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When this college football team plays, it’s time to prep for emotional roller coaster

·3 min read

I don’t like emotional roller coasters. Throughout my life I have tried to studiously avoid anything and anyone that makes my life resemble riding the Mamba at Worlds of Fun. For the life of me I have never understood people who intentionally seek out psychological whirlwinds.

This is one of the reasons I don’t like scary movies and why I’ve always been confused about super-fans in regard to sports. At least for some teams, there seems to be a whole more agony than ecstasy.

I’m going to use my husband as an example. I told him this past weekend that he’s in an abusive relationship with the University of Texas football team. As long-time readers know, my husband is a huge UT fan and you might be thinking right at this very minute, “Oh dear Lord, not this yet again.” But very much yes, this again, because I honestly think the team is trying to kill him courtesy of the Texas/Oklahoma game.

The Saturday of that intense rivalry started out bright and full of hope. You should have seen my sweet husband. He was beyond pumped for the game. Longhorn band fight songs were blasting on our Spotify, and he was so all aboard the game day hype train that he asked me if I thought the Texas cheerleader costume our daughter wore when she was a toddler would fit one of our dogs.

I wasn’t sure I heard him right so after checking to make sure he was fully compos mentis, I confirmed that he just asked me to put our daughter’s Texas cheerleader costume, last worn in 2004, on one of our dogs.

He high-fived me and shouted, “Yes! Let’s do it.”

Not wanting to be a killjoy I told him I would try to find that cheerleader outfit but, you know, it had been a while — like almost two decades — since it had last been seen.

He seemed undaunted by this fact and sauntered to the basement ready to embrace the game. It started out so promising. In the first three minutes the Horns had scored 14 points. I was thinking that maybe I could have gone to the farmer’s market with a friend after all. I had to turn down her invitation because I told her I needed to be at home on what I call a “game day medical alert.”

By the half, Texas was up by 18 points. I was cautiously optimistic that we would get through this game without a nervous breakdown.

I was wrong.

It was one of those games where you feel like you’re in a birthday party bounce house and every ecstatic jump of joy is immediately followed by a faceplant and you find yourself experiencing the sensation of momentarily suffocating on the sticky inflated rubber floor.

UT managed to stay ahead until the fourth quarter and then lost with three seconds left in the game. Three freaking seconds. It was at this point I feared for my husband’s sanity and to be honest, mine. I was angry that I had surrendered my Saturday to that kind of emotional upheaval.

The next day I got up the courage to tell my husband that it might be time for him to put some distance between himself and UT football, pointing out that sometimes it’s not a bad thing to take a break from a relationship. Why could he even think of “dating” other teams. Like say my alma mater — Baylor. They’re 5 and 1. That’s pretty sweet.

He looked at me, sighed, and said, “I’ll try.”

I don’t believe him. Like so many other sports fans there’s just something about riding that coaster. The ups, the downs, the turns and twists are all somehow part of a fan’s love language and all I can do is stay supportive. Which now means dressing our beagle in a UT cheerleader outfit.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs, and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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