I was all set to enjoy a nice weekend of NFL football. I had my chicken, my sixpacks of diet soda, and plenty of stuff to do when games weren't on. I figured I deserved a nice weekend of quality entertainment and drama considering how hard I worked during the semester and all the stuff I intend to do.
The first game was a fun one. The New York Football Jets torched the Colts like a well-insured warehouse. Now normally a blowout is boring but when you're rooting for the team doing the blowing (no...not in a GAY way) it can be enjoyable and such was the case this time. Chad Pennington looks like the real deal and putting Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning together guarantees a team that will always make the playoffs and never go anywhere in them.
The next game was Green Bay and Atlanta. I was hoping for a Green Bay win (harboring fantasies that the Giants would face Green Bay in the title game and destroy the Lambeau mystique, plus I like Brett Favre a bunch) and watching Atlanta crush them was disapointing but not a huge deal since I'm not exactly a packer's fan. Plus it wasn't a very good game.
The Browns Steelers game was a little more fun. I wanted the Browns to win since I hate the Steelers (something about the uniforms). Also there was the idea that a rash of road upsets might carry over to the main event of the weekend. The Browns put up a great fight but the Steelers pulled it out in the end and while I was disapointed I could appreciate the game for the thriller it was.
Ouch. I don't know quite what to say. The Giants were really banged up and they've been vulnerable all year but to lose like that. To blow the second biggest lead EVER in a Playoff game in that fashion. To have two chances to win the game on a field goal and miss both. To have penalties negated by stupidity. TO have two meaningless dropped TD passes come back and bite you in the ass. To KNOW how close the team came and to watch a season implode and KNOW it was happening (I was Iming with some fagnut during the game and I told him what was going to happen...I KNEW as soon as the first TD was given up so quickly that the Giants were in trouble and I knew it would come down to a last minute drive that the Giants would come close on).
It was painful. When that snap was bobbled and then when the pass interference penalty was called and retracted my heart and my mood bounced like an Enron corporate check.
To be honest that game made me question why we bother being sports fan. I mean I sat there in the shadow of that game, knowing that it will be replayed and talked about forever as an amazing game and knowing that it will hurt every time, and I said "Why the fuck does this matter to me? I'm not connected to the team in any way. They don't know who I am. They don't even really play in my city, and even if they did so what? Why should I care whether a team's from New York or Timbuktoo...they're just a bunch of millionaires playing a kid's game."
The answer that I came up with is that for every negative about not being able to control the outcome of a big game or effect a team there is a positive of not having to put in the effort but being able to enjoy the rollercoaster. The feeling I get before and during a big game is pretty similar to that I get before or during a big test, or whatever. It's a feeling of risk and reward and trying to overcome a hurdle. The only difference is that when the event is in my life I have to spend a lot of time and energy preparing and executing in order to achieve that feeling while when watching the Giants all I need to do is sit back, sip soda, and soar or plummet based on the actions of a bunch of men I will never know doing ludicrous acts for even sillier amounts of money. It's an easy buzz. And yeah I can appreciate the athleticism and the strategy...there's an intellectual and aesthetic component, but the emotional component is based on being able to feel achievement or failure without actually having to put in the risk or work yourself.
After the game I turned off the TV to avoid the obligatory yammering about how the Giants fucked up (I don't know if I'll be able to watch ESPN at all this week) and watched Clerks the movie, which was really fun, with a break for Andy Richter Controls the Universe which is by far the best network sitcom since Seinfeld. The part where Conan O'brien made Andy actually stick the Donut in his mouth had me yowling with laughter despite the Giant burnout (of course "My love for you is like a truck, Berserker, would you like making some fuck, Berserker" didn't hurt).
Another interesting factoid I encountered this weekend was how much fun old videogames can be. During this weekend of Football flava I found myself digging back into my Bin of Playstation and Dreamcast games for a little entertainment. They did not disapoint. It's sort of sad to think how much soul videogames have lost recently. I think it's because of the swollen size of the production team. Clerks the movie has Soul because it was small and intimate. It takes a monumental effort for a bigger film to have Soul. Even Lord of the Rings, a beautiful film series with few if any flaws, only has soul because of the individual performances and the intimate labor involved in the writing of the books. I wonder if Hollywood slashed budgets by half or 2/3rds whether the product would end up being better. Sure you're always going to need big special effects for your sci-flicks and what have you but would other types of movies benefit from sparser production facilities and tighter shooting schedules? Something to think on.
I need to get into the wilderness more often. I feel hemmed in in the City. I can't wait for my cousin to leave my house. I need to get a license this semester. I say that every year but damn it if I keep saying it it will eventually happen...right?
P.S. People who blame Jeremy Shockey for this Giants loss are idiots in the extreme. Without him they would never have made it as far as they did. He's a rookie and he made mistakes, but he did more than could reasonably be expected of him and you take the good with the bad. Blame Junkin and injury. Blame Bryant and the defense. Don't blame the guy who made a projected 8-8 season into a single point loss in the playoffs.