WHEN THE MENTAL PAIN IS
JUST TOO MUCH

     I've been in a funk all week. I thought it would go away, but there's a pall hanging over me, and it may last forever.
     It doesn't make a lot of sense. My life is fine. My family is fine. Business is good. Everyone close to me is healthy. So what is it?
     Fortunately, I have my wife to rely on in these desperate times. Seeing me suffer couldn't be easy on her, but like all loving and supportive wives, she rose to the occasion.
     "Get over it," she said. "It's just a stupid football game."
      Spoken like a true non-believer. She wasn't even there at the end. She left at halftime to go to a movie with a girlfriend. She never saw the fumbled punt that led to my beloved 49ers' crushing loss to the New York Giants, thereby ruining my life.
     It was probably a good thing she left. Watching your mild-mannered husband kick a chair down the hallway while screaming obscenities is not a great image.
     In some ways, I admired her disinterest. She has gone through the week without an ounce of regret, without any profound sense of disappointment, without realizing that life will never be the same because the 49ers blew their chance to be in the Super Bowl.
     She thinks the world will go on. How naive, how shallow. How fortunate.
     She can't comprehend the magnitude of this disaster. These are the San Francisco 49ers, my hometown team. So what if I don't know any of the players or coaches personally, and that almost none of them are local boys, and that many of them will be on other teams in the years to come?
     These are my guys, and I follow them like white on rice, as long as they're winning. Just because I didn't know the names of 60% of the players until the last few weeks doesn't mean I didn't care. I was always there for them, as long as they were winning.
     Yes, it's true I didn't fumble the punt, as my wife has reminded me many times. But that doesn't make it any easier. If I had not changed my seating position at the start of the 4th quarter, it's pretty clear none of this tragedy would have unfolded.
     I don't know what I was thinking. Things were going well, and I guess I lost my focus for a moment. I need to apologize to my fellow 49er fans for my stupidity. I'm not positive staying in my lucky seat would have won the game, but it might have been all that was needed. We'll never know.
     Meanwhile, the funk continues. I can't watch Sportscenter anymore, because it will only remind me of the pain. It helps to talk to other diehard 49er fans, reliving the horror, but that gets tiresome after awhile.
     There isn't much I can do except wait. As they say, "time heals all wounds." Once the Super Bowl is over, and those ridiculously lucky Giants end their season with, hopefully, a crushing loss that will let them know how I feel, then I will be able, hopefully, to get on with my life.
    I hope so. The alternative is to become a zombie, like my wife, with no allegiances to teams. She feels no pain, but nor did she feel the exhiliration when our 49ers beat the Saints the week before with a last-second touchdown.
     Those were the days. I felt such love for those boys whom I'd never met and were from all over the country and who would be on different teams in future years. Once I got to know their names, we were one.
     And now, suddenly, it's all over. We had been through so much together, but nothing lasts forever, I guess.
     I try to remember the good times, the high-fives, the chest-bumping, the roars of delight. But my mind keeps coming back to that idiot (my teammate and brother, I mean) that fumbled the punt at such a critical time.
    I wonder if he feels as bad as me. He's young, and he has his whole life in front of him. But what about me? How many more chances will I have to make the Super Bowl? Maybe that's why it hurts so much.
     Oh, well. Every day gets a little better. I've got a long way to go, but I'll get there. I'm strong. Besides, it's my own fault. I should have never learned their names.

 

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