Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hello, My Name is Diana...

Red Byron

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 25: Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers watches the warm ups before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 25, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)Content © 2010 Getty Images All rights reserved.

Welcome back, boys and girls…It has been a very long month since the Super Bowl has passed, and I was having a hard time trying to figure what I was going to do with my blog now that football season was over. After all, I started this blog to chronicle my season as a fantasy football player and to declare my fandom and to defend and fawn over my favorite players. Now, I felt like I was at a loss…So while I will still focus primarily on football (*cue Whitney Circa 1987* “My greatest love of all”), I going to touch on other topics as well, so buckle up folks…

One topic that I have been exploring is addiction. I started researching it for a short story that I was contemplating, but the more I read, the more I realized that I, too, am an addict. I am addicted to football. The first step they say is to admit, but bear with me. Here are a few of the signs that made me come to the conclusion that I am an NFL addict.

Signs that you are a football abuser:

1. You neglect your responsibilities to watch football. I have passed on my household chores, paperwork, an occasional relative to watch my games.

2. You are using the NFL under dangerous conditions or taking high risks to watch. I’m not proud, but I was once on the internet while driving trying to check the score to a Chiefs game, which is not necessary, because they are often losing, but I just had to know how badly. I once almost got a ticket speeding to get back home to catch the kick off of a Chiefs/Chargers game. I’m not proud.

3. Your addiction is getting you in legal trouble. See my answer to sign #2.

4. Your addiction is causing problems in your relationships. I have had full blown arguments with family in explaining why their team sucks. I have yelled at people to leave me alone while I’m watching the game. I totally ignore people who want to have asinine conversations with me during the game. I scared my nephew when I was yelling during the game, because the Chiefs scored. I apologized, because he didn’t understand why his aunt had suddenly lost her mind.

Signs that you are a football addict:

1. You’ve built up an NFL tolerance. I love football so much that there have been times that I watched Oakland Raiders games just to have a game on. I am ashamed to admit that I watched a Detroit Lions game that wasn’t on Thanksgiving. There have been Sundays that I have watched games from Noon-10:30 pm and then watched the entire NFL Gameday replay show to watch highlights of the games that I’ve just watched…

2. You try other sports to try to avoid or relieve your withdrawal. I grew up watching all types of sports. I loved baseball (go Braves!), basketball (go Celtics, Cavs!), and I even watched pro wrestling (Go Steiner Bros. and Lex Luger!). Yet, none of these sports could make my pulse pound like a great football game. Okay, baseball did twice, okay, so did basketball, but none could sustain my addiction.

3. You have lost control of your football. During football season, there were times when I was checking blogs, newspapers, stat sheets, and my fantasy teams hourly. [BTW, if it’s your first time to the blog, I had 4 this year, down from the 5 I had the previous season.] The only time I didn’t was during work hours. But, I checked during my breaks. *shrug* I say that I’m not going to read the San Diego Union-Tribune today or the Kansas City Star, but there I am every morning checking, even in the off season, to see what moves my team has made (nice job picking up Thomas Jones, KC).

4. You life revolves around football. Well, yeah…I make sure I tape NFL Live daily. I watch NFL Total Access and have subscriptions to Sporting News, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated. I’m looking for a new place and the first question usually is “Am I allowed to get DirecTV or Dish Network here, because cable is not going to cut it?” I write a blog about my love of football. I have pictures of Joe Montana, Derrick Thomas, Jerry Rice, and Tony Gonzalez over my desk. The first PowerPoint that I ever made was about…You guessed it, football. My pens rest in a KC Chiefs mug, I have a KC Chiefs scarf that covers my computer monitor when it’s off, and I have a cute custom-made card holder with Tony Gonzalez and Shawne Merriman in matching Pro-Bowl uniforms (it was a gift from a student).

5. You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy. I have never been a big socializer. So, that abandoning that was not a problem. I have avoided going on family outings and trips because they have interfered with my games. I cancel weekend activities if they conflict with the Playoff and/or Super Bowl.

6. You continue watching football, despite knowing it is hurting you. Yeah, well, yeah…Blood Pressure pounding, heart racing, obnoxious amounts of food that is bad for you. Of course, football is bad for you, but yeah, I keep pulling a chair up in front of it every single time.

I have had brief stints of football sobriety. After Derrick Thomas died, I just didn’t want to watch. I thought I would get myself cleaned up as far as my addiction was concerned. I realized that there was more to life than football. That period lasted from 2000-2003, and I stopped watching football cold turkey. I gave it up. I didn’t watch SportsCenter, didn’t read about it in the paper, and I admit it was pretty good. I got a lot of work done. I found other hobbies. One afternoon, I was flipping through the channels, and there was a Kansas City Chiefs highlight playing. It was Tony Gonzalez leaping into the endzone backwards for a touchdown. I was mesmerized, captivated, and I slipped off the wagon.

NFL Football: Raiders vs. Chiefs NOV 30

November 30, 2008: TE #88 Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs in action vs. the Oakland Raiders. Photo via NewscomContent © 2010 Newscom All rights reserved.

Sigh, now I suffer, along with the rest of the NFL addicts, who use any tidbit of info we can gather just to be able to talk about football. We have a kind of support group on Twitter. We talk about what we miss, and how we hope our teams will improve, or make fun of other teams bad decisions. But mostly, we wait. It won’t be long until the Draft, Mini-Camps, Training Camps, or preseason games. But, we are all anxiously waiting for that day in the fall when the clarion call of Hank Williams exclaims “Are you ready for some football?!!” Yes, Hank, we are…so until next time just remember what Heywood Hale Brown said, Football is, after all, a wonderful way to get rid of your aggressions without going to jail for it.” See ya, next time!!!

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