I can’t remember how I felt when I discovered Santa Claus wasn’t real, but the feeling I had after watching my team, Wisconsin, take a 59-0 public stoning in the Big 10 Championship must be similar. Something I believed in, cherished, even worshiped felt like a lie.
This will likely seem overdramatic, but thoughts are things. Feelings are things. And that’s what this blog is all about. That, and growing.
I gave up on watching pro sports years ago. The money, superstars, and hype were too much.
I much preferred college. Guys busting their ass for the love of the game. Sticking their nose in the middle of a scrum on passion alone.
I was especially proud of Wisconsin football. Gritty over-achievers that never backed down. I thought of Wisconsin as that team nobody liked to play because they were tough and wouldn’t give up. They may not win, but they’d be trading blows until the end.
They reminded me of me.
Saturday night, I sat in that stadium, stunned. Play after play, it felt like I was losing more and more of my identity. It was rape and pillage; and I was taking it personally.
Sometimes it takes an ass whoopin’ to grow up.
I was also confused. What did it mean? Was it just a game? Of course, but suddenly, everything I have ever spewed about Wisconsin, or college football in general, started to feel like a joke. 30-plus years of “scrappy, hard-nosed Badger football discussions” were a fraud. I was a fraud.
I realize this may be an overreaction in the heat of the moment, and in no way is this about these kids. They work their asses off and shouldn’t carry fans’ emotions on their backs.
My desire to disconnect from the idolatry of a sports team, a state, a country, and product brands has been building for years. Separation from the distractions that pollute us and holds back the evolution of consciousness.
It’s important to separate from the ego and not take stuff like this too seriously. Especially things you can’t change, and these games are 100 percent out of our control.
This isn’t about quitting, this is about evolving, which is what I find most fascinating about endurance training. I have been having similar feelings about my relationship to Ironman.
What does the race mean if the training isn’t enjoyable? Do we really want to tie all of our efforts and image into the result of one day? Exercise is supposed to be physically, mentally, and spiritually uplifting. It’s supposed to give you energy, not take it away.
Not only energy, but clarity and confidence to become the best you.
I can no longer justify hiding behind the distraction of football. The pain I experienced that night is not only unexplainable, but genuinely grotesque. Why does sports matter so much? Why do we tie our emotions to the fate of young men throwing around a ball?
It’s another form of addiction and I have finally realized the highs from winning are nowhere near the intensity delivered by the lows of losing. It’s probably similar to how Rome felt while they were on the conquering spree that came to an abrupt halt at the hands of the Franks or climate or disease; or in this case Ohio State.
But they too will fall. Resigned to carry the baggage for an entire fan base of fragile adult egos.