The Happy Horseshoe

The first part of this column focused on a difficult aspect of fandom: realizing that the team can never love us as ardently as we do them. This one touches on a few of the many reasons why ‘fandom’ and ‘fun’ are not mutually exclusive concepts.

 

The Happy Horseshoe: What I’m Currently Psyched About

Most players’ feelings about training camp range from weary indifference to outright dread. For some baffling reason, few muster up much rah-rah cheer at the prospect of flinging their bodies around in stifling humidity for hours on end, incurring moderate risk of injury, dehydration and the hilarious discomfort that stems from having to wedge those oversized bodies into narrow dorm room beds every evening. As someone who gets to read all about training camp from my own comfy and sufficiently wide bed at home, however, I enjoy it immensely.

Sure, the drills and scrimmages hold approximately one zillionth as much excitement and significance as a bona fide game. But there’s just something kind of special about seeing those first catches, tackles and breakaway runs. It’s our annual reminder of just how much pure joy can be derived from watching these men put their preternatural talents on display.

The majority of players, quite understandably, view training camp as a necessary evil (or, in “The Old Gunslinger’s” case, an unnecessary evil). But we football junkies are granted that first coveted fix after months of cruel withdrawal: we get to see our players play! Training camp signifies that football—not the mere gossiping and ruminating over it, but the actual PLAYING of it—has returned. For these next couple of weeks, Anderson has supplanted Maui on the list of my dream vacation destinations.

The League’s MVT (Most Valuable Tweeter):

You know those people who spend more time in cyber-space interacting with virtual strangers than developing a rich ‘real’ life in which they focus on the human beings they’ve actually met? I used to mock those people, but sometime over the past few years, I’ve morphed into one. One cause and manifestation of my cyber-addiction is Twitter. For those of you who hate Twitter and similar ‘social networking’ sites; I totally get the myriad reasons why. I’ll nobly sacrifice what little remains of my social life in order to troll for Colts-related tidbits and cyber-stalk our players while you venture outdoors and enjoy interacting with three-dimensional humans rather than spambots.

I’ve been goofily, ‘you-know-you-shouldn’t-care-but-totally-do’ flattered when a few of the players have replied with graciousness and wit to one or two of my tweets. Jerraud Powers isn’t among those players who’ve ever responded. Jerraud’s tweets aren’t as infectiously joyful as the life-loving Pat McAfee’s, nor as surprisingly thoughtful as Pierre Garcon’s, who just recently inquired of his followers whether they’d rather be ‘feared or loved.’ Jerraud’s tweets often consist of song lyrics with which I’m unfamiliar or, like most Tweeters, a simple and occasionally misspelled statement about what he’s doing and where he’s doing it. But once I came across this gem, I knew he had to be the recipient of my highly coveted MVT award:

“I’m anti-people”

That’s it! No qualification, no context. I laughed. I pondered the meaning and inspiration behind such an unusual tweet. I had that “yeah, I totally GET that” feeling which my favorite writing, regardless of length or topic, always inspires. I found it a remarkably refreshing change from the boastful and not always sincere ‘I’m awesome and so is every single thing about my life!!!’ tweets that clog up the site. Those two words made me think—(based what I’ll readily grant is scant evidence)—that there’s a darkly amusing depth to our cornerback, and I rather like that in a person. Cyber-applause to you,‘Jpeezy25’, for revealing a streak of snarky misanthropy to which many of your followers can relate.

In YOUR Opinion…:

( Initially, I’d hoped to present the below questions as polls. It quickly became evident that setting those up requires a certain amount of tech savvy. Unfortunately, I‘m someone who can’t use a computer other than to email back that Nigerian prince who wants my bank account number. I’m therefore including the questions here with high hopes that people will respond in the comments section below)

1) Which player’s healthy return is more vital to this season’s success?

A. Bob Sanders

B. Anthony Gonzalez

C. Either or both would be another tasty layer of icing on an already delectable horseshoe-shaped cake, but as long as Peyton stays upright and we can convince team favorite Mike Vanderjagt to return as our trusty kicker (kidding, kidding…), we have a solid chance of returning to the Super Bowl.

2) Which type of fan do you find most irritating?

A. Fans who don’t care enough; why don’t they get it?

B. Fans who care way too much; why don’t they just pop a Nutella-coated Xanax and calm down?

C. Faux-fans who feign enthusiasm just long enough to consume your wings and beer but turn out to lack even a shred of knowledge or appreciation of the game.

3) Which of these Colts superstars most strikes you as a guy you’d want to be friends with off the field (and not purely because he could always afford to pick up the tab): A. Peyton Manning

B. Dwight Freeney

C. Reggie Wayne

D. Dallas Clark

E. Jeff Saturday

F. Someone I neglected to list

G. I wouldn’t want to interact with any of them off the field! What if the guy I’d always liked and admired from afar turned out to be a total miscreant up close and personal? Didn’t someone wise and really, really old advise us to ‘never meet our heroes’?

4) Which of our division rivals strikes the most loathing in your homer hearts?

A. Jaguars

B. Texans

C. Titans

D. I prefer to reserve my precious antipathy for evil empires like the Patriots, Steelers and Chargers, thank you very much.

I’m always excited to hear from fellow NFL fans via email (MarlaAS@aol.com) or on Twitter (marlaas). Readers who insensitively mock my Nutella addiction will be blocked.

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