I climbed into bed at 2:30 AM. This half-woke my wife up.
"Who won?" she asked.
"Houston" came my reply. "I've giving up on football and going to study in a yeshiva [Jewish religious learning center]". She didn't answer. It took a while, but I fell asleep.
After the Bengals lost a wild-card game in Houston for the second year in a row, I honestly believed I could tone down my Bengals addiction, even if I never really thought a yeshiva would be my substitute. I don't think my wife believed it for a minute.
Needless to say the Wife was right. She usually is, and this was no different. Come September, I was just as hyped up as usual. Thanks to the fact that the Bengals are a genuinely good team this year, the hype continued and even increased as the season progressed. I found that a disturbing percentage of my daydreams involved Mike Brown receiving a trophy from Roger Goodell, and making everyone laugh with some weird speech.
All this until today. I watched the Steelers game Monday evening after getting home from work, without knowing the score, since the time difference made watching it live incompatible with working the next day. At 21-0 I changed to the Condensed Game mode, figuring I should get through as much as possible before Wife came home, so we could spend the rest of the evening together.
It didn't work. She came home sometime during the 3rd quarter. To her question how I felt, I answered "not as good as I did before I started watching the game."
I hated myself for that reply. Why should a stupid football game affect my mood? My pregnant wife just got home from a doctor's appointment saying everything is fine and I'm worried about a group of 53 men thousands of miles away, many of whom lead lifestyles and speak using language I abhor? What the heck is wrong with me?
Of course, that didn't stop me from watching the rest of the game. After the game, I was pretty upset, and again felt like I really should spend my time and emotional energy on something more worthwhile. My next thoughts were "The old Bungles are back. They can't tackle. They fair catch kickoffs. They fumble constantly. The stupid Steelers are the dirtiest team in the NFL. They take cheap helmet-to-head shots at the PUNTER. Give up. Forget football. There are so many things more important in life." Then came "man, I really thought we had a chance this year. They might win a playoff game, but Super Bowl? Forget it. Not in a million years. Fire Lewis. He's not good enough."
At the same time, I knew that come next Sunday evening, I would either be at my computer watching MIN-CIN or at a friend's watching whatever game our local network shows, and peeking constantly at the score tracker at the bottom of the screen. By the time I was in the shower, I was already doing playoff calculations. Indeed, already while writing this, I feel that next Sunday can't come quick enough.
That's today's Bengals emotional roller coaster. I'll be back next Sunday for another round, and I'm sure you will all be joining me. I'll be happy to hear any comments.
And, even if I do stop following the NFL so closely some day, I will always hate the Steelers and their dirty play.