The bowl game ended late and miserably. When the team did well Facebook lit up with loyal call-outs and updates. Everyone was a fan. But last night, after a certain point, such posts on public forums were conspicuously absent. In the aftermath, my neighborhood is quiet. Nobody is wearing the team colors or admitting that they cringed through the second half. Nobody is talking about it at all. The neighbor’s custom-built sign on their roof has been turned off.
Maybe it’s harder on the younger ones who still believe. But I think it’s harder on my generation that gathered on game days to cheer through the glory days of the 80’s and the Heisman win of ’90. We lived our loyalty with enthusiasm and were rewarded every Saturday with a victory. We immortalized the names of quarterbacks, wide-receivers and all the offensive play-makers.* We good-naturedly shook hands at church with our neighbors that rooted for “the other school.”
We felt we could do anything because once a week watching our team was better than attending an Amway rally. Our team conquered, and so we dreamed big and set out to conquer too.
No, maybe it is harder on this generation. They don’t have that. The team is like any other college team—some weeks they win, some week they don’t. Lately, often they don’t. It no longer inspires us.
And now that the holidays are winding down and the slushy commute and grueling hours of work begin again, it’s easy to feel like the team that was stopped so often, not just by their opponents, but by themselves. To talk ourselves out of taking risks, out of going for that long pass, because if we do, it will probably just get intercepted in the end-zone.
*This year I was told we had one of the best defenses in the nation. My first thought was, “defense?”