“Language has limits and can finally only say what is not, but falters before an experience that so completely is” (Giamatti 23). Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes a feeling is so extraordinary that there really is no way to describe your emotions. Sports have given me this feeling, time and time again. Last night was one of those times.
Last night was the first time I truly meant it when I said that it’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine. I am damn proud to be here. After defeating the defending national champions Notre Dame, the student section stormed the field and joined the victorious Michigan soccer team. We all went insane. From chanting to jumping to singing, we came together as one. When the team won, I felt as though I won, and there is no better feeling than that. As Giamatti would say, there was a religious feel to it. It was a type of ceremony.
The celebration was one thing, but what happened as everything settled down was what will remain with me forever. It sends chills down my back just thinking about it. A senior midfielder came over to all of us fans and said, “I want to thank every single one of you. Forever Go Blue. This victory is as much yours as it is ours.” I immediately thought of Giamatti. In his text, Giamatti says, “When people win together, the joy is more intense
then when any of us wins alone, because part of any true pleasure is sharing that pleasure…” (Giamatti 20). The players could have easily celebrated their win as a team, but they chose to celebrate it with us, the fans. Now that I have stopped playing sports, I have learned a lot about being a fan and about play.
Being a fan is more than just being a spectator. Being a fan is being fully engaged in the game, watching every movement from every player like it is one’s own, and emotionally connecting to the players. Giamatti says that “recreation is re-creation,” and that imagining yourself on the field as one of the players brings the heart. Re-creating memories is enough to stimulate your senses and join a new community, one that becomes hard to leave. Fanhood becomes addicting, and people want to keep feeling this passion and sense of belonging. Watching Colin McAtee score his third goal of the game last night reminded me of my old days on the pitch, and I became attached to the event, creating a whole new world for myself.
Giamatti, A. Bartlett. Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games. New York: Summit, 1989. Web.