Monday, January 4, 2010

Perspective - Got Some

This week the Steeler Nation mourns. And by mourn I mean whine, fuss, rant in colorful language, and demand that heads roll, up to and including poor Coach Tomlin, the same man who brought us an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl title less than a year ago. How soon they forget. Why this national crisis, you ask? Because we are all spectators in someone else's party this year. The team did not make the playoffs, despite righting the ship late in the season. Number seven will have to wait for another year. I can't even imagine what my nemesis, Mr. Supreme Jerkface, has to say. I stopped reading his comments about mid way through the five game losing streak that caused us to be on the sideline now. But I am uncharacteristically calm about our current predicament. Don't get me wrong, I paced probably about a mile up and down my living room floor over six hours on Sunday and nearly gave myself whiplash trying to watch the television and the computer where I had multiple games tracking (once they won, their playoff fate depended upon teams playing later). And, I swung from high to low on the optimism scale, as the Patriots first built a two touchdown lead and then lost it, and later watched as the Raiders kept it close, daring to think they might actually pull it off and help us out for once. I wanted a berth in the playoffs as badly as any other Steeler fan out there. The difference is, I did not lock myself in the laundry room, curl up in a fetal like ball and cry like a baby for more than several minutes (and, yes, I have done that in the past) when it didn't happen. I have finally learned what my fellow Steeler fans, many of them, do not know, which is that there are far worse things in life than having to wait another year or so to try and stretch our title lead.

Yes, it is true I rode the high of the Packer-Steeler game on through the holidays, and it is true that I am mighty proud of being a long time fan of six time World Champions and have the paraphernalia to prove it. But, I learned that it's a bit like a contact high. It fades after a while, and you're left with the rest of your life, which trudges on as before. And, a Lombardi Trophy being handed to your team doesn't replace that job or pay that mortgage, grow back that hair or bring back that missing family member. Pretty costly lesson if I say so myself, but I am at long, long last able to just be happy that most of the team will be back next year. I am very happy about the rookie wide receiver. My life is no longer in shambles because I will not be sitting down to watch him catch passes from my quarterback this weekend. Rather, I will turn my attention to rooting for whichever team cannot threaten our title totals (sorry Cowboy fans, I hope you're going down) and do not have the words "England" or "Patriots" in their title. I am not looking forward to the vast emptiness of the off season, as always, but I am not angry about it this year. I finally have the perspective I wanted for myself and bemoaned the lack of in my fellow fans only a few weeks before. I really wish I had found it a different way.

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