I'm 30. Almost 31 now. I grew up in southern California during Showtime. The Lakers in the 80's were unstoppable, and my father was a sport fanatic. If he wasn't watching sports on TV, he was reading about them...or watching either my sister or me play soccer or basketball. Competition. Our lives were about passionate competition.
It's odd to think back about crying and being emotional as a kid. I just remember caring so much about my family, my friends, and winning. I remember winning was such an important aspect of my personality...and I was so used to the Lakers winning...that I actually cried, deeply, and for a long period of time when they DIDN'T make it to the NBA championship. They won five times in ten years, but it was when they lost to Houston in the '86 Western Conference Finals, that I distinctly remember running to my room, falling down onto my bed, and sobbing. Over a game. A game that was completely out of my control.
A few years later, as a member of an NJB basketball team, my team hadn't lost all year. We were in the state semi-finals, and we, too, were upset and lost to a team that we were killing at half time. When the game ended, I couldn't comprehend what had happened. To me, losing simply was not an option...and once again my young emotions got the best of me. I cried, uncontrollably. The unthinkable had happened. To this day, I still hold a grudge against the entire city of La Habra.
This competitive spirit stayed with me for years. I have never been what I or what anybody else considers as "athletic," but I had always managed to hold my own because of simply wanting to win so much...until I tore my ACL playing pick up basketball in college. The day I tore my knee up, it seems I instantly tore my desire to want to win because when I came back and started playing again, I realized that it didn't matter how much I wanted to win. I just wasn't as good anymore. And the losing...all the losing was getting to me. To cope, something inside of me shut down. I became less emotional because caring so much and constantly losing wasn't something that I could handle. My competitiveness started dying.
I waited all year to watch CAL play USC last night in a college football game. CAL, as usual for them, lost a big game that they needed to win. And the reason why I write all this is because I wanted to care. I wanted them to win. But for fuck's sake, my passion about it was gone. And what the Hell is life without passion? I'm dead already if I am afraid of the lowest lows and the highest highs. I shouldn't be afraid to care out of some subconscious desire of "not wanting to get hurt" even if it is over some stupid football, basketball, or baseball game.
But that's just it. It isn't just the games. It isn't just competition. I'm 30, and I am terrified of wrapping myself up in anything emotionally. I'm sick of feeling disappointed. I'm deadened to the idea of some thing or some person being able to control my level or degree of happiness. So I go along every day, protected from any real emotional turmoil because I am WAY to smart for that, right?
CAL lost last night, and I want to care about this much more than I do. I didn't think it was a life or death kind of game. But shit...maybe it was.