Perhaps there is something to this reality television deal. Maybe it’s a something we can’t quantify. A person might sit on the edge of his or her couch and simply wait for the crescendo of spats and tiny dogs and be thrilled with it. The unpredictability is enough for that person to die of a heart attack. Disappointment may border on the unbearable when character “A” leaves for a new venture. Happiness when two drunk lovers make up and kiss in a dimly shot bar scene could be enough to make someone’s week, month or year.
This existence is certainly possible. So, too, is the universe where movies and books are riveting enough to consumers where their lives are flipped upside-down when the plot twists and the pages turn. There is no reason to diminish the importance of these things to the modern-era human being. We are in a universe where the manufactured drama seems important. It seems real.
In all our understanding of particular realities, it seems as if one would be hard-pressed to find something as pure as sports. Fans use their minds, hearts and souls in an effort to be a part of the games. When Florida State has less than 20 seconds to win a title and Auburn the same time to prevent it, the tension becomes so thick that it seems the universe revolves around the snap.
It happens for many reasons. Our thoughts dictate who we think will win or what we predict will happen.
This reasoning and rationale gives way to the game itself. Through our processes of determination, we find what we believe to be true and further contemplate how we came to that realization. It’s more difficult than picking a game due to a point spread, although we can certainly count the information we garner from Vegas as another reason why or why not something will happen.
One glance on Twitter would provide a better portrait of the role prior allegiances play in rooting value.
Some SEC fans put all their chips on Auburn — because they had pride on the line. If there’s one thing you must know about the pre- or post-Civil War Southeast, it’s that pride in location is a prominent thing.
Others rooted for Florida State because they loathe what the SEC has become and — pardon the usage of the manufactured sports term of the latest months — “narrative” that no one could win if an SEC team couldn’t.
There were people who watched the game out of entertainment value alone without a side. Even though no hat of theirs sat in the ring, it’s hard to believe there wasn’t a twinge of excitement or nervousness with less than 20 seconds left.
Mentally, sports challenge us to find out what we believe in and why. Maybe “Real Housewives of Metropolitan City” does too, although that seems impossible.
The mind isn’t the only part of a being that moves during a sporting event. Emotional beings, those who see sunsets in their splendor and cry at distinguishing, beautiful art, feel something as it happens. This can be considered the spiritual part of the games. A feeling that makes a person move is enough to make a person cheer or feel goosebumps down his or her skin.
It’s something unparalleled that seems out of the ordinary in this tangible and manufactured world. There’s no description of a national anthem with jets flying overhead before a home playoff game — other than what it did to you.
“The jets flew overhead,” the man recalled.
“Oh, how cool,” his friend answered.
“I teared up and tingled when they screamed over the roaring stadium as the singer belted out the final words,” the man further explained.
“Wow. I can’t imagine,” his friend said.
This is the difference between understanding and feeling. Only Auburn fans can relive the final drive in a way that would break your heart if they explained it. Only Florida State fans can do it in a way that makes you want to smile.
It isn’t quantifiable, and yet this is the perfect example of why sports encapsulate far beyond scores and statistics. Stat geeks, ex-steroid-using jocks, old women and young children feel the final plays the same way. They may not have the same reactions, but they feel something. That sense of feeling provides the stage of which all our fondest memories are replayed.
Therein lays the most important thing about sports — what they do to a human being. We’ve all been many places and seen many things. Some of us don’t fall in line with the others due to our fanaticism and constant scoreboard-watching. Many people don’t watch athletics; they seem to find little value in it.
These people are the ones I worry about. They do not know the tingle of those goosebumps due to something organically brilliant and beautiful and unpredictable. They’ve never felt the tears that fall after a last-second field goal. Through watching and caring, the sports fan touches a piece of the soul. It is pure and invaluable, this soulful feeling.
Emotionally, mentally and spiritually, the games will bring that out of those who care. The others will watch their entertainment, and somehow it seems improbable they will experience something similar. That piece of the soul will remain virgin, untouched and alone.
It’s worth hoping that more people will learn how much a game can do for their own awareness in this great big universe. Their souls would be better off for it.