On a day I should be celebrating the life and efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr, I find myself downtrodden and subdued. The reason? The Green Bay Packers fell to the New York Giants in today's NFC championship game at Lambeau Field. (For those of you in the states saying, "but Abby, the game was Sunday, and MLK Jr day is Monday!" just remember: I'm a day ahead, so the game was on Monday morning for me)
I tend to become emotionally invested in people, relationships, sports teams, pretty much anything, rather quickly. I've always been a Packer fan (they're the only NFL team I've ever cared about) but 3 weeks ago, I probably couldn't have told you this season's starters names, other than Brett Favre of course. The 1996, Super Bowl XXXI winning team is another story - i was a very devoted 6th grader. Anyways, when I realized they could go all the way, I became swept up in the soap opera that is the NFL post season. I desperately wanted Tom Brady and his Pats to lose so that we wouldn't have to play them in the Super Bowl - but it never occurred to me that the Pack might not pull through. Especially when playing at Lambeau, against a young, relatively untested and definitely inconsistent quarterback like Eli Manning and his Giants. Besides... we're talking about Brett Favre, the legend, here. The stars were supposed to align and grant him one more Super Bowl before he calls it quits. Now I can only hope he sticks it out one more season, but after getting so close and then suffering such a disappointing loss (23-20 in a sudden death overtime... a field goal that Tynes shouldn't have even made got the Giants through), how can we expect him to perform as well next season?
The good news here is that I have found a new love in football. I thought I hated it because I didn't understand it - but a few little tips from my boyfriend, and now I'm following it like a champ (although there are still some intricacies I don't get - why does pass interference even exist? Don't you WANT to interfere with the other team's passes? That's just an example). Now, I've got a sport to be passionate about when baseball and my White Sox are in the off season.
The bad news is, I've discovered how much it sucks when a team you've found yourself emotionally invested in loses, especially when you know that fate says they SHOULD HAVE WON. I used to watch Cubs fans die a little inside every season when their guys would inevitably choke. Do I want to subject myself to this? (Why don't I feel such pain with the Sox, you ask? Well, at first I just didn't expect much, then they won the World Series in '05, and then they blew a couple of seasons in a row... they never got really close, so the pain was duller) Is it worth it to care deeply for a team and then have your heart broken? And finally... is it weird that I actually felt heartbroken today, both for Pack fans and the Pack themselves? It could've been great... Brett Favre vs. Tom Brady... a battle of true titans. The Pats might have mopped the floor with us (they are a lot more consistent, it's true) - but at least we would have had the chance to try.
A toast, to Brett Favre and to football!