may not include sacrificing kittens on demonic altars), guiding their team to a miracle win with 5 seconds left to knock the Saints from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Yep, the Sunday I’d been waiting for.
There’s a weird thing that happens when you watch sports: you start to feel like you have some impact on the outcome. I wanted to apologize to my Jets friends for tainting their team with my support. I felt like I should send my girlfriend flowers because I killed the Saints’ chances at a perfect revenge season for getting screwed by Roger “Hey, look at me, I’m pretending to care about player safety” Goodell last year. I got to thinking that maybe it wasn’t just sports – I might even be responsible for the government shutdown. No idea was too absurd.
Contemplating how I was going to make it right, I turned on the ALCS in hopes of watching Detroit slap Boston around, but realistically expecting the Red Sox to complete my trifecta of failure. But that isn’t happening. Scherzer’s been brilliant. The Tigers’ bats have come alive. They’re playing with urgency and it’s helping me realize something important: when I’m at home, sports essentially occur in a vacuum. I have no impact on these teams. The Jets are not good. In fact, they might even be terrible. Pittsburgh is the blind squirrel that finally found its nut. And football teams lose (with one notable exception). If the Saints go on to win it all, no one will care if they were 15-1 or 16-0. And the Giants suck. Horribly. I’ve seen enough to know that it’s not me - it’s them.
My Sunday ritual will still be Sisyphean in nature, but at least I don’t have to worry about my role in it. I can finally drop the guilt – I’m free.
That, and Boston’s still losing – so I must be doing something right.
Update – Sunday night, 11:44pm: Boston won, they scored five runs over the eighth and ninth to come away with the win. Clearly this is my fault. Sundays are still the worst.