I’m an Auburn fan. My husband and kids are Alabama fans. I’ve taken my share of defeats during our 13-year marriage and I’ve witnessed some glorious wins like Saturday’s.
But I’d rather lose to Alabama than put up with a type of tomfoolery that runs rampant in our state and that I refuse to put up with in my own house.
I’m talking about lengthy post-loss football funks.
Let me first admit that when it comes to the sports we love, my husband and I can both act silly.
I once coached my son’s third-grade soccer team through a 10-game losing season and became so stressed and competitive that my husband begged me not to volunteer again for the good of our family (and the poor kids I coached).
For his part, he once got so mad at me for gloating about an Auburn victory in a Facebook post that he defriended me for more than a month.
We generally treat each others’ more childish behavior with good humor. I’m grateful to not be a football widow whose husband spends his fall weekends watching every football game, so I give him grace and space when it comes to his beloved Crimson Tide.
But that grace only goes so far. In my house, I refuse to suffer lengthy post-loss bad moods that extend beyond what I see as the only allowable mourning window: about an hour.
When the Iron Bowl ended Saturday evening, Pepper said he needed to lie down to recover from the loss.
I understand—as he recently wrote, our “mirror neurons” make us feel like we are part of the action we are witnessing and that can be painful. Even our hormone levels are affected by seeing our team win or lose. I get why my husband needed a snooze. All that losing must have been hard work (sorry, couldn’t resist).
But when the hour mark was up and he said he needed to relax some more to take his mind off his depression, I looked at the kitchen sink full of game-day dishes and our five kids who needed bedtime help and I said with no small degree of snark, “Well, then I’m going to need to exercise my prerogative to celebrate the win. While you’re moping, if you could clean up and get the kids to bed….I’ll call up some girlfriends and see you later.”
Maybe I was bluffing but he did snap out of it.
My 10-year-old son, who was also still looking glum, must have caught on to my mood and perked up too, lest I ask him to work off his angst in the kitchen with his dad.
Do I sound mean? Do I sound like I don’t understand the Alabama football culture?
I grew up in Birmingham and understand it well. Most of my family, including my grandparents, parents, brother, cousins and extended family went to Auburn. My parents have season tickets. We went to games growing up. My earliest playground memory is of the Auburn kids pushing the merry-go-round in one direction, yelling, “Auburn!” and the Alabama kids pushing it the other way, yelling, “Alabama!” in a raucous push-o-war. All. recess. long.
Born and raised, y’all.
But football is a diversion, a pleasure, a source of entertainment, and as such, an Auburn or Alabama loss should be handled with about the same degree of seriousness with which you’d deal with the following disappointments:
–Pulling up to Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday
–Seeing “sold out” next to your choice at the movie box office
–Getting pumped up for the event that gets rained out
–Missing the party because you have to work
Be sad, be mad, stomp your feet if you must—but for no more than an hour. Anything longer than that, and I’ll quote you a line from a John Mayer song: “Take all of your so-called problems, better put ’em in quotations.”
Rachel Blackmon Bryars is the managing editor of Yellowhammer News.