It’s not like I have a lot of bad addictions. I don’t drink, smoke, or take drugs (other than a helpful Aspirin every now and then). It is the Aspirin taking I am used to only when suffering headaches at my only real addiction, the Philadelphia Eagles.
As I write this we are anticipating the infamous “outdoor Superbowl” with fans worried about the weather. I can relate – I had my “Superbowl” experience last fall at Penn State.
My brother Rob is a die-hard Penn State fan. Late last year we went to watch Penn State play Nebraska in Happy Valley.
Happy Valley was, for those moments, torturous valley. Wind chills well below zero with snow squalls throughout the game. To go, I had to miss a warm, comfortable high school class reunion with old friends.
Instead, I opted for miserable cold, freezing despite my heaviest layered clothing. Thinking more about my own survival rather than, I don’t know, how close the home team was to winning the game.
After inevitably losing the football game, we spent another torturous hour in sub-freezing temperatures trying to find Rob’s car in the expansive parking lot. He kept insisting his car was in one lot, a million miles away from the stadium, and I knew better, because my memory is intact. Rob and I reconnoitered at the stadium entrance and, with help from some fine security folks, finally found our car. And just in time, because we almost froze to death.
A couple of years ago, with tickets in hand, I was set to attend a Vikings-Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. However, because weather forecasters were calling for a huge snow storm, the game was postponed until a Tuesday night. Who plays professional football on Tuesday nights?
And by the way, the Eagles lost.
There is a hell for fans, however, and this could be it:
You’ve coughed up $7,000 to fly from Seattle or Denver to watch your favorite team at the Superbowl at the Meadowlands Stadium on Feb. 2. Why? Because you have to be with your team at their moment of honor. You cough it up because you are a #1 “fan” – you wear the Jersey of quarterback #3 or quarterback #18 – you want to be there for them, with them, in their triumphant moment. You are secure in the knowledge they will win because of the great karma you bring to the field.
They won’t let you down.
But then again, somebody has to lose.
Then comes that moment of stark clarity, when the fireworks launch and the ticker tape blows all about you, that your team has lost. You are cold and far from home. You are freezing. Your team has lost. You are down $7,000. Can it get any worse? Yes! You realize you have a long, miserable plane ride back home.
On the plane or maybe back on land, you come to grips with the fact that the loser of the past 10 Superbowls has not returned to the Superbowl the next year. Any many times, not for several years. And sometimes never.
And you wonder, in these moments, if you should try to take on another, less costly addiction.
But you are a fan. You have only fan-sanity to ease your mind. You are content. You have to be.