I try to maintain a placid disposition. Normally I succeed, at work and at home. Introduce a sports disappointment to the mix, however, and you’re likely to hear me string together vile curses that would shame a longshoreman.
Consider yesterday’s Browns game, for example. My conscious, rational brain knew, to a point of metaphysical certainty, that the Browns were going to lose that game in heart-breaking, last-minute fashion — because that’s just what the Browns do. I thought I had prepared myself for the inevitable failure . . . but when Michael Vick threw a touchdown pass to put the Eagles ahead with about a minute to go, and the Browns responded by throwing a horrible, game-ending interception on the very next play from scrimmage, I felt the red rage boiling up inside, uncontrollable and undeniable. I let loose with an embarrassing series of awful epithets that shook the rafters, caused the frightened dogs to flee the family room, and left Kish shaking her head in dismay.
Put a golf club in my hands, and you’re likely to see the same thing. I’ll be playing along, accepting the many ugly shots and trying to focus on the fact that I’m outside on a lovely day with my friends and golf is just a game. But let me hit the ball into the water on one of my nemesis holes, or have my fourth putt in a row lip out, and the fury flows forth in a torrent of obscenity that leaves my playing companions laughing helplessly — which just makes me even madder.
I’m 55 years old. How can I still have these explosive outbursts about sports? What incident in my past created this wrathful inner demon who is always ready to throw a mortifying, childish tantrum at the latest sports disappointment? When I’m in my dotage, will I be alarming fellow residents at the old folks’ home when the Browns gag away another game?