If I were to tell you the tale of my childhood and upbringing, you would hear tale of a kid who didn’t always fit in. A kid who liked Power Rangers way longer than all the other kids.
“I watch it to make fun of it guys!” I said (not fooling anyone).
But the biggest point of isolation for me in for most of my life has been my dislike of sport.
I grew up in a family that was always more focused on academics than athletics. I started reading at a really early age, but was never taught to throw a football. So while other kids were perfecting the spiral, I was reading Animorphs alone in my room.
I even looked down on people who were obsessed with sports. Why spend that much of your life knowing stats about how many times one guy successfully threw a ball to another guy?
But things changed when I got married. Laura grew up 30 minutes from Auburn University, and thus comes from a family of huge Auburn fans. In order to not sit awkwardly silent at dinner with my in-laws, I decided I needed to pay attention to Auburn football.
It was easy in the beginning. You see, Laura and I got married the year Auburn won the national championship. The year of Cam. Everyone’s eyes were on the Tigers, and I could be proud of my new affiliation. I wasn’t a fair weather fan, I was just sliding in when it was the easiest.
After that first year though, it wasn’t easy to be as intentional about paying attention.I didn’t have to watch every game because a loss was pretty much guaranteed. I tried my best, but being a true fan was not easy. My wife and I joked that we knew the players for the Dillon Panthers better than Auburn. Still, I never disavowed my team.
Then came the Gus Bus. The beginning of the season felt full of possibilities. A new head coach. A new quarterback. No one knew what to expect, and it was completely thrilling. We were fortunate enough to go to the season opener, and after that I was hooked. It suddenly clicked. I was finally connected to a team.
Over the course of the season, I’ve become addicted to the point that last week, I kept my ESPN score center app open during a birthday party just so I could keep up with our huge game against Texas A&M.
It turns out, that a few years of pretending that you’re interested in something can finally pay off.
Do you have a team you root for? Are you a new or lifelong fan?