Over the years, I have learned certain things about myself. For example, I suffer from a pretty extreme obsessive compulsive disorder. The dinner plates in my cabinet are arranged according to color. The shoes in my closet are in their original boxes, labeled with the brand, style, color, and heel height. My shirts are hung in order of sleeve length, then placed by color. I cannot go into the Lego Store in Birmingham’s Galleria Mall anymore because I end up sorting all of the stray red blocks from the box of white blocks.
I know, I know. I have issues.
I have also discovered, in my years of football fandom, that I have some interesting reactions and emotions when it comes to the game. Because we began dating in the middle of the season, my poor husband was immediately thrown into my world of craziness on football Saturdays. For starters, I have a set routine on days when I am not going to a game, and something HUGE must occur (we’re talking death or maiming) for me to stray from it. I’d detail it for you, but then you’d think I’m weirder than you already do. I’m really surprised that the first Saturday my husband was subjected to the regime, he didn’t run for the hills. Instead, he has become my favorite football-watching partner.
Jon embraced the dedication and excitement he affectionately, I think, refers to as my “Insanity,” and is now as settled into the routine as this crazy wife could hope.
Jon did learn – very quickly – not to leave anything moveable within my reach. You see, when watching Alabama football, I have this little problem… It’s quite embarrassing having to tell people that the giant scratch on the far right side of our television screen was caused by the remote.
Because I threw it at the TV during the Alabama-Arkansas game in 2009.
Due to the events of that lovely afternoon, Jon does a sweep of the living room five minutes prior to game time to be sure that all items are either moved or bolted down. He won’t even allow me to have a soda unless I drink it in the kitchen during a commercial due to an unfortunate incident involving a glass Coke bottle and a window.
I’ve had many, many other over-the-top reactions, but there are two I believe worth mentioning here.
One came last season, when I was staring at the television watching Florida attack Georgia and screaming “RUN, you @#$!, RRRRUUUUUNNNNN!!!!!”
This wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been standing in the middle of Best Buy – and if I weren’t watching a nine year old play a video game. The other shoppers looked at me like I was that homeless woman on the street corner mumbling to herself. They all ran away as quickly as they could, eyes focused on the carpet, whispering to their kids “Just ignore her and she won’t bother you.”
My other favorite “I really need a reality check” moment also involved a video game.
I don’t want to brag (well, maybe I do), but I’m pretty awesome at football video games. My favorite for a long time was NCAA Football 2002, because I had created a dynasty that just could not be beaten. Then, one night I was playing Bama against LSU (WHY is it always friggin LSU??). It was late in the 4th quarter, and the Tigers were up by three. Bama was on the 9 yard line poised to score. I ran a slant route and had a 5 yard gain, until somehow my finger slipped. My receiver was hit hard and – GASP – dropped the ball. LSU recovered the fumble with 1:30 left on the clock. I started to panic. My heart was pounding, my fingers were sweating, and my vision was starting to blur.
The stress of potentially losing to LSU – even on a video game – was just too much to handle. So I turned it off before the clock ran down.
I sat there, staring at the blank screen, thinking “Are you serious? Did you really just freak out over a game intended for 13 year olds?”
Yes. Yes I did. I am ashamed.
I used to think I was the only one who had these intense emotions surrounding football, mostly because even if others reacted the same way I did, they knew better than to discuss it. I was trying to get some similar stories out of my friends, and the only one who would fess up is my best friend Jessica. Jess, a die-hard NFL fan, is truly in love with Tom Brady. If you say one bad word about him, she is liable to take you outside and beat the crap out of you. Seriously. She’s scary. Jessica is determined to one day meet Tom, convince him to leave Gisele, and make him the father of her children. I was happy to hear that she also joined me in the Serious Overreaction Club when she admitted this:
“When Tom Brady got hurt against Kansas City, I cried like I’d bet my life savings on him taking the Patriots to the Super Bowl, and now not only was the bookie going to cripple me, I wasn’t going to be able to feed my six young children. I don’t even have any damn children.”
It was nice to know that I’m not the only Psycho Fan out there. Are you a crazy fan? Do you also have extreme reactions to plays, ref calls, or even video games? Come on – fess up!!
As college football season is rapidly approaching, I am now nervous – no, terrified – of how my pregnant hormones will cause me to react during games. I already cry at the Humane Society commercials on TV – “Nathaniel – Never loved and left to die!” What will happen to me in the event of a Bama loss?? I am deathly afraid of the rage and frustration that will probably surface during a tough game or after a bad call. And, just to make it a little bit worse, I will probably BE at almost every Bama game, and that in itself causes major anxiety and tension, because we all know that the fans at the games are equally as responsible for wins/losses as the team itself.
I’ll be screaming. I’ll be jumping. I’ll be throwing my plastic souvenir cup. I’ll probably (okay, I will) be cursing. I’ll be high-fiving and back-slapping and shaker-shaking.
So if you find yourself seated next to me at Bryant-Denny in a few weeks, consider this an early warning– and a very sincere apology.
I’m really weird.
(Editor’s note: Due to a technical issue, this article was previously attributed to Clay Travis. The byline has been corrected.)