Am I a fair-weather fan?
I’m busy. My wife is in grad school, my daughter is 3, my job commands some 50 or more hours a week of my time, and my wife has three cats that I have to clean up after (and that’s an occupation in itself, because they’re furry, shed, and like to shit in the floor).
I am all for supporting a team. Hell, I’ll even buy apparel and go to games every now and then. But a team has to earn my attention, because, well frankly, there’s a lot of other stuff competing for it as well.
To garner my attention, a team must be local – Atlanta-based – and it must be good. Not just good enough to put on a show or not be embarrassed, but good enough to win. If I’m going to give a sports franchise my time and support, I expect something in return.
Last season, I was an enthusiastic fan of the Braves and Falcons, and both teams earned my following. I watched the Falcons become an elite team, winning by hook and by crook to post an incredible two-loss season, and I eagerly followed the Braves as they proved their resilience in overcoming injuries and adapting to hammer their way into the playoffs. Even though I knew they were destined for elimination, the Braves and I had come this far, and I sat up late to watch them lose squeaker after squeaker with a roster of benchwarmers to a team that would go on to win the championship.
I watched the Braves this season, too. Until about a month ago when the collapse began, anyway. I didn’t turn my attention away because I knew the team would coast into the post season on an eight-and-a-half game lead in the wildcard; I turned away because they began to blow it and I had better things to do with my time.
In the background Wednesday night, as I packed for my trip to Jekyll Island, the Braves game was on the television. Last season, I would’ve been fixed to the screen. This time, it all just seemed so… sad. Futile, even. The Braves had not earned a place in the postseason, nor had they earned my attention. I put my Braves cap in the top of the closet before we left the following morning. I guess I’ll begin wearing it when I mow grass or change the oil on the ManVan.
The Falcons, too, are losing me this season. I watched them all but try to give away the game to Seattle on Sunday, slipping away late in the game, and the loss to the Buccaneers was inexcusable. The players are racking up penalties to boot, playing sloppy – unprofessionally. Sunday is my laundry day; I actually have to bust my ass to make time to watch football, folding towels and hanging up clothes during halftime. I have to make sure I go to the grocery store on Saturday to make time to watch the game – and the grocery store is busy on Saturday. If the team can’t win, I can turn on an old movie and restore some leisure to my weekend.
Time is by far my most precious commodity. I’m constantly looking for ways to steal back a little time that I can use on things that I enjoy. I enjoy playing Xbox, I enjoy sitting on my porch with a pipe and I enjoy pizza and martini night. I enjoy grabbing half an hour here and there to blog. These things are treats, too rare and fleeting.
If the Braves and Falcons suck, well, that’s just more time for me.