In Bruce Feldman's latest blog entry, he has a quick interview with Clay Travis, mostly about Tennessee football, with whom Travis, a die-hard Vols fan, spent the 2008 seasons in preparation for a book (sorry for the excessively run-on sentence). As someone whose emotional state is closely tied to Michigan football, I found his response to Feldman's final question very interesting:
You clearly had grand expectations for 2008. What did you learn about yourself as a fan through this experience?
Great question. I'd break it down this way.
1. Being a fan is illogical. There's no way to justify the way we root for -- and the amount we care about -- the men or women wearing our uniforms. There just isn't any way to justify it from a rational sense. I think once you accept the illogical basis of your actions it becomes easier to manage. I know once I stopped rationalizing why games made me feel like they did, I could just enjoy the process so much more.
2. There's a huge distinction between "doing" and "feeling." We handle our emotions better when it comes to the things that we ourselves do. Our jobs, for instance. If we personally fail at something, we can work at getting better. But if we feel something, we're governed by passion. Fans are governed by feeling, players actually do something, so there's a difference in how both groups respond to the losses.
3. No matter how many people watch the games, no matter how many people care about the outcomes, as I realized on the team bus ride to Georgia, these are just guys playing a game. Sometimes I think it's helpful to remember that. Even when you're so upset over a loss that you want to yank your hair out and jump off a building.
I'm sure I'll completely forget this once the season starts, but I thought Travis did a nice job of putting things into a little perspective.