If you follow me on twitter, you know, I am not a big fan of Cincinnati ESPN radio; yet, I listen to it every day. (I’m much more less of a fan of radio with music so I take what I can get). I listen to it, one because even though its about Cincinnati teams, every now and then they tell me something I care about, and two, because I like the brain teasers. For example, last week one host said that the Bengals have tons of talent on offense. I spent the next ten minutes contemplating the meaning of the words tons and talent.
It can be a rather fun, and sometime infuriating time. The afternoon drive time slot is filled with a rotation of three different announcers. Mo – the recent doubter, Lance – the banging on the table guy, and Chick – the one who calls everyone stud. I’m sure it comes to no surprise to Packers fans, or fans of football in general, that what is going on with the Bengals is absolute chaos (with a little hilarity mixed in). On the days that Mo is on the air, we laugh about the Bengals and how silly the organization is. He thinks it would be completely hysterical and wonderful if Carson Palmer decided the show up at some point, just to mess with the team. Lance changes opinions a lot; I think that’s from all the table banging. And Chick, Chick spent the last two times he was on air, chastising Bengals fans for not believing. His argument being that at this point, when nothing has happened yet, there’s really no price to pay for having hope. Caller after caller tried to explain that their twenty years of hoping was the price they already paid and that they were done, but Chick just called them Stud and wasn’t hearing it. The next day, my boss walked in and told me that I should get on board the Bengals train, because it was leaving the station (seriously). For the life of me, after the repeated abuse, I can’t see why anyone would still be out there hoping and believing that this Bengals season could turn out well, but it got me thinking.
So as I was sitting, bored, pondering pre-season expectations and predictions, I noticed a tweet from an oft opinionated and fully dedicated Packers fan, David aka Midwestfan.
While I'm glad football is back, I don't look forward to four weeks of people overreacting to meaningless games.
And while, as I’m trying to morph into a more analytical fan, I do agree with him, but there has to be a happy medium.
Training camp and preseason is a time for joy, like the night before Christmas (or select other religious holiday or important day – we’re all inclusive here at EMC). You’ve been waiting for this, for months, through grueling hot days when non-important baseball is played and sometimes there’s some golf thing on TV. Finally, football is back. And being a diehard fan, I find it almost impossible to not jump for joy and see massive potential at even the slightest things. But then somewhere, the reality that it’s just August and we’re half a year away from crowning another Super Bowl champ sinks in.
Preseason games aren’t dress rehearsals, they’re tests. They exist to check plays, player formations and to stretch before games count, but mostly they’re rubrics for grading new guys.
So I say to my Cincinnati Bengals fan friends, and to my fellow Packer lovers, optimism is okay. Live in it, love it. I can hope and believe my team will repeat as Super Bowl champs and you can hope your team might have a winning season. It's natural, and dare I say, I even encourage the excitement about potential. But before we go twisting our ankles jumping up and down after a sweet pass in practice or the defense intercepting the other teams third string quarter back, remember the scores don’t count. What counts are players’ reactions to adversity, noticed growth from game one to game four, and the solidification of the depth chart. And what matters is that no one gets hurt.
So save up some of that over excitement. As we like to say a lot around these parts, "whole lotta ball game left."