Stoppage Time

by Ryan

I’m writing this during that extra hour we all get back due to daylight savings time. In a way this time passes twice, two hours within the same sixty minutes. I find it ironic that in this extra hour I write this, because any spare time I seem to have is dedicated to sports.

I’m not one to brag, but I have an awesome Fender Telecaster that sits mostly unplayed due to sports and my responsibilities to this blog. I’m not complaining, other than that slight layer of dust it looks great.

I mention this because if you are reading now a large part of your life is dedicated to sports as well. We are alike in that regard, putting the game above many other things, sleep included.

So I ask you, dear reader, what is it worth? Why do we put ourselves through this torture we call fandom? I ask myself that question many times, and every once in a while I have tried to answer it here. I believe, however, that it is different for everyone. So I will tell you a story, and my hope is that you will tell me one in return:

Tomorrow I will be heading to Ralph Wilson Stadium to watch the Bills play the Bengals. This will be my third Bills home game of the year, and although I strongly disagree with the fact that we pick our quarterback like a meatpacking plant picks it’s workers, I am very excited about tomorrow.

Looming in the background, however, is the reality of my situation. By going to tomorrow’s game I am losing out on a lot of valuable time I need to get my life together. Projects are due, important papers need to be gone over, and quite frankly; I’m tired.

So as Eddie Vedder once asked, “Why Go?”

I am going for the same reason every one of us has ever shelled out the money for a ticket: because you never know what can happen.

My thoughts keep going back to that Monday Night just a month ago. In all my years, I have never felt that stadium as alive as it was. Ever.

And as the game went on, the feeling that we could pull that thing off stronger and stronger. No one sat down. Everyone did their part. I have cell phone videos that I will never delete of the noise created on that night, even on kickoffs or a simple first and ten. It was spectacular, and something so rare in life I can’t help but savor it. To be united with tens of thousands of other people, all hoping for the same miracle; it’s a powerful feeling to say the least.

In the end, well, we all know what happened. That last second field goal was just mind-numbing, and no amount of hindsight will ever allow me to fully describe what I was felt.

Still, I will never forget that night and the emotions everyone in that building felt. Games like that are put on another level, alongside Super Bowls and “May Day”, or even the Chris Drury Game. Games like that shape who you are as a fan, and what you believe in.

I believe that the old adage of “Any Given Sunday” is true. If there wasn’t something special about watching sports live we wouldn’t pay to see it. Not every game we see will shape the way we watch sports forever, but when that moment happens, it all becomes worth it.

So again I ask you, why is it worth it for you? I know the juice is worth the squeeze for me, but I want to hear your side. Please, it doesn’t have to be poetic or brief or universal. All it has to be is your own personal truth. Tell me what it’s worth. Tell me why sports matter. Tell me about the moment you realized what this was all about, and what it felt like to be there.

And if you are still searching, tell me about that, too. Trust me, you’re not the only one.

3 Comments

  1. Hannah

    I’ve realized recently exactly why I watch hockey. It’s because of that one moment, right when the puck hits the back of the net, and right then, even if only for a second, nothing else matters. Nothing. Whether you’re at the game or at a bar or at home, it’s the only thing that matters at that moment and everything else you may have been worrying about goes away. And at that moment, you’re thinking the exact same thing as thousands of other people… fans at the stadium, fans at home, the team itself, because that’s all that matters to all of you.

    PS: Told you I read your blog.

  2. Anonymous

    I think that there is a little piece of everyone that is exactly the same. For a lack of words, it comes down to passion. The difference between you and I is the trigger for that feeling. For some people, it is religion, for some it is baseball, and for some it is true love. But each person has a trigger. That isn’t to say that there can only be one trigger, but there will always be a hierarchy of feelings.

    For me personally, passion comes from sports, sure, but most of it comes from interpersonal relationships with other people. I also feel that my greatest passion has more facets than most.

    Because individual epistomology makes it impossible for everyone to look from the same lense, we could be seeing the same thing and defining it differently.

    The last thought I can bring to this is that of an athlete. The poster before me spoke of that feeling you get when the puck hits the netting. I believe that is vindication. That passion exists for a reason, and it escapes with success. I can also tell you that the potential energy (or lack thereof) leaving the fans, coaches, players…whatever…is the same. Everyone has that passion in some form…or they just don’t get it. There is no other reality.

    What it comes down to for me is the interpersonal communication. I thrive off of relationships with others. Yeah, I love hockey, for sure…I like creating the exit for the energy. It really is exhilarating…the better feeling, is knowing that you can turn around and someone else will be there to slap you in the cage and yell in your face: “nice, dude.”

  3. Kevin

    Someone please forward this to Bucky Gleason.