Well, I'm off to Tampa. I may even visit Clearwater to get audited by the Scientology Mothership.
I feel strange and conflicted about this experience. After 30 years of being essentially the only Cardinals fan on Earth I dislike the feeling that I have to share this with 100 million viewers around the globe. One of my favorite parts of the playoffs this year is listening to the national media (who have obviously never paid two seconds of attention to the team) saying things like "Wow, this Fitzgerald fellow is pretty good!" Thanks for the scoop, guys. Yeah, he's pretty much the best football player on this, and I assume any other, planet. We've known that for five years. It's cute that you're surprised.
Now the secret is out. A lot of people have gotten to see that, yes, guys like Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Adrian Wilson will do things on a weekly basis that the human body should not be capable of doing. I hope the team does itself proud even if it loses.
I wonder how I am going to feel if they lose given A) the obscene cost of this endeavor and B) the fact that it'll probably be 60 years until they get another shot at the title. I have serious doubts about their ability to beat Pittsburgh. The Steelers might just be too damn good defensively. But if we score 35 on everyone, maybe that means we can at least hang 17 or 21 on Pitt and hope our defense, which is far better than anyone realizes, can have the game of its life.
I went to my first Cardinals game in 1987. When they were still in St. Louis. I've been to a couple in Arizona and plenty of midwestern road games. I don't think I've missed more than 5 or 10 games on TV since 1995 (when DirecTV debuted). Before that, my dad and I used to drive into the middle of nowhere (between Kankakee and Urbana) to pick up the faint signal of KMOX St. Louis and follow the games on the radio. We're a little hardcore. There will be a lot of happy Arizonans if they win, but deep down I'm going to feel a lot more payoff than the average bandwagon-hopping Phoenician.
That's human nature, isn't it? Everyone likes to point at the band and say "I heard of them first. Liked 'em way before they were popular." So be it.
If nothing else, like the White Sox World Series run in 2005 this is a welcome diversion from the glum reality of the job market, politics, and the economy.