Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Game Time

"I'm ready for the playoff games," my husband gleefully says as he drops two enormous bags of sunflower seeds on our kitchen counter. After I roll my eyes, I ask, "Aren't those a month away?" He replies, "I'll pace myself."

You see, my dear husband is a Yankees - gasp! - fan. I know, I know. "Their high payroll is unfair and over-the-top...blah blah blah." Oh, get over it. I did. In fact, 9 years into our marriage I decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Well, that backfired as I found myself weeping at their World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. (But I had recently given birth to my firstborn, so I'll blame the hormone imbalance.)

Maybe it's the classy uniform. Could simply be the opportunity to gawk at Derek Jeter. Or perhaps it's the pure allure of New York. I've probably watched Sleepless in Seattle one too many times, or it's my addiction to Regis and Kelly, but I heart NY!

At any rate, I do enjoy watching Derek - er, I mean, the Yankees - now and then. Especially since they do tend to win a lot. I like teams that win a lot.

But I can't handle it when they blow it in the end and leave me in a pool of tears.

Thus my current lack of passion for my first conversion: the Oakland Raiders. Again, my husband has been a big fan since he was a kid. And he nearly turned me into a bigger fan than himself during the days of Jon Gruden...and I felt completely ripped off when they later played Gruden's new team, Tampa Bay, in the Super Bowl. How unfair can you get?! You can't win when the opposing team's coach has the inside scoop on all your weaknesses!!!! My blood still boils at the memory.

My favorite player in those "successful Raider days" was Regan Upshaw. Sure he took cheap shots. He was huge.

And brutal.

He exemplified all that people despise about the Raiders, I suppose - but I loved him. Or, more specifically, I loved his tackles. Honestly, whenever someone took a solid hit from that guy, you could almost hear them say his name in their caught-off-guard grunt of pain. "UP-Shaaaaaaaaw!"

But after they broke my heart in Super Bowl XXXVII, and then came back the next year with no ability to win whatsoever, my Raiders pride dwindled considerably.

Oh, believe me, I still get a little stirred up if I see a rival Broncos fan. And I may have the urge to rear end someone sporting a Chargers bumper sticker, but I manage to control myself. Usually. (My godson is an avid Broncos fan and for his 12th birthday I did send him army men-sized Broncos to blow up in a bottle-rocket. He does that sort of thing. Normally with little army men. I thought he should give the servicemen a break and pick on someone who deserved it.)

And so I'm becoming eerily familiar again with the TV-hogging that will go on in the next several weeks as my husband plops himself down with sunseeds in hand to watch endless hours of baseball.

I can't bear to watch that much baseball.

Unless the Yankees end up in the World Series again. In which case, I'll snatch that Dakota Kid bag faster than you can say "Steinbrenner" and I'll be absorbed by swinging pinstripes.

And in the end, if the outcome is not in my favor...I will do what any heartbroken sports fanatic does.

I'll grab the chips and dip and get on my game face. It's time to move on. After all, it's football season.

And my Raiders are due.

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