Reflections of a 40-Year-Old Virgin

I have lived for 40 years without ever having to suffer through the pain of watching my favorite team being blown to smithereens. Well, I’ve seen it before but it didn’t hurt. That streak is officially over. The Reds are being blown up as I type. While I understand why it must occur, I didn’t anticipate the level of sorrow I would feel while watching it happen. I’ve always been a fan of Cincinnati’s professional sports teams, many of which have had the proverbial ‘fire sale’ over the years and began the rebuilding process. The thing is, though, I’ve only recently become a rabid sports fan and truly emotionally invested in my teams. It didn’t hurt in the past because sports were merely background noise to me. Somewhere over the last 7-8 years that all has changed.

Watching my team being parted out like an old Ford truck has led to some uncomfortable, and frankly, unexpected self-reflection. I have felt genuine emotions over this and the emotions have run the gamut. Grief, anxiety, betrayal, and even optimism all have emerged. I feel like I shouldn’t feel like this.

Upon hearing that Brayan Peña was going to St. Louis, my mind’s eye conjured up a scene with Judas Iscariot in the Garden of Gethsemane. He kissed our cheeks here in Cincinnati then ran into the protective arms of the team I most hate. St. Louis takes everything I love; namely the pennant. I feel like they don’t deserve him.  What in the hell kind of nonsense is this for a reasonably sane, grown-ass-man to be feeling?

Perhaps these feelings indicate an unhealthy obsession with sports. Karl Marx said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Perhaps in my case it’s sports rather than religion. I ingest sports talk all day while at work then rush home and fire up the DVR to watch the ESPN programming that aired during my work day. I even listen to the nonsense about the NBA and NHL and I hate the NBA and NHL (just because we don’t have those sports here – otherwise I’d be equally rabid about them). Don’t even get me started on Fantasy Football.

Not for nothing but I am also clinging hard to this year’s variety of post-football-season-depression as I watch the Reds being dismantled. That playoff loss to the Steelers team that shall remain nameless… That one really stung!

I feel sorry for you poor saps reading this that have had to endure this as intensely as I currently am but on multiple occasions. I’m looking at you Cubs fan.

It seems that I have let sports consume me to the level of absurdity. I have let sports consume me to the level of actual emotional trauma. Does this happen to fans of teams that suck for long stretches or is it a byproduct of having a couple of relatively successful franchises? Hey, I said relatively. All I know is that it’s time for me to put a shock collar on my sports obsession and train it to get back in its crate after the game and stop letting it roam freely through the living room, destroying my mini blinds and pissing on the leg of the apothecary table.

“Sports, we need to set some boundaries; some emotional guard rails. I’ve given you the best of me. I’ve showered you with attention and I’m not pleased with how you’re treating me right now. If you’re not careful, you’re going to lose me.

“Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t quit you.”

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