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Dec 17, 2019

   It hasn’t been a very fun year for me as a college football fan. It’s weird that I should say that, but it’s been a weird season. My team won all of their except for one and I’m pretty sure if we played that one over again, we’d take the win. It was one of those fluke games we were supposed to dominate, but stuff just kept happening. Then we went to the conference championship game to face the LSU Tigers and it went exactly the way I expected it to.

   So you might be asking me why it wasn’t fun? My team did really well for the most part and things look promising for the future.

   The reason it hasn’t been fun is that most Georgia Bulldog fans will tell you that the majority of the wins weren’t pretty and the entire season was spent with a lump in our throats, waiting for the shoe to drop. And through the wins, we knew what we were going to face in the postseason, - that being one of the most amazing quarterbacks I’ve ever watched, who played for LSU. We’re talking about a dude who ran his offense like he’d been playing in the NFL for ten years.

   But, that’s not what I want to focus on in this story.

   This is the story of how I handled this last game, even though I was prepared for the way it was going to turn out.

   This is the story of why I’ve had to step away from several of the games I’d been excited to watch because of the monster I was becoming and some of the things I did, thought, or said that made me have to say, “Hey! Idiot … that’s not very Christ like.”

   I won’t bore you with anymore game details. You can get that from sports talk radio till you’re blue in the jock strap. No, I think you’d probably be more interested in me - mild mannered Michael, father of two, and happy husband who puts up Christmas lights with my son in the very visual of a Norman Rockwell painting - becoming a total dip-wad jerk-face about college football.

   I said “DIP” … with a “P”.

   I get my sports watching from my grandpa, mostly, except for the losing my ever-lovin’ mind part. I remember him sitting there in his chair on Sunday afternoon, watching the Braves or the Falcons in steely silence, only speaking up when we kids got too loud or between him and the TV. He’d speak up then and say something like, “Can’t hear the TV!” or “Can’t see the TV!” Then it was back to silence as he took in whatever was happening, whether it was bad or good. When it comes to Atlanta sports, the balance has been toward the bad, except for the 15 year run the Braves had of straight NL East Division championships. But you don’t want those stats. You want to hear about how, when watching sports and my team doesn’t do well, I can summon the deepest, darkest, thoughts from hell’s whimsy.

   That’s where any similarity ends with my Grandpa as far as sports watching habits go - the silence. I really don’t care for people talking around me when the game’s on. I don’t like going to watch parties because the word “Party” tends to mean people will be communicating and I like to focus completely on the game. How else am I going to understand exactly how stupid the play calling is or how transparent the play calling is or how moronic the play calling is? I could go on.

   It starts with the usual stuff … outbursts like, “OH COME ON!” and “WHERE’S THE FLAG, Helen Keller?!”

   I usually have a good, well thought out reason for being in disagreement with the coaching, or the on-field play, or the referee’s judgement, or the smug look on the opposing running back’s mother’s face. But when things don’t go my way on a large scale, I can ramp up my negativity to 11. I start thinking things I shouldn’t when things start happening like the play calling is vanilla, which it was most of the season, or the receivers play as if the were just taken off an assembly line that day and had never seen a football before - an assembly line where their sole job was to smear butter with their bare hands.

   I’m not violent in my thinking. I never wish for a player to suffer a physical injury, but I’d be lying if I don’t go to dark places in my mind where there’s public embarrassment for the opposing coach or the opposing running back’s smug mother. I think about things like how sweet it’d be if my team could make a miraculous comeback and I might get to see the other team’s player’s and fan’s gaping, arrogant mouths hanging open in disbelief and inconsolable grief like big ol’ open mouths! Maybe I’d be offered the extra sprinkles on top of a victory cupcake of witnessing real, cascading tears of emotional torment on the faces of the other players and the running back’s mama.

   But I’m a Christian. I believe every word of the bible, including Love thy neighbor as you love yourself and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I don’t think,  Don’t be a dip-wad jerk face, is from the bible, but it is good wisdom, and by the time my emotions get that far, I feel the Holy Spirit start knocking on the door of my heart, saying something to the effect of, Um, Mike ol’ buddy ol’ pal, That’s not exactly the way I want you thinking. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite of how I want you thinking.

   Of course, until I come to my senses, my flesh will argue.

   "Are you watching this? That was obviously pass interferance! The refs are being paid - I know it!"

   I doesn’t matter. You’re supposed to be the salt of the earth and you know THAT. Right now, you’re more like sour sauce on a four day old burrito.

   "Cheating is wrong! And also, our offensive coordinator only knows one play! UP THE MIDDLE! UP THE STINKIN’ MIDDLE!"

   Watch your temper, Michael. Be the salt.

   "I want to pour salt in the ref’s eyes!"


   But like a true believer, when the Holy Spirit corrects me, it sticks, and even though I don’t want to listen, I can’t help but to. That’s why during the 2019 Southeastern Conference championship game, when I started to scream at everything in eyesight like a person who had completely lost every bit of his mind, beginning with the television, ending with the Christmas tree, and everything in between, I had to remove myself from the situation.

   It was clear that my team was outmatched and there would be no miraculous comeback. So when I let out a final, “#$^(I@&#Y&%#^!*#&*(@#&(*@#^Y(&!@^#&@ IT!”, I heard more sternly from the Holy Spirit.

   First of all, Mister, we don’t talk like that and you know better! Second, you’re done.

   "Fine, I’ll go to my room."

   No, sir. I want you to leave this house. Go somewhere and cool down. You think about what you’ve done and how you are to behave, young man, and I don’t want you coming back in this house until you can do so with a Christian attitude. AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT GETTING CHOCOLATE TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER! In fact, I’m coming with you to make sure you do as you’re told.

   I went to my bedroom where my wife was comfortably settling in to watch her team play in their conference championship game, which we all knew they would win without a problem, and told her that I was not acting or thinking very Jesus-like and that I had to step out for a while. We had a lot of dirty laundry to catch up on and I had decided to go to the laundromat and do it all at once. Besides, the washer we had at the house was not being very righteous either and had that night started re-enacting Noah’s flood all over the laundry room floor.

   She said okay and at first, I thought she said it rather smugly. I don’t like smug, but the Holy Spirit spoke up and stopped me in my tracks …

   Stopppppp iiiiiiitttt! There was nothing smug about her reply and if you start being a dip-wad jerk face to her, you’ll regret it.

   I’m glad the next day was Sunday, because I needed to be in God’s house for some spiritual recharge in a bad way. I went to the laundromat, got everything washed and dried, and even got the opportunity to pray silently for a family of people who came in just before I left, who let’s just say needed …. You know what? No. We all need prayer and I’m starting to sound like a dip-wad jerk face.

   Here’s to being a good neighbor and listening to the Holy Spirit. Thank God He guides me, because if He didn’t, I’d might be mentally wishing the fleas of a thousand camels upon you for something.

   Love ya, though.

   Mean it.

   I have a feeling you might relate to this in some way. It might not be sports, but it might be something. Maybe heavy traffic, maybe telemarketers. That’s another one of mine and it’s the theme of the next episode. Hey, guess what … I made a gmail account for Funny Messy Life so you can email me if you want to. It’s so now it’s even easier for you to shoot over your thoughts and comments. I really want to hear from you. The website has all kinds of access to me too, including a contact page and all the ways you need to subscribe and share at the push of a button. 

   So until next time, I’m Michael Blackston and I thank you for lending an ear to a little bit of my Funny, Messy, Life.