February 12, 2003

What Being a Fan is All About

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I’m giving up on Valentine’s Day this year.

That’s right, I’m not even going to recognize it. No candy, no flowers, no sappy cards. Instead the boys and I are hitting the road to watch the hockey team play Brown and Harvard this weekend. It just seems like the right thing for a fan to do right now.

A Cornell student named Jason knows what I’m talking about.

Since August, Jason and I have been neighbors, but there was always one thing I couldn’t figure out about the guy. He loves memorabilia from failed athletes. Posters with yesterday’s disappointments such as “Big Country” Bryant Reeves, and Ryan Leaf adorn just about every last inch of his room. He even has a New Jersey Nets towel from the 2002 NBA Finals, reminiscent of the East’s disappointing finish.

Lining Jason’s door however, is what most consider to be the crown jewels of his collection — Mackey Sasser trading cards.

Mackey Sasser (for those of you who aren’t into failed athletes) was a MLB catcher. Shuffled from team to team, Mackey eventually found himself a home with the Mets, despite the fact that he had to double clutch any ball he threw. Eventually Mackey’s unwanted habit turned into a major problem, and is most likely what cost him a lengthy career.

I asked Jason once why he like Mackey so much.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I guess just because he is really awesome.”

Admittedly his response caught me off guard. I mean, how can you not know why you like a professional ball player? Stunned, that anyone could chose to be a fan because of how “awesome” someone was instead of things such as errors and RBIs, I went back to my room.

Only recently have I figured out what Jason meant. For me it took about 15 minutes with an old friend I like to call Sega.