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22 January, 2011


Packers fans, I am envious.
Jets, Steelers, Bears, fans. You guys too. I envy all of you.
For my money, this week is the best week in sports if your team
is involved. I've been here 8 times. I know what I'm talking about.
For me, the essence of being a sports fan is loving the sense of
anticipation. We've joked about it all week, but Bart Scott
hit the nail on the head when he proclaimed, "Can't wait!"
That's why I love baseball. The waiting on the next  pitch and
the time you have to absorb the possibilities.
Football is like that too. The weeks long build up to a huge
cathartic release.
It's the old "the chase is better than the catch" theory.
Even the men who played the game will tell you: losing this
week is worse than losing in the Super Bowl. I think part of that
is because they will have denied themselves the chance to
enjoy the two weeks of "We're in the Super Bowl," experiences.
Same goes for the fans. This week is all about closing the
gap on that dream of being in the Super Bowl... the anticipation.
If your team is playing in the NFC or AFC title game,
It's worth the wait
the following things are in play:
1) Your team is playing well so your
confidence is high. Whether you are the underdog or not,
you can talk yourself into "we're going to the Super Bowl,"
because you've seen enough good things in recent weeks to make you believe it.
2) You've had a week of your friends
congratulating you, allowing you to relive last weeks
game, wishing you luck.
You're the de facto toast of the town in your inner circle.
3) The amount of information about your team is overwhelming. Especially now in the digital age.
Internet articles galore and 72 TV outlets filling your
brain with every morsel about your team you could
ever want to know.
4) The angst. If you are like me, you love the angst. That
internal struggle of allowing yourself to think your team
is going to the Super Bowl versus dreading they might
crash and burn in front of the nation.
Maybe I'm masochistic, but I love that feeling.

  So much of what is great about being a sports fan is feeling.
Sports brings all the emotions we have to the surface. For many
of us, it is the most consistent expression of those feelings at
the highest level we can produce. Day in, day out, week in,
week out, few other sources in our life consistenly bring out
the cavalcade of emotional stars, joy, anger, anticipation, angst,
jubilation and so on, to the level that sports does.
Sure, those feelings are probably exceeded by our families
and work, but not as consistently as does the passion for our teams.
With them its almost a daily release of high octane emotion.
  That's what makes this week so dramatic, so great.
All your hopes and fears are building up inside you and there
is no outlet until Sunday. The cork is shoved into the top of your
emotional bottle and you're just waiting for it to pop.
It's the purest form of nervous energy.
It's like I'm Tuco in Breaking Bad and my team is Walt.
I need that fix.
  So I hope all four of you fan bases have enjoyed the week.
Embrace the angst
I hope you are riding an emotional
roller coaster and by this time tomorrow
you will be so jacked up you could
body slam Andre the Giant.
I implore you to embrace the angst.
Make it your friend and when the games
kick off tomorrow, take your hands,
raise them above your head and shove
the cork out of that bottle top as
hard as you can....
and enjoy.
Can't wait!

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