The sportswriter King Kaufman writes a daily column on Salon, an online magazine. In a recent column he wrote how his “fan-light was dimming.” He asked others whose allegiance to their favorite teams had waxed and waned to write in with their experiences. Here’s mine:
Am I a Lost Fan? I suppose that I am. Gone are the days of sports on T.V.–no cable, so no ESPN. No seven hour NFL marathons on Sundays. Gone are my season tickets to Syracuse University basketball games. What’s replaced my sports diet? Sports Illustrated and King Kaufman’s daily column online keep me up-to-date on all sports, I spend less than an hour altogether on my sports fix.
I refer to this new state of affairs as the “Big P”. Perspective. I’m no longer a kid. I have a job, a wife and a home (with a lawn that will not stay cut.) My best friend is my wife. We spend what free time we have together and she doesn’t like spectator sports. We work in the yard, go for walks with our dogs, just hang out.
What have I lost? When Syracuse won the NCAA championship in 2003 (my fondest dream since their first Final Four in 1975) it was in a year when I saw no games in person and no games except the NCAA games on TV. It felt a little sad. I’ve lost touch with the people I used to go to games with, so I didn’t even have many people to talk to about the games. I even got yelled at by my wife for scaring the dogs when I let out a terrific scream when Hakim Warrick made the amazing block to seal the victory.
Saddest of all, my dad passed away in 2002, before Syracuse’s 2003 NCAA championship and the Red Sox 2004 World Series championship. I remember the protracted psychological war I waged as a kid to convince my dad to buy us season basketball tickets. I remember the stories he used to tell of watching the Red Sox at Fenway while on leave from his New Hampshire naval base during WWII. He retired to Arizona, but we would keep in touch by phone during big games.
As a sports fan, I never wanted anything more than these two championships. But now both victories are bittersweet. I would give both of them back if I could have my father around to say “wait ’til next year!”