I’m probably past the point where I would logically expect to have a midlife crisis or some other sort of existential hassles. And as I’m generally a content kind of guy, that stuff really isn’t my style anyway.
Unless, apparently, we’re talking about football.
I was strolling through the Mall at Robinson this afternoon and I was struck with a question:
Why am I making myself miserable every single football season when I could be enjoying myself?
Here’s what prompted the question. Every store in the mall has Steelers stuff up in their windows. Everyone is wearing football gear. Everyone is talking about Sunday’s game. I have a well-worn Newsbreak shtick where I gripe about the endless Steeler stuff, but if I were a fan, I would have jumped in with both feet a long time ago.
I was a huge NFL football fan until 1995. I went with some great seasons — albeit some with hugely frustrating endings — with my Cleveland Browns until that point.
And then my team was stolen, with the blessings of the league. And even since the team came back, I’ve been largely absent from NFL fandom. In the four years I went without the Browns, I learned to live without Sunday football; since the team rejoined the league, I’ve had precious few reasons to get excited about anything they’ve done. And in a league that is built to make sure all its teams have a shot at being competitive, the only reason I can find for a decade of embarrassing, barely professional football in Cleveland is complete and total incompetence, from the owner on down.
And I’m tired of it.
Still, as I’ve lived in Pittsburgh area for that entire decade, that question has never popped into my head. I’ve had people ask me why I’m not a fan of the local team; I have plenty of friends here who aren’t natives but have had no trouble assimilating.
So what’s my deal? Am I admirably loyal? Or am I just an idiot?
For the past two years, a native friend of mine who is as frustrated by the Pirates as I am by the Browns has offered me a trade: He’ll dump the Pirates in favor of the Cleveland Indians fan if I make the reverse switch in the fall. I’ve never taken him up on his offer, but on the ride back home from Robinson this afternoon, I started thinking about the possibility.
In theory, it would be easy. I already know more about the Steelers day-to-day than I do about the Browns and I don’t think I would have too much trouble finding gear I would like — I look good in black and I already own two terrible towels.
Having said that, I’m not even sure it would be possible. I’m talking about a team that I’ve hated for years; along with my feelings for pro football in general, that’s kind of faded towards indifference recently, but it still could be tough to try to flip a switch and change my allegiance. It might even be impossible.
But you guys know me — I’m all for fun, and if I had already found a different approach to Sunday football, I’d be having a lot more fun than I am now.
So, I’m curious to hear what y’all think about this one. Am I a horrible person for even letting this cross my mind? Or am I moron for trying to hang on to something well past the point that any sane person could be expected to do so?