It is Wednesday. It has been three days since the Patriots stunned me by losing the Superbowl. I am starting to feel better but every so often it just hits me like a gut-punch: they lost. At the risk of appearing one-thousand-percent insane, the only other times I have had that feeling - that sitting on the subway reading a book and the overwhelming sense of reality descends - are during deaths and unusually bad break-ups.
I even dreamed of the Superbowl. Sunday I dreamed that a friend of mine emailed me a bunch of gibberish which contained the secret to why the Pats lost. I have been informed that is the dream of a crazy person.
Monday, in a fit of Boston pride, I decided to wear my Patriots cap as a form of moral support. For whom, I have no idea. I expected to get into a bunch of fights with NYC Giants fans. The only response I got was a homeless man who yelled out "I feel your pain." Most people just looked at me with pity.
My friend Matt over at the Big Eaters Club saw my "fan-gear display in the face of a humiliating loss as some sort of sublimated mate-seeking behavior." I think he's wrong. He also told me "it's just a fucking sports team. You need a baby." Keep in mind, this is the same friend who brought a giant cake to my house on Sunday with a "4" candle on it. (Four Superbowl wins in this century for my gay blog readers.)
That same cake has been my constant companion during these trying times. If Monday (my birthday incidentally) had a theme it would have been "cake and crying." In the last four days I have eaten enough of this cake to send me into a diabetic coma. Which would be fine. Wake me for pitchers and catchers.
This whole debacle reminds me of the 1985 Superbowl. I was just a kid that year. The Pats were wild underdogs all season. When they made the Superbowl, New England went crazy with Pats pride. Me included.
It became pretty clear early on in that game that the Pats were over matched. Even a girl child like me could tell that they weren't losing, they were being murdered on TV. It was one of my first feelings of clear shame.
I had no grasp on the idea that the Pats could lose. I was a kid. I just thought your team won. And now, 23 years later and I still can't grasp the concept of losing. Which is borderline insane as I am a New England sports fan. As my friend Chris* (who’s a Mets fan so he’s been laid out by a devastating loss or two) put it: “you're a Red Sox fan, so you are familiar with heartbreaking losses, but I don't think you ever get used to it.”
No, you don't. But you keep coming back.
The difference between 1985 and 2008 is that I can handle the loss this time. In 1985 I was devastated more than I had any right to be. I wasn't much of a football fan, I was just a child. But the elation immediately followed by disappointment was too much for my tiny soul to handle.
Now I see that only in loss can one find those moments of humanity that are heartbreaking. (Keep in mind I prefer winning to life lessons. I like winning. But since my team lost, on to the moments.) Like my nephew, Troy dolling out hugs at the Superbowl party to the devastated masses, a text from a gay friend saying "I don't know much about football but I know about feelings...hope you are OK," a late night email from a Bears fan living in LA that said, "I feel your pain." It's how people should act when someone dies except people don't know how to act when someone dies. I guess that's what sports gives us, a safe haven to be human.
My nephew stayed with my on Sunday night and the next day I wanted to explain to him why people got so upset about the game. He seemed to get it and as we were walking towards the subway I said to him, "The thing about losing is..." Troy finished my sentence, "there's always next year." He's a true New England fan.
* Chris has a great blog that I was going to link to but I can't right now. He's a Giants fan and has, as is his right, a column about the big upset. Yes, that makes me a nelly and a weenie-genie, but it is my blog. Lay off!