“I am not bound to win, I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.”(Abraham Lincoln”
It has been a disappointing year for my favorite Florida sports teams in 2018. The Miami Dolphins remain mired in perpetual mediocre performance on the field with key injuries, a porous defense, inconsistent blocking and quarterback problems. The Miami Hurricanes face the sudden resignation of their head coach after a disappointing bowl game loss to Wisconsin. The Miami Marlins shed payroll in a questionably located new stadium to satisfy economic profit at the expense of “top notch” hitting/pitching performance. In spite of my unflappable gratitude for my undergraduate college alumnus,the University of South Florida, the loss of last year’s quarterback and questionably conservative coaching calls at the end of the football season inevitably doomed my self optimism for this team’s winning direction after a most promising season start.
Thus needing a break from my sports gloom as the New Year approached, I savored the opportunity to attend the highly anticipated 2018 Orange Bowl with my wife on January 7. For a surprisingly affordable price of $60.00 per ticket, I thus purchased two east end zone seats for this playoff match between the Oklahoma Sooners and Alabama Crimson Tide at Hard Rock Stadium. The expected excitement of seeing this game was clear. The winning team would advance to the College Football Championship on January 7.
Other thoughts about overcoming past game frustrations soon crossed my mind. No more throwing my binoculars during fierce game action, hiding from others in post loss seclusion, or booing mindlessly for subpar player performance. Tonight, I would also accept the challenge to minimize my obsession on team strategy, or individual statistical performance as after all, the participant players had volunteered to play for the team. Most importantly, I would willingly experiment with positive behaviors to avoid stressing about the win/loss outcome on the field. How important it now felt to spend more quality time with my wife, interacting “one on one” with surrounding spectators and simply absorbing the positive energy of “rah rah” college enthusiasm.
POSTGAME BLOG OBSERVATIONS
Throughout Hard Rock Stadium tonight, a mesmerizing show of sight/sound captivated my first attention. I noted then a vast “sea” of Alabama ruddy crimson throughout the stadium with a smaller contingent of Oklahoma red rose confined to a few sections in the west end zone. I also noticed then that vertical support poles throughout the stadium lit up in bright orange while the field surface projected more boldly green than usual tonight. As game time neared, both college marching bands slowly encircled the field setting the stage for two, polished pregame shows to further arouse the crowd.
Alabama football tonight also meant “Roll Tide Roll” with maximum efficiency. With “Tide” amassing a convincing lead of 28-0 in the first half, I felt great need to rise from my seat to cheer in unison with the ”Bama” crazed crowd. After thrusting a nearby “Pom-Pom” shaker in the air, I gave “high fives” to adjacent spectators multiple times as well. At halftime, how strange it felt to ignore my typical scurry for the stadium corridors opting instead to watch the youthful energy of a pulsating rap music show on the field. As the outcome of the game became uncertain in the second half, the crowd grew increasingly hostile. Yet spectacularly acrobatic plays on both teams continued to be made, the impressive bands played on and people watching behavior seemed most interesting then.
I usually find it very difficult to concentrate as a spectator on a stadium sporting event without texting, posting, or web surfing on my I phone. Tonight however, “played out” quite differently from my past multitasking norm as shifting my point of view from performance competition to life enjoyment seemed the key ingredient to motivate me to shut off my device then. How inspiring it was as well that the absence of Internet caused me to strike up several courteous conversations with “Bama” fans tonight.
What have I learned most about sports passion by attending my first meaningful bowl game? Make the “now” moment of happiness matter most. Ominous attention on future results can spoil your fun for the game. Don’t feel bad if you need to not follow the game action. Be cognizant of those who share your passion for the team but don’t boo and rant toward the opposing side or angrily question referee calls. Realize that the true essence of home field advantage lies within your inner being as your positive energy resonates no matter what the score.
For your interest, I present my favorite photographs from the Orange Bowl below: