As I witnessed the Broncos' devastating loss Sunday, I was jealous of those orange and blue clad fans. I wasn't jealous because I didn't get to experience their pain. I was jealous because blood of the highest team loyalty was coursing through their veins. They love the Broncos, and I wanted a part of this excitement. These are people who live and die for football. These are people who endlessly fascinate me.
I believe there is something to be learned from these seemingly crazed fans. They've found an organization (albeit a football team) that they are willing to support until the day they die. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone whose beliefs are that steadfast these days. Religion, politics and other values are ever-changing. But the sports fans know what they love and are unafraid to display that love. Their faith is more permanent than a tattoo.
I'm not just talking about football fans. I'm talking about sports of all kinds. And I'll be lucky if I can ever experience that kind of love. Over winter break, I got a little taste as I rooted for Texas and watched them capture the Rose Bowl. But the truth is, I'm what you'd call a mediocre fan. I didn't even watch half of the game. Instead, I went shopping. And the only time I got really excited was when I watched Vince Young dominate the fourth quarter.
I'm a sophomore and I won't even tell you how few Ram football games I've attended during my college career. It's embarrassing. And I didn't even watch the Super Bowl last year. During the 2004 Summer Olympics, my total watching time probably didn't exceed one hour. I was mostly watching the swimming competitions to catch a glimpse of Michael Phelps.
Maybe I act this way because my parents never pressured me to develop a hardcore love for sports. Playing and watching sports was more of a fun, family activity as opposed to anything more serious. But now I'm older and I've realized what a great thing sports can be. There are few things more thrilling than watching athletes excel at what they do. These are physically gifted people with an undying love for what they perform in.
Currently, I live in a dorm where many of my neighbors support at least some type of team. I'm in a relationship with someone whose excessive sports knowledge literally knows no bounds. I always tell people he'd sacrifice his firstborn child to Jake Plummer. But that's just a joke – I think.
So, I've been trying to become part of the sports world. They say old dogs can't learn new tricks, but there's a huge group of fans out there I want to be a part of. Other than religion, I can't find a better group of people more dedicated to their craft. And let's face it, no medieval crusades were ever fought in the name of sports.
In the spirit of American tradition, I'm prepared to enjoy good old-fashioned fun. I'm not sure where to begin. If my quest sounds silly to some, then those people should know that I cry at episodes of "Sex and the City." I may not be able to leave that part of me behind, but maybe I can diversify my crying and share it will multiple pastimes.
And so, while I may roll my eyes with exasperation at my boyfriend's obsession with sports, secretly I admire him. I respect him along with all the other sports fanatics out there. Even if they are Steelers fans.
Megan Schulz is a sophomore technical journalism major. Her column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.