It’s Only a Game by Debra H. Goldstein
My husband’s blood runs Crimson. Nick Saban’s signed picture hangs in a prominent place in his man cave, which doubles as my den since we downsized. Signed University of Alabama footballs and Bear Bryant memorabilia also grace the room’s shelves.
Just as he deems these men to be G-ds, my husband religiously attends games or is glued to the television screen cheering his team on or bemoaning bad umpire calls. If the Alabama team wins, he takes pleasure in another week of bragging rights, but if, as they did on New Year’s Day, they get blown out of the water, he mutters for a few minutes and then philosophically notes, “It’s Only a Game.”
Many of our friends will be in mourning until next year’s football season. They still spend hours dissecting the bad plays or interceptions that “lost the game.” They talk about how difficult it is to be a “marked” team because of having had a high ranking throughout the season. Their sorrow will be tempered by verbally analyzing critical plays at parties and watching DVR’d games to relive the high moments of the season.
There are other people in our state who mourn in a more aggressive manner. Newspaper stories of fights prompted by insults, stealing of mascots, and destruction of property are commonplace. Why? After all, “It’s Only a Game.”
As a Johnny-come-lately to the writing world, I am in awe of many writers. Their books are on display on my upstairs bookshelves, much as Nick Saban mementos are downstairs. Throughout the years their works entertained, educated, and engaged me. Now, as I have met many, my respect for their repeated generosity and kindnesses to other writers constantly grows, especially while watching each struggle with juggling time to write, marketing and selling enough books to get another contract, handling today’s social media demands, and living balanced lives. The reality is that most don’t “win” every day, but the successful ones handle their losses in a similar manner. Rather than dwelling on the set-back or sabotaging their competition, they understand the defeat of the moment reflects that “It’s Only a Game.”