By Joe Torosian
“You do want to express yourself, don’t you? …Okay. Great. Great. That’s all I ask.”—Stan, day shift manager at Chotchki’s
You do want to express yourself, don’t you?
This should sound weird, yet something tells me it’s not too uncommon…but…
I find that I continue to express myself on Sunday afternoons during the football season…By talking to my flatscreen.
Normally, I’m a normal soul. Like everyone else, as life goes on, I’ve matured. I’ve learned to walk away. I’ve learned that much of what is out of my control should not overly influence how I feel or think.
This is why I’ve ceased trying to change the world through social media. This is why I’ve ceased watching too much “news”—after being a 5-hour guy for most of my adult life when it comes to news and politics.
This has led me—outside the reasonable bounds of anxiety, we feel for our children, household, and future—to living, primarily, anxiety free.
I still talk to my flatscreen.
And don’t get self-righteous…I’m sure many of you still yell at an official, coach, player through your TV.
“What are you thinking!”
And then your wife calmly says, “It’s not like they can hear you.”
“But he’s an idiot!”
Sound familiar? Does it ring a bell?
When I’m alone, and especially when the Rams play, I do this all the time. I’ll be in my office (“RamCave”) and become aware I’m in a conversation with the screen mounted on the wall.
Now, the good news is, is that it’s a one way conversation. The bad news is, is that this is still going on so deep into life. I seem unable to put this childish thing away.
We seldom think about this when we’re twenty, but as the years roll on, shouldn’t we begin to feel a little bit foolish?
During the Rams-Panthers on Sunday, there are about seven minutes to play, the Rams have a first and goal at the four and are nursing a 23-20 lead.
Rookie running back Darrell Henderson comes into the game for the first time on offense. He carries the ball…and I start a heated debate with my flatscreen.
“Are you kidding me? What the heck are you doing? Give it to Gurley or Brown! Stop trying to prove you’re the smartest guy in the room, McVay! You have got to be kidding me!”
I’m out of my chair, I start pacing, and I’m envisioning a fumble or some sort of adverse outcome.
“This is ridiculous! This is so stupid! This is why you lose the Super Bowl. You always have to prove you’re the smartest guy in the room!”
Henderson carries the ball for no gain. Tyler Higbee catches a scoring pass from Jared Goff. Blood pressure returns to an acceptable level…and I begin to wonder what just happened to me.
How did I go from one place to another, so fast? From just a football game to the fate of the world hanging in the balance, how?
The tech guy at my church, Eric, is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Every chance I get, I attempt to rub a Cowboys’ loss in his face.
He smiles. “I wanted them to win, but it’s okay. They don’t pay my bills, they don’t give me my paycheck.”
He’s a real fan, but he’s able to keep it in an appropriate context. I can’t. And I’ll bet somebody else’s money that many of you can’t either.
I’ve learned to do this with all of the sports teams I care about…And I’ve come to realize beyond the Rams (and the Mets to some degree) I’m okay no matter what happens. The Rams, however, own me.
The Rams in the playoffs or Super Bowl makes watching alone my number one priority. The Rams will cause me to forgo parties and gatherings, I otherwise might be amiable too.
The Rams still cause me to express myself to the flatscreen on the wall.
It’s never gone away. Even when I told myself that I will not care, it never goes away. The emotions just lurk and lurk, waiting for an opportunity to express themselves…Mostly in the Jennifer Aniston, Office Space, manner of expressing myself.
As Rams HC Sean McVay was ordering a 41-yard field goal late in the contest instead of going for it on fourth & one at the Panthers 24…I expressed myself.
“This is me expressing myself to you!” I hollered at the TV.
The only reason I haven’t been red-flagged yet is because I am alone. I’m in a house full of women who reserve their emotions for “Downton Abbey.”
But what would they say if they saw, “Dad”… “Joe Cool” in his RamCave expressing himself to the flatscreen?
What does your family say beyond, “It’s not like they can hear you.”
Is a level of maturity possible to allow us to keep our team, the big game, in its appropriate place without expressing ourselves in such a manner?
The Dude abides…
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b