I have a friend who is a huge New York Ranger fan. If you spend five minutes with him, somehow he’ll work hockey into the conversation. He quotes stats, argues defensive philosophies, and curses the Islanders. I think he may have been born wearing a blue and red Ranger jersey.
As a sports fan this is a little embarrassing, but I’m going to “out” myself and admit I’ve never watched an entire hockey game. (With the exception of a few Olympic hockey games.) For whatever reason, hockey has just never held any appeal for me. (With apologies to Mike Vamosi.) I’d probably watch an NHL game before I’d watch soccer (why would any American watch soccer?), but that’s not saying much.
My friend lives in Nashville, so he obviously doesn’t get to attend many Ranger games. I don’t live in the Royals local viewing area either but I still watch all the games on the DirecTV Extra Innings package or on MLB.TV, I can listen to the radio broadcasts on the Internet, on my smart phone, or on the Sirius/XM radio in my car; and I can read all the news reports online. Aside from actually attending the games at Kauffman, I have access to virtually the same information and TV broadcasts as everyone who lives in Kansas City. I frequently multitask and watch a “regular” TV show with my wife while the Royals game and GameDay play on my laptop and I simultaneously live Tweet the game. Yes, it can frequently be a little bit of overkill.
I always assumed my friend followed the Rangers the same way I follow the Royals and that he subscribed to the NHL Center Ice plan and spent three days each week watching his team play on TV. However, I assumed incorrectly.
My friend has a good job, he earns a good salary, he can easily afford a nice TV and a subscription to hockey programming. I had to ask – why in the world don’t you have the Center Ice package? His answer was both simple and confusing to me… “Because I’d never do anything else.” I realized at that moment that he was much more sane than I thought.
Most people who are passionate about something will pursue their obsession at every opportunity. Real Bikers want to ride their motorcycle every time the sun is shining, people who love to read will pull a book (or Kindle) out of their purse while standing in line at the grocery store, foodies who enjoy smoking ribs may end up entering every BBQ contest within 750 miles. Anyone who jogs in the dark with one of those reflective belts around their waist is not only passionate about running, they’re also crazy in my opinion.
There’s lots of evidence around us that passionate Royals fans exist. If you’re reading this website, chances are that you may be a passionate Royals fan. Every heard of Royalman? I’m sure you recognize him. Any guy that runs around in tights, a cape, and a big KC on his chest is definitely passionate about his team. How about a guy who actually tattoos the Royals World Series winning year on his arm? That’s craziness or passion, one or the other, or maybe both.
Based on what I’ve seen on Twitter and the comments I’ve read on many of the message boards, there are lots and lots of Royals fans who never miss a game. Ideally, they have season tickets and they sit in their designated seat at Kauffman 81 times per Summer. Or if they can’t attend the game, they either watch it on TV, or listen on the radio in their car, or like SungWoo Lee, they sneak a peak of their MLB mobile app on their cell phone from underneath the paperwork piled on the conference room table while attending a meeting at their office in Korea. We’re talking about seriously crazy obsessed fans here. And as Curley of the Three Stooges says, “I resemble that remark.”
And what happens if you can’t attend a game or watch on TV or listen on the radio? Do you experience withdrawls as I do? Or, is it possible you actually feel guilty about missing a game? If so, then you are suffering from “obsessed-fan-itis,” which is a very challenging disease to cure.
Let’s get real for a moment. The NFL plays 16 regular season games. The NBA has 81 games, unless a strike shortens their season as it did this year. There are 36 NASCAR races. But Baseball plays 162 regular season games. One hundred and sixty two! That’s a huge number, almost too many in my opinion. (Don’t think I’m complaining, because I’m not. I’m just trying to be objective.) Every contest in almost every other sport has significantly greater meaning than an MLB game. If you miss a single baseball game, or a week of baseball games, in the bigger scheme of things, you really haven’t missed that much.
I love baseball, with all my heart. I have the same feeling when I watch the Royals play that I got when I watched my own children play baseball and softball when they were younger. I want them to win more than anything in the world. At times, I can be downright “fanatical” about my Boys in Blue.
A couple of weeks ago on Twitter, I was freaking out about the performance of one particular Royals player. Bob Fescoe had a suggestion for me – He recommended that I “move on,” saying it would be good for my mental health. This was a good idea in my opinion and one that other Royals fans should take to heart as well.
Sports are great fun, they help build character, they create camaraderie, they teach patience and they are one of the key things that make life truly enjoyable. As a Royals fan, we’ve been taught all these lessons and more over the years. But you’ve no doubt heard someone say that you can get too much of a good thing. I think it’s true.
I’m not saying that you should walk away from the Royals, not in the slightest. However, I am saying that it’s OK to take a night off occasionally, take your wife to dinner, attend your kid’s band performance, participate in a Wednesday night prayer service, take your family camping for the weekend, etc. I promise, the Royals won’t mind, as Bob Fescoe says – it will be good for your mental health. And don’t worry, I promise Kings of Kauffman & the Boys in Blue will be waiting for you when you get back.