Friday, September 18, 2009

Being A Crazy, Psycho Sports Fan: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Have you ever watched a sporting event -- whether it be baseball, basketball, football, boxing -- and you're right near an extremely psychotic fan who seems to live and die on every play? The type of fan who goes absolutely bonkers when his team does something good, and...well...absolutely bonkers when his team does bad? The type of fan who won't calm down for even a second unless his team is up 56-3?

That's me. I'm that psycho fan. :-)

We are currently in the midst of college football season. And for the last 23 years, I have been a fan of USC. And last week, my Trojans--ranked third in the nation -- traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to play the eighth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

And so it was last week that I went over to my Dad's -- a fellow USC fan, who sat me on his knee when I watched my first USC game on TV, in 1986 against Notre Dame -- to watch the game.

And with the game close throughout, psycho fan Nev took center stage.

Understand this: I'm considered a nice guy. Even sensitive. But when it comes to watching one of my favorite sports teams, psycho fan Nev will beat down anyone in his way to make sure victory is obtained.

And last week, that included my dad.

My poor Pops. With the USC game in doubt until the final seconds, he faced my full wrath throughout the game. Everything he said irritated me. Any mere mention of negativity was met with a slew of venom on my end. You see, to be honest, when one of my teams is in a close battle, I'm not a fun person to be around. When USC played its season opener on Sept. 5, for example, my wife Ramona was about to wander into the living room when she heard me screaming at the television that we were down 3-0.

She then decided it was better to go back to sleep.

It's nice when you have a wife who understands you. :-)

Anyways, back to my dad and my wrath. With USC trailing most of the game, here's some of the onslaught my dad had to deal with:

Dad: The problem is, USC is being outcoached.

Nev: Outcoached. That's all you ever say. Outcoached. Each year, every year, every game, you say we're being outcoached when we're losing. Well you know what? I'm tired of it!! You are forbidden to say "outcoached" for the rest of the year!! God damn it, get some new material already!!!!!

Dad: USC was favored by 6 1/2, and I never thought they'd cover.

Nev: You never said that!! You can't say that now!! You can't say you never thought they'd cover when they're losing!! You never said that beforehand!! Never never never!! You lie!!!!!

(note: Actually, my dad did say that before the game. Sorry Dad. That one's on me.)

And then there was:

Dad's girlfriend Vera (speaking to my dad): Why don't you sit on the couch next to your son?

Nev (speaking to my dad): Don't you dare even think about sitting next to me until you get your mind right!!!!!

And finally, my dad said a few mean things about the struggles of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, another one of my favorite teams.


Like I said: Psycho fan. :-)

And then, as I mentioned before, there's me yelling at the TV. Specifically, at the players on the screen. When the USC safety went out with an injury, I screamed at him to get a cortizone shot and suck it up. When the Ohio State quarterback scrambled for a first down, I demanded that the USC defenders take out his knees and "TEAR SOME LIGAMENTS!!!!!"

What can I say? I'm crazy.

But I noticed something last week that I've started noticing the past several months. These games -- these close games, this yelling and screaming and carrying on and living and dying on every play -- are taking their toll on me. I find myself taking longer to recover between games. In my younger days, I could yell at the top of my lungs and threaten everyone around me, and the next day I'm back out and ready to go. But after last week's game, I needed more time to mend. I was bruised, battered, exhausted. It wasn't until yesterday that I felt like my old self again.

It was yet another reminder that --at age 30 -- I wasn't quite as young as I used to be.

My father-in-law Jim warned me about this one time. Jim is a UCLA alum and, in his day, he lived and died with the Bruins on every play. But eventually, he told me, he just couldn't do it anymore. He couldn't bring the energy to every game like he used to. It was just too much, he said. He got older, had more responsibilities, and eventually he just got tired of the roller coaster ride.

He still watches UCLA games, still gets excited when they do well. But as far as being a crazy, psycho fan, those days -- he said -- are over.

And one day, they will be for me too.

There are fewer psycho fan Nev days ahead than there are behind. I realize that. I'm not sure when the end of the road is going to be. Maybe in two years, three years, four or even five. But I do know that I can't do this forever. I'm not a kid anymore, and eventually I'll have to step aside and let the new generation of psycho fans take over.

But for now: Psycho fan Nev remains. :-)

One last thing about watching last week's game with my dad:

Following USC's come-from-behind victory, the TV cameras panned to a shot of all the sad Ohio State players and coaches.

My dad and I pointed at them and laughed.

Then we hugged.

And all was forgiven.

A true father-son moment.


And now for this week's:


Have you ever wondered how many punches I threw at my wedding?

Now you can find out.


Check out this video of me and Ramona's grand entrance on the day we said "I do."

1 comment:

Dave said...

Actually, the sign of the apocalypse was TODAY'S USC game.