December 03, 2005
bowl fever syndrome
Whenever a college football fan finds that his team may be heading to a major bowl game certain changes in thought processes seem to take hold of his brain. For example, witness the subtle changes in reasoning that can take place:
Before: $250 for a single ticket? What kind of an idiot would pay that?
After: I'll take ten.
In addition to diminishing the ability to accurately assess relative value propositions, Bowl Fever Syndrome (BFS) manifests itself in the early stages of the season as an odd desire to flee the comfort and warmth of home to drive hours for the pleasure of sitting in a cold stadium on narrow bleacher seats. For those of you familiar only with professional football stadiums, sitting in those is to an average college stadium what sitting in a Barcalounger is to water-boarding. We want information out of captured illegal combatants? Buy them season tickets.
One must be sure to manage their BFS carefully. For instance, in one particular game this year my team lost in the last second against a hated division rival. I found this outcome to be largely dissatisfying, and so after careful consideration I determined that the best course of action would be to put my fist through the ceiling. As I told my wife, who was taking the dogs out for a walk with unusual urgency, had I been one of those truly "crazy" fans I would have taken a sledge hammer to the TV. Also, had I been one of those fans whose fist was not stuck in the ceiling and who could think beyond the searing pain and remember where the sledge hammer was.
Because the outcome of other games has a direct effect on your own team's bowl prospects, BFS can also create a fervor not previously witnessed over the fate of games involving unfamiliar teams on the other side of the country. This is usually harmless but can result in awkward moments such as when you jump up to scream, "Ya gotta love those Oregon... um, ba..be.. Whatevers! Whoo!"
If you know someone suffering from BFS you'll want to be careful what you say around them:
"Calm down, it's only a game."
"You graduated when?"
"Don't you think you've had enough beer?"
"The very fate of civilization rests on the outcome of this single game."
"Don't worry, we can always buy another end table. And lamp. And china set."
"Here, drink up, you look thirsty."
Rest assured that the symptoms will begin to diminish on or before January 5. The only lingering problem may be a strong desire to purchase brightly colored apparel heralding the accomplishments of the victor.
Or a hefty TV repair bill.
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