Looking back at a history of obsession

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The Big Fans at Landover

The Big Fans at Landover, originally uploaded by du_dragons.

Tonight, for those that don’t know, the 8-0 Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the 8-0 Louisville Cardinals at home. This will be the biggest game in RU Football history. The media coverage has been extreme. The Empire State Building will be bathed in Scarlet. The Garden State Parkway electronic message signs say “Go Rutgers”. The stadium will be packed to over-capacity, with temporary bleachers and a jammed student section. And I, who didn’t even attend Rutgers, am so excited that I couldn’t get to sleep last night.

I’m a sports obsessive, much to the delight/chagrin/amusement of my friends and family — those that aren’t sports obsessive themselves, that is. Mostly friends, in that regard. Very few sports nuts in the family…Dad’s a Philly guy, so I can jab him about the feeble Eagles or the not-quite-there Phils. Mom tolerates sports, as any good mother of two boys would. My brother gets up for the Mets and the Drexel Dragons, but he’s more of a participant than a spectator at this point in life.

So where does it come from? Well, in my caffiene- and anxiety-fueled insomnia last night, I gave it some thought, and I think I found the answer.

Back in 1992-93, my freshman year at Drexel, my friends and I hopped aboard the Dragon (band)wagon with a vengence. We went to every home game. We went to as many away games as possible. We couldn’t understand why the whole school wasn’t in the gym on game day. And it was a great season that year – we lost a heartbreaking game to the University of Delalware in the conference final, missing a chance to dance.

The next year was much like the first for me, except this time the team got the job done. And that’s when I lept from “supportive fan” to “obsessive.” My friends and I devised a plan for all of us to get seats to Drexel’s appearance in the NCAA tournament, by bringing uninterested parties to the ticket lottery and increasing our odds of victory. And of course it worked. An Inquirer photogorapher covering DU’s first ticket lottery, like ever, noticed us and asked us some questions. Seems like we were juts what he wanted for a photo essay, and long story shrt, he rode with us to Maryland. The result was the front of the Inky’s Magazine section, and lots of calls from befuddled relatives.

(Many years later, my wife grabbed the folded up piece of newspaper from my junk box, and matted and framed it. She rules.)

Which brings us to this week, and tonight’s game, by way of countless more Drexel home and playoff games, a screaming lunatic fit in front of TV cameras when Drexel won a tourney game in 1996, never missing a Colonial Athletic Association tournament (in Richmond, for 3 days, with the aforementioned college friends), having a Mets season package for a few years, getting Rutgers season tickets when they were really completely awful, paying way too much for obscure satellite channels to wach basketball and football, and now, finally, for the first time, being so excited for a game that I can’t sleep.

Seriously. But you know what? I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love that I love this stuff. I love that I can get into something, really enjoy it. I think that the people who claim to be too busy, or too old, or too mature, or whatever, are just fooling themselves out of a hell of a good time.

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3 responses to “Looking back at a history of obsession

  1. Congrats to your team! We’ve got Sportscenter on now to get all the details. How did you come to be a Rutgers fan?

  2. So last night I was at karaoke and the whole bar area went nuts! Guess what they were going nuts over, RUTGERS WINNING! I said in a very snobby way “I know some Rutgers fans!” My party of people were VERY impressed!!!! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Phantom Eyes » Blog Archive » How I got here

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