It's supposed to be a game.
Unfortunately, in too many cases, it has become an obsession.
The 2007 college football season begins today, and millions of Americans morph into individuals they themselves would not recognize if there was some way for them to see how they act and look during the "game."
They lose their tempers; they boo the players, coaches and referees; they scream; their faces turn red and their blood pressure may even reach dangerous levels. They lose control of themselves and embarrass their family and friends as well as making a spectacle of themselves.
Again, it's supposed to be a game.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of this behavior is that some of those in the stands or watching a television screen boo the players or belittle them for not trying or not performing better.
This is wrong and unfair. No one wants to win more than the players. They are the ones engaged in a rough, often violent, activity. There can be serious injuries, lasting a lifetime. They have invested hours upon hours of practice and they expose themselves to hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of "fans" depending on the location of the "games." They are competitors, and they want to win!
The coaches, athletic directors and many engaged in businesses that enjoy added financial profits if a team wins all receive monetary rewards for wins. Not the players. Sure, many are on scholarships that are of great value, and there are other benefits, but the majority of those on the field are there because they truly love the "game." They want to play. They want to win for themselves, their teammates, their families and their school.
Win or lose, true fans should applaud the efforts of the players. They are representing a school and they are trying to the best of their ability.
An afternoon or evening football game can be a very special and enjoyable event. Enjoy it for what it is: a game, a contest - not a life or death happening.
Consider our troops in Iraq who face death 24 hours a day. Consider someone who is seriously ill or handicapped for life or any number of other truly life-and-death situations.
Let's hope Kansas University players win their game this evening against the players from Central Michigan, but if they don't, it's not the end of the world. If someone drops a pass or fumbles or doesn't perform up to All-American standards, don't boo. Whoever the player may be, he is trying. And, remember, it's just a game.