Monday, December 31, 2012

Caring Too Much...

Last night was phenomenal. This was THE game. Against THAT team. It was a long time coming.

And the stress of it gave me a headache.

If you ask my parents, I’ve been a fan since before I was born. Mom says I’d jump around inside her so much while she watched the games with my dad that she swore I’d turn out to be a cheerleader. Ummmm...not so much with that, but still. Lifelong fan here, through A LOT of bad years, and although I shy away from trash talk, fans of certain other teams don’t mind dishing it out anyway.
I’m talking about the game that would determine who clinched the NFC East Division title as well as who would move on to the playoffs.

Traditionally, over the past few years decades, these games have not gone well for us, and the sportscasters weren’t shy about voicing their doubts that this one would be any different. It didn’t matter that we went from 3-6 to win seven straight games. It didn’t matter that so many Sportscasters (coughTerryBradshawcough) already had to eat their words regarding their predictions for our final record. It didn’t even matter that we have, arguably, the most explosive rookie QB/RB duo in the NFL right now.

None of it mattered unless we won the game.

And, although like every other game this season, it came down to the finger-chomping final minute of the game, we did.

And all I have to say is


Okay, that’s not really all I have to say. I’m proud of my Redskins. Since last night I’ve pretty much been watching Sportscenter on a loop and clicked in to Comcast’s On Demand game highlights so I can, you know, actually ENJOY them this time around. Even if our playoff run ends after one game, I’m still elated that my team has gotten this far.

But what’s the big deal? How would it really have affected my life if things had gone the other way? I might have (okay, I know I WOULD have) taken some ribbing from acquaintances of mine who, for some reason unknown, call themselves fans of the other team. (A few of these friends couldn’t pick a football out of a lineup, but that's beside the point.) But really, that’s not exactly life-altering.

Sometimes I think I care too much.

Oh who am I kidding? I know I do. I care about pretty much everything too much.

In some cases, this isn’t bad. Caring about my students pushes me to do my best to meet their individual needs and to encourage their growth. Caring about those in need keeps me donating money that might otherwise go to Starbucks to provide safe drinking water and educational opportunities to children in third world countries. Caring about real people helps me stay others-focused. Caring too much, in these instances, is a good thing.

I’m not sure I could make the same argument for the same devotion to my football team. But good or bad, in the case of sports, television shows, books…once I’m invested, I’m all in.

And that’s what I think what my favorite authors do so well. They make me care about the characters so much that I have an emotional reaction when they struggle, when they suffer setbacks, and when they triumph.

They make me care. Sometimes too much.

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