I would like to think that I've become a more mature sports fan as I've grown older.
By mature, I mean that I no longer destroy inanimate objects, scream at the TV and/or cry myself to sleep when my team loses.
Those days have passed.
But after watching the United States get worked over by the Czech Republic, 3-0, in the World Cup on Monday, I realized I'm no better than when I was younger. The difference is that I approach it in a new way -- I get depressed.
Monday was my day off at work, but I had to go in this week to finish up some work I procrastinated with during the weekend.
Because of the U.S. loss, I don't think I said one positive comment to any of my co-workers the entire day.
After I realized that a soccer game had ruined at least one day of my life, I sat down for some deep contemplation (which means about two minutes).
I realized there are two issues I'm dealing with, and I came up with scientific-sounding names for them: the ESPN Hammer Syndrome (or ESPNHS) and the Bill Buckner Virus (a.k.a. the What Did I Do to Deserve This? Virus).
First, I'll explain the ESPN Hammer Syndrome.
I grew up in a household without cable, therefore I knew little about ESPN during my childhood. I didn't start watching ESPN until I was in high school, when I dated a girl who had cable. We would actually sit and watch SportsCenter when we hung out.
What was nice about not having cable when I was little was that I didn't have to watch replay after replay of my team losing the big game. I would watch it live, and after I broke a few inanimate objects, yelled at the TV and cried myself to sleep, I'd be over it.
Once SportsCenter became a regular part of my life, I would have to watch my team lose at least once an hour for the next four days.
That created the ESPNHS.
Now, after a team loses an important game, I turn off the TV and I don't return until four days later. It helps me escape the depressing replays.
This is a problem for me because I use the television as a relaxation tool in the evening. I would love to go home and read a book, but after reading and writing all day at work, I can't take reading anymore.
Sure, I'd love to get into a sitcom, or I even hear that the show "24" is exciting to watch. The problem is that my schedule is so unpredictable I never have a chance to watch the same show twice in a month.
So, usually, every night I come home to SportsCenter. I don't have to know what happened the day, week or month before. It's always new.
But when I'm suffering from ESPNHS, I can't watch because of the fear that I'll see my team lose and revert back to breaking, screaming and crying.
This week, I couldn't bring myself to watch ESPN after the U.S. soccer loss until Thursday. Want to know what I watched instead?
Some B movie about a guy who didn't sleep for a year, started hallucinating at work and realized in the end that ... You know what? I have no idea what he realized in the end. The point is that it was a really bad movie and I stayed up way too long watching it.
If only U.S. midfielder DeMarcus Beasely would have shown up to play soccer instead of run around like a bull was chasing him.
The second issue is the Bill Buckner Virus.
This is the virus that infects your teams and dooms you forever. Bill Buckner had a great baseball caree,r but he'll always be remembered for letting the ball roll between his legs in the 1986 World Series. He doesn't deserve that, but that's what he gets.
Just like I don't deserve missing out on my teams winning a national or world championship since I was in third grade.
The Kansas City Royals and Chiefs, and the Kansas Jayhawks (mostly basketball) are the trifecta of my cheering allegiances. I also cheer for any team representing the United States.
When I was growing up, the Royals dominated in the '80s, and the Chiefs at least made the playoffs consistently in the '90s. The Jayhawks have always been decent.
But when it comes to winning the big one, they've all pulled Bill Buckners (except in '88 for the Hawks and '85 for the Royals).
With that said, a team in the red, white and blue has a chance to redeem itself and provide antibodies for the BBV.
The U.S. soccer team plays Italy today. I won't be able to watch it live because I'll be at the Young Life Car Show (as should you). But I hope with all of the hope I have left as a sports fan that I can come home to a SportsCenter that will show Beasley and the U.S. playing like the fifth-ranked team in the world.
Please, DeMarcus and crew, I can only take so many more B movies, and I'm going to run out of inanimate objects soon.