The Agony of Defeat

purple-maniaNot a pretty scene at the Schenck house last night. The moment Troy Polamalu intercepted that pass to ice the Steelers’ victory in the AFC Championship Game, bedlam ruled. And not in a good way. Zack started crying, then Ben took over. The raw emotion of pent-up edge-of-your-seat nerves came bursting forth like a purple volcano. Anger, disappointment, frustration — it all came spewing out. I just felt like I got slugged in the gut.

This is what happens when you’re passionate about your sports teams. Though the fact that the game ended an hour and a half past their bedtime only added to the intensity of the outburst. I’m frankly glad they care so much — it’s something we share. And the lessons about loyalty and jubilation (winning the first two playoff games) and disappointment are important. Coming out of an environment where, at least when they’re younger, the youth sports motto is “everybody’s a winner” it’s a reality check. Because only one of the two teams will be going to the Super Bowl. And this year, it’s not ours.

When the boys were yelling and screaming and carrying on last night Bryna kept telling them “It’s just a game.” And while she’s ultimately correct, to sports fanatics it’s much more than a game. It’s a way of life. So I talked them off the ledge and affirmed their very powerful emotions. Even while chastising them for some of their “inappropriate” language. I hate to say it’s a “guy thing” but part of it may be.

This morning they were pretty much over it — or at least had the loss in perspective. Ben declared that he wouldn’t be watching Sports Center and he later told me what a great season the Ravens had. After swearing off the Ravens in the heat of everything last night, Zack pulled his Ravens jersey out of the hamper to wear.

I’m ready for baseball season.


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