This blog will likely receive its 20,000th visitor today, and I thought that in honor of this momentous occasion (right up there with the day that I finally learned that there is an 'n' in 'wednesday'), I would offer up something personal. I don't do that very often, mostly because I'm pretty sure no one cares. But today, someone cares, namely me.
I am a college basketball fan. One might even say that I am a college basketball fanatic (the word "fan" might imply that, but its etymology is disputed). My passion for college basketball is primarily directed at the basketball team of one school in particular, my alma mater. Now, my alma mater is a national power in basketball, and won two national championships while I was a student there, but they can't win it all every year. (Or maybe they could, if it weren't for those darn refs! and some bad coaching decisions! and what was that player thinking?! and... and... well, as the school's most famous coach once said, "I never lost a game; I just ran out of time.") That means that in some years -- the fewer, the better -- they aren't playing in April. It is in these years that my passion for the sport itself is tested. You see, my love for the game itself is challenged by my despair at the fact that my team's season is now over. The despair so overrides the love that I was unable to watch the national semifinals on Saturday (though the fact that two of my school's most hated rivals were playing might have had something to do with that, too).
For me, this raises a deep philosophical, spiritual, ethical, and really quite trival issue. When does my love for University of __________ (as if the quote above didn't give away the name of the school) basketball become counterproductive? When am I too emotionally involved? I mean, I couldn't even go into a sports bar, or get some wings down the street -- and boy did I want some wings -- on Saturday, because I didn't want to be forced to watch those games on television. It's true, I could have gone to some other type of bar, or ordered the wings to go, but can you see me in a non-sports bar (just shake your head "no"), and are wings to go really wings? My love for __________ basketball is clearly depriving me of pleasure and peace of mind, and as philosophers from Aristotle to Larry Flint have noted, pleasure and peace of mind are good (sometimes Good is capitalized, when speaking of it in connection with pleasure, but philosophers are weird like that).
So as of today, I have made a decision. I am not going to get so emotionally attached to next year's __________ team. Of course, I make this decision every year after a gut-wrenching loss in the tournament, but this year I really mean it. I've already limited the number of articles I read about incoming freshman, prospects for next year, projected rankings, etc., to five a day. I think that's a good start. By next season I should be so emotionally detatched that come April 2006, if they're not playing (and why wouldn't they be?! I mean, they've got four returning starters, including two of their leading scorers and their point guard, along with two former McDonald's All-Americans coming off the bench as sophmores!), I will be able to eat wings or drink a beer anywhere I want on the Saturday of the semifinals. Really, I feel like this is a new me, a better me, a more emotionally balanced me. Now, if only November would come so that I can see another __________ game. I'm jonesin', man.