I don’t really enjoy going to football games.
It took me a while to realize this, decades in fact.
I wasn’t able to piece it together because it’s not as if I have a bad time when I go to a game. In fact, quite the opposite. I usually have an incredible time to start, then it tapers off and I find myself experiencing the remainder of the day either really having to pee or waiting on line to pee.
Sometime a few years ago it dawned on me that the part of the day I like the most is the tailgating. And honestly, it’s not even close.
Unless my team is playing, I have no reason to go to the game. All going into the game signifies to me is more expensive food, more expensive beer, longer lines for the bathroom, more uncomfortable sitting/standing arrangements and less ability to bullshit with my friends.
To be fair, I only really tailgate once or twice a season. When I go, it’s with a fairly large group of people and for them it’s one of their only tailgating opportunities of the year. So, we bring the good food and the beer (notice how I omitted the qualifier “good” before the beer, of course). We get there hours before the game and get the music and games and all that shit going early.
It’s an absolute motherfucking blast and if the weather’s nice there’s few things on this Earth better than a really good tailgate with your best friends. If the event you’re tailgating for is something you’re super-psyched for… all the better.
But that’s what makes the tailgate so amazing. Rare, if ever, is the occasion where the pre-party the clear topper of the party.
This, friends, is that situation.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: That moment when you realize the tailgate is over and you’re inside the walls of the event. Lines longer, beer more expensive. It’s a nightmare, and it’s only just begun.
My two favorite sports are easily basketball and baseball. However, depending on what part of the year you ask me, my answer will easily be one or the other.
That’s because nothing beats your favorite sport starting up again.
There’s so many reasons this is an incredible feeling, many of which are obvious.
From the fan’s perspective, there’s the obvious: renewed hope this could be the year. No one will get hurt on your team, only on the other teams. The breaks will finally go your way. The young players will all reach potentials, the old players will maintain. If you play fantasy sports, that starts up again. You get to go to games again. You have something to do at night again.
It’s all good, and it’s all fairly obvious.
Two other, slightly less obvious, reasons this is a great feeling?
First off, they signal new weather. Football and basketball season signal the coming of fall and winter. Baseball quite plainly signals that those two are over and better weather lies ahead. Even though I can’t say I’m a big fan of winter, each of these sports seasons ushering in a new weather season associates positive memories for me.
The other reason has become much more apparent to me as time has gone on. Boiled down, it’s really just the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” theory. Inevitably, the length of a professional sports team wears on an adult fan. If you’re a fan of a good team that has legit aspirations of postseason play, you’re likely ready for said playoffs by around the midway-to-three-quarter mark of the season.
But after a full offseason, that exhausted feeling is a distant memory. It’s only excitement, only joy about the start of your favorite sport season FINALLY getting going.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Every sport has this point where all you want is the season to end and just get to the postseason. That point, specifically in basketball, happens in the dreary month of February so it’s doubly a downer.
This comes about because of that LeSean McCoy to the Bills trade from last week. Sure, everyone wants to think about how much better the Bills ground game might be, or what the Eagles plan to do (or why they did it). But, does anyone stop to think about how fucking awesome it is to be a Bills fan?
First off, yes, I realize, no one has typed that sentence in about 20 years (if ever). But secondly, and more importantly, it’s true.
Think about it… You’re a Bills fan last week, minding your own business, focusing on whatever it is that’s captured your attention for the moment… snow, how underwhelming the movie Focus is, whatever… and then, boom, out of absolutely nowhere, one of the top five running backs in the league (and definitely top three if take out child beaters and overworked Cowboys) lands in your lap.
It’s one thing to be a fan of team pursuing a player, and then to eventually land said guy. Sure, getting LeBron James back as a Cavs fan is amazing. Even doubly so because of the history you had with the dude. But, those people out there had an inkling it might go down.
Bills fans? Absolutely no way. And that is the fun of it.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling? Looking back at this move at the end of the season, realizing how excited you got and then glumly looking at your 7-9 record and 900 total yards for McCoy. Or, that foolishly purchased home McCoy jersey.