"The team I'm rooting for becomes an extension of me. It is me. When there's an undeserved penalty, it's almost as if it's against me. It makes me mad, like almost missing a red light when you're in a hurry."
St. Petersburg, Florida
Meet Jim Melvin. He's a health and fitness writer and copy editor for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. Jim's got a good job, two daughters he loves and a standard poodle named Bogie. Guys like to hang out with Jim because he's bright, witty and interested in manly things like sports and checking out beautiful women.
Before he became enamored with the Bucs -- and before Tampa Bay ever bowed its head and admitted possession of the Bucs -- Jim was a fan of the Atlanta Braves. Hank Aaron was the toast of the team in those days, not that he had much competition for attention. "He was great; they were terrible," Jim recalls. "That's when I first felt angry, that I was being personally wronged by a team."
"If it goes down to the wire and they lose, I'll be depressed about it until mid-Tuesday," Jim says. Lots of opposing players have vanquished Bucs hopes over the years, but Jim recalls one especially painful Sunday when Detroit Lions quarterback Rodney Peete stepped up as designated spoiler.
He's never physically attacked anyone. But objects have potential. The Soloflex is supposed to be indestructible. Jim says it's not. He got so angry during one game because of a Bucs touchdown being called back by a holding penalty that he broke the exercise unit's bench by pounding on it with his fists. Another time he wrecked a coffee table. He hit it so hard that the metal frame bent. "I get so angry that I almost take on super-human strength," he says.
We project ourselves into their football team and that test is then performed by proxy. If a man's team wins that means he is No. 1. For one small moment he is a Master of the Universe and it was worth that $25 admission price or three hours invested in front of a television. He has met the need to test himself through his team. If his team wins, the guy will mouth off all week long about how tough "we" were, how great "we" were. "Did you see that play?" A man needs to be heard and known. He is going to let everybody know the Seahawks are his team.
They set themselves up as being unique. We all like the underdog to come through. Think of the NCAA. People just love the Cinderella teams coming out of nowhere and knocking off one of the big guys in the Final Four. There is something indescribably delicious about seeing the underdog come through.