I'm officially that type of "old" where I'd rather sit on my couch watching a big game rather than go to a packed, loud bar with a million other people. Sweatpants, a cold sixer, and a rip-roaring fire just tickle my fancy more than a bunch of fans-but-not-really-fans over-cheering at a bar just for an excuse to get drunk. Yeah, between Old Man Body and I we pretty much have all the attributes of the cast of Grumpy Old Men.
There's absolutely nothing better than getting a great game rapport going with your best friends. You have the same inside jokes about certain players, you understand the dynamic of the situation and game at hand, and you obey all of the same unwritten rules without worry. But, there's always that moment of shock and awe when an outsider is brought in and they completely stomp on everything sacred. Those outsiders seem to be the least self-aware people on the planet and perpetually cause steam to come out of my ears during a time where I should be chillin' the most.
These outsiders, you ask?
The Over-The-Top Female Fan.
We get it. You went out and bought a pink-style jersey so you could look fashionable for this playoff run. In your mind, the louder you yell, the better fan you are.
Well, I got news for ya: we see right through you and I'm currently mentally blacklisting your boyfriend who brought you.
We don't have any expectations for you as a fan other than that you just need to be respectful and not say anything when something awful happens. Because, no matter what, when things go south, the mental turmoil that's going on behind our poker faces trump your in-game show of emotions ten times outta ten. Like, I'll literally lose it on you and make your boyfriend apologize to me for bringing you.
The Dude Who Thinks You Take It Too Seriously.
When you tell me I'm "taking the game too seriously", are you taking into account:
- The countless hours I've spent watching games?
- The money I've spent on tickets and gear?
- The articles and Twitter searches I've completed to be on the forefront of every bit of team news?
- The fact that I've invested 20+ years of my life to watching these teams with the sole endgame of winning a championship?
They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Well, if that's the case, then ya boy is fucking expert at watching sports. And I think you're the one who needs to assess how seriously you're taking this game.
I sat down for the 2010 Winter Olympics Gold Medal Game with someone who legitimately asked me, "Will you explain the rules to me?" Like, yeah, bro. I'd love to explain the complex rules of hockey to you while I'm also stress eating and pounding beers during the single most important USA Hockey game of my lifetime.
The Greenhorn doesn't know all the rules. He doesn't know how to handle himself during the emotional ebbs and flows of the game, often getting too excited during meaningless moments and then not understanding the importance of a big pitch or a desperation penalty kill. The Greenhorn also has no concept for the size of his "home team's" baseball park and explodes off the couch in celebration for what turns out to be a routine inning-ending fly ball to center field.
The "We'll Get Em Next Year" Guy.
Bro, I didn't endure watching 162 regular season games that took up prime hours of my summer so we could "get em next year." I appreciate you trying to find the silver lining in bombing out of the playoffs, but keep your condolences to yourself and let me drown my sorrows by listening to "Only God Knows Why" by Kid Rock on repeat for the next three days.
Fall 2013. American League Championship Series. Game 2. Tigers vs. Red Sox. Tigers lead 5-1. Bottom of the 8th. Bases juiced. Big Papi at bat.
We're sitting at my friend's picturesque Northern Michigan cabin after a long weekend of drinking and golfing, trying to salvage the weekend after all the devastation we put our bodies through. Our friend's sister's boyfriend stands up to leave the cabin before the game is over, letting out a "Well, I think we got this all wrapped up," as he heads towards the door. As lifelong Tigers fans, we all look at each other with dread-filled faces knowing what he had just done.
Fast forward two minutes, and then this fucking happens:
All because of The Fucking Jinxer.
The Chatter Box.
Bro, you're allowed to talk about the markets from 9:30 to 4, Monday through Friday. Don't come into my sacred zone and chat my ear off like you're Larry fuckin' Kudlow. This football game is one of my few joys in this world, and this couch is my safe haven. You're either with me or against me in watching this game, and the more off-topic you go just means that you're edging closer and closer to never getting invited anywhere by me ever again. If you want to yap to me about the great downfield blocking going on, by all means, do it. Just don't come at me with off-the-beaten-path conversations with zero relevance to the game. Not having it.
The Premature Ejaculator.
June 2nd, 2008. Game five of the Stanley Cup Finals, The Detroit Red Wings up 3-1 in the series with a chance to clinch their 11th Stanley Cup. Up 3-2 with less than a minute to play, the anticipation of winning a championship is building when a *hisssssss* falls across the room.
Some asshole started popping his champagne early, only to see Pittsburgh tie it up in regulation and later win in 3OT to capture their second game of the series. Luckily for that fucking asshole, Detroit would win game six and he would be exonerated, but he still hears about it every single year when the playoffs roll around.
And that asshole? That asshole was me.