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How to Handle Being a Giants Fan
Big Blue Will Drive You Mad
The Giants are headed to the Super Bowl. Why can't I help feeling that I am about to be taken advantage of?
I have always been a Giants fan. Now, some might suggest that I have not been the greatest fan; I have not watched a complete game this season with the exception of the NFC Championship, after all. I have not even consistently checked the standings or checked out the stats. You might ask, what kind of fan is that? It is a NY Giants fan who has been through thirty years of NYG football and is bearing the scars of that fandom, perhaps a little to personally.
It is tough to be a Giants fan.
In my youth I had a palpable connection with the team, visceral and emotional. I remember my first time watching the Giants in the Superbowl against the Broncos. I remember the elation of Mark Ingram's 14 yard tackle breaking first down and the glee of Scott Norwood's missed field goal. I felt like I owned this team, felt that I was somehow connected with Simms and Bavaro and Taylor. They were winners in my book. Like my beloved Yankees, they would in the end pull it off it seemed.
Look at the improbable victory over the Patriots four years ago. What a tremendous moment to be a fan. There was a difference in that game though, a lurking fear that crept insidiously into the back of my head. That game was perhaps the four most anxious hours of my football fan career. The idea that they could pull it off was so tenuous, but with each passing minute seemed more real. What drove that anxiety, what gave birth to that creeping fear, was the years of being a Giants fan.
During the NFC Championship game against the 49ers I found myself uttering some terrible things about my team. How could I as a fan seem to loath my team so much? I said things like "The Giants are awful, they just don't know it yet," "The Gaints will try to lose, I hope the 49ers try to lose harder," "There is still plenty of time for them to screw this up," "They are winning in spite of themselves," etc.
This stream of abuse makes it hard for others to watch games with me. I am terribly negative, moody and curmudgeonly. Most games that I have watched in the last few years begin with my turning on the TV with high hopes, only to turn it off in anger and frustration some time shortly thereafter. I can't stand to watch them lose or play poorly and sometime not too long ago I built a emotional wall there. I say to myself, they won't break my heart again...
So, how did this happen to me? One of my first memories of NY Giants failure was Randal Cunningham's 99 yard punt. Perhaps more significantly, there was Cunningham's 1997 victory over the Giants as QB for the Vikings. 10 points in 90 seconds for the 1st round loss with Chris Calloway missing the onside kick. Also:
- Plaxaco Buress and his Glock.
- The 21 point lead blown against Michael Vick and his Eagles.
- Trey Junkin's botched snap after giving up a 24 point lead to the 49ers in 2003.
- Ray Handley (need I say more on that topic).
- Jim Fassel and The 2000 Super Bowl drubbing against the Ravens.
- NY's seeming to consistently deploy the prevent defense and having it prevent them from winning.
These are just the low points, it seems that every week they either play miserably or play brilliantly for a spell only to risk losing it all in the final moments. What is a fan to do?
First Steps to Recovery
Let's remember that these issues may be best dealt with in therapy. For those of you that can't afford years on the shrink's couch here are some starting points on how to mend your troubled relationship with the Giants.
First off, it is not about you. Sure, being emotionally engaged makes the game more fun, but it is only a game. Too much detachment and you end up like me I suppose, but taking a step back is healthy. I am convinced that the Giants lose when I tune in, you should not feel this way, however.
Second, remember that games are close today because of parity. While I am tempted to feel that the Gaints only won because the 49ers special teams were trying to lose more than the Giants in the NFC Championship, it is important to remember that games, especially today, can go any way on "any given Sunday."
Third, you are in the same boat as fans around the NFL. Sure, the Giants are inconsistent. In fact, that is a large part of why they are so difficult to watch--they are sometimes great and sometimes awful beyond redemption. If they were always terrible you could more easily forgive them for their errors and blunders. Yet, the NY Giants are not alone here. How maddening must it have been to be a 49ers fan last night?
Lastly, learn to accept the morons on the field dropping catches and missing routes and the imbeciles on the sidelines calling yet another run up the middle on third and long after three quarters of no yardage with the same play. Trying to make your loved one something they aren't never works. One has to come to terms with the fact that your beloved team will at times fail and disappoint. One should always look at the championships and titles, not the losses and failures. While last night it crossed my mind that the only thing the Giants have accomplished this season is ruining their draft position, it is important to remember that they have had an exceptional season, even if they almost fell into their usual second half collapse. The Giants have a chance to be Super Bowl champions again, which is more than many teams can say.
I just hope they don't blow it.