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How being a sports fan turns me into an irrational idiot

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The blog ideas are swirling in my head but I have been super busy with work, and well, life so I haven't had the time to sit down and write them. But worry not, SparkFriends, the blogs will come because if I let these ideas fester any longer in my head, I think my brain will explode. Even I, the biologist, find explode-y brains kind of gross. Today's blog is not the one I had originally intended to post for today but so be it.

I am a HUGE (ice) hockey fan and a die-hard New York Rangers fan (I hope I haven't turned any of you off with that). I have been a fan since I was a kid, not because my family was into it but because my friends were. I then turned my family into fans. No, I never played hockey and I totally suck at skating but I know and love the game. I can see myself becoming a pee wee hockey coach in the future though when I have kids.

The Eastern Conference finals started last night. You can call it the Battle of the Hudson: the New York Rangers versus their cross-river (and divisional) rivals the New Jersey Devils. It's a bitter rivalry between these two teams. In 6 meetings this season, there were 11 fights on the ice. I went to a regular season game between these two teams and witnessed 2 fights in the crowd (which I don't condone, the fighting should stay on the ice). Their last meeting in the Eastern Conference finals in 1994 was epic. It was a legendary battle. The Rangers went on to win that series with a thrilling double-overtime victory in Game 7. They eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup (their first in 54 years).

But I can't think like that this time. I am too superstitious to allow myself to think that way. Isn't it funny how sports can turn otherwise intelligent and rational people into the most superstitious irrational blabbering idiots? I am a scientist and my entire life is governed by reason and logic. And yet, when my team plays, I have to follow certain "rules" so that I don't jinx them. I have to wear my Winter Classic scarf during the playoffs since they've won every time I've worn it. It was 80 on Saturday and I was still wearing this thing. Yes, I know I am crazy.

I think I would have enjoyed Game 1 more if I hadn't been a Rangers fan. It was a great hockey game. It was fast. It was physical. There was skill displayed by both teams. And phenomenal goaltending on both sides. Through 2 periods of play there was no scoring but it was still thrilling to watch nonetheless. But, of course, since I had a vested interest in the outcome, I was watching the game on pins and needles.

You would think having survived two Game 7s in this playoffs already that I would be less nervous for Game 1. Nope. I was in fact, more nervous than I have been since the playoffs started. During the second period (when the Devils were dominating), I really, really wanted to eat something. Munch on something, anything. I needed food in my mouth to distract me from the game. I am not normally a nervous eater but the game was driving me insane. It's so silly to talk about how a game stressed me out to the point that I wanted to shove food into my mouth to deal with it. It was so hard to resist the temptation to shove an entire bag of chips into my mouth (I don't even like chips!) or eat the entire pint of ice cream I have in the freezer. It took every ounce of willpower I owned not to do that. I have come so far and done so well, I was not going to let this game unravel me. I was bad enough as it was this weekend food-wise (a topic for the future) so why continue the streak when I didn't have to?

So instead of using food to deal with my anxiety, I decided to pace the living room. I watched the remainder of the game walking back and forth. For some reason, I found this soothing.

Well, the game finally ended (the Rangers won 3-0) and I managed to survive my intense desire to eat copious amounts of junk. I managed. Somehow. In this game called weight loss, it's all about the small victories. Tomorrow night for Game 2, I'll be back to pacing the living room.

For those of you who are avid sports fans, how do you deal with a "stressful" game?

P.S. As an example of how insane I am about the Rangers, I have a story to tell you. When my husband and I first started dating, I found out that he grew up in NJ. I knew that some people from north Jersey are Rangers fans whereas others are Devils fans. So I had to ask him the all important question: Was he a Rangers or a Devils fan? I don't think we would be married today if he hadn't answered "Rangers."

My husband and I at this year's Winter Classic (New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    baseball is my sport. Atlanta is not a major pro-sports city. Atlanta fans seem to 'quietly' support their team. I get a lot of dirty looks at Braves games. You'd think I had an air horn at the Masters or something!

    DH is a big Falcons fan. At Falcons games, I can get loud and rowdy without causing as much of a scene as it does at a Braves game. The people sitting in the row behind us offered to pay for a season ticket for me if DH would bring me back.

    we loved the IHL team when the Knights were in Atlanta. The Thrashers were fun, but IHL was just better! (and more affordable)
    3043 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11545374
    Irrational? We wouldn't do these things if they didn't work right? Three and a half years ago, I was listening to my Yankees on the radio in my car. They were getting killed so I threw my ball cap on the passenger side floor and turned on some music. They came from six down and won that day. The hat has stayed there since. (Three and a half years). All losing streaks, playoff eliminations, even injuries, I blame on my wife's propensity to clean my car and put that hat away. The Red Sox caught up to the Yanks the other day, not because the pitching suddenly abandoned us and the hitters resorted to little league habits. No this happened because she cleaned the car and put the hat where it belongs (in the closet). No. I'm not an irrational sports fan.
    3043 days ago
  • BOSS61
    Ah, hockey. A dozen of us gathered around a black-and-white television with a vertical hold flicker, watching The Miracle on Ice team beat the Soviets. Sadly, we lead a hockey-free existence.

    Not to be outdone, our football hearts were broken last January, through a missed chip-shot of a field goal and a dropped pass that hit the receiver in the chest, right between the numbers. The Patriots went on to the Super Bowl. Many of us could not even bear to watch a moment of that game on TV even. Now the surprising Orioles are allowing us to slowly forget that emotional train-wreck on the frozen tundra of Foxboro.

    That said, neither sports successes nor failures drive me to eat. Focused on the prize...
    3043 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    3048 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11341635
    Sports games are tough! There are never healthy Superbowl snacks, are there? Just nachos and pigs-in-a-blanket and CHEESE galore! It will be interesting when that time of year comes around again. Glad to hear you found something that worked for YOU! And the pacing even burned calories!
    3050 days ago
    Hahaha, I was going to say something similar to Girlallin. Im from MN. It doesn't matter the sport, we will be let down during the game or season. So, my way of dealing with that stress is to find other teams to follow and just not expect a win. That probably doesn't work for other sports fans though. :D

    3050 days ago
    I laughed throughout this entire post. Did I mention I'm from PHILADELPHIA? It was a sad, sad, sad day when we were eliminated. The only bright spot was spoiling it for Pittsburgh.

    As for helping you with not eating during games? Oddly, I don't even think about eating - I'm an emotional eater but the emotion is *too* strong: being a Philly Fan is to know you'll have your heart broken sometime in the last minutes of almost ANY game.

    Go RANGERS!!!
    3050 days ago
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