A Sports Hangover

When the NFL season ends, sports fans return to their neutral corners and take up cheering for those sports that we do not share as a nation. Basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer (futbol) become the soup of the day, and were search for fellow fans in crowded and dark pubs.

Football is an American sport; pundits and owners can play as many games as they need to in the UK and Europe, but it remains a North American obsession. These other, less- popular, sports here in the States generally involve stars from around the globe. Fans of the NBA are treated to European players who look at American sports far differently than someone who grew up in Indiana or watches Hoosiers incessantly. Soccer is a truly international sport and we have to come to terms with our ignorance of geography when we look at the World Cup standings.

So, if we’re being honest, sports watched from the middle of February until the end of August are really just the Monday following a hard weekend of drinking and a Sunday Fun-day. As we grind through the season, we slowly start to think about what life is like with football on Sundays, Mondays, and (sigh) Thursdays. We contemplate a world where we get more variety for our insatiable lust for organized sports. Then, the Super Bowl comes and goes and we enter the end of the season for the NBA or the NHL—or talk about an impending World Cup. The malaise of spring training and a long MLB season teases October magic.

We watched perennial All-Star teams dominate the NBA playoffs and hoist a Larry O’Brien Trophy; someone with a distinct Russian or Canadian flare will lift the Stanley Cup; maybe we groan about the Yankees buying another championship team or lament another disappointing Oakland Athletics season that might have been. Somewhere in June or July, the chatter about the impending NFL season starts. We get excited about Sundays filled with football, forgetting that we gradually become disappointed with the disproportionate skill level of the teams— irritated by the likes of the Jaguars and Browns.

And just like that wild weekend and the horrible hangover that followed, we charge blindly, chasing the idea of fun that should be associated with watching our beloved national sport. I’m here to tell you, fellow sports fan: it will never be as good as it was. You will never experience that exact moment watching your sport of choice again.

You will always be chasing it.

Even so, I’ll be parked right next to you, screaming at the top of my lungs.

Ignorance and fun are best shared with others, no?

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Dan O’Brien wrote more than a dozen novels (all before the age of 30), including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. He currently teaches psychology at CSU, Chico. You can learn more about Amalgam by visiting his website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com.