I’m a terrible cook, but I always enjoy watching people who can cook well talk about it. For whatever reason I started thinking about food and cooking over the weekend and realized it might be time to share my Recipe for Gophers Fandom Happiness, which I’ve seasoned with a healthy does of Julia Child’s wisdom.* With any luck, some of you can make your own variations on this and have a better game day experience.
"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it."
The first part of the recipe is the easiest...care deeply about the Gophers (or any other favorite team). If you’re reading this I sincerely doubt you’ll have a problem executing this step. If you do, I recommend you try harder. Sure, being a Minnesota fan is really hard and can lead to a lot of heartache but that shouldn’t stop you. After all, as Julia Child might say (were she a Gophers fan): "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In fandom you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." You’ll never get to enjoy the joys of fandom if you don’t go all-in as a fan to start with.
"People who love to eat are always the best people."
The best people to be around are those who enjoy life. You know who has the most power to determine how you feel? YOU. Do you know how I had fun at the game on Saturday despite the fact that it was the worst game I’d seen in person in a long time and it was the worst weather I’ve ever experienced at a football game? I chose to spend time caring more about the things that could make it fun instead of focusing solely on stuff that would make me angry.
What did that mean for me?
- Appreciating the fact that a really good college friend tagged along for the debacle despite his not being a fan of either Minnesota or Northwestern.
- Goldy selfies.
- Enjoying the antics of Goldy and the cheerleaders (they played a competitive game of musical chairs to the stadium music among other shenanigans).
- Incredulously realizing we were at a game cold enough for the rain droplets to freeze on our pants while we sat there.
- Talking about other things besides the game while the game was going on.
- And yes, in part it involved not caring about the game after a certain point.
The reason I had fun on Saturday had everything to do with the experiences that surrounded and were part of the game rather than solely focusing on the game itself. This is something you can replicate at home, at TCF, or on the road. All it takes is a willingness to consume sports in the way that best serves you.
"As you get older, you shouldn't waste time drinking bad wine."
Sometimes you just have to stop caring about sports at least a little so you can be a happier person. Note that I didn’t say stop caring altogether or that you “accept mediocrity” or anything else silly like that. After all, the very first Julia Child quote I used in this piece is all about CARING DEEPLY about the team that you love. But it is both possible to care deeply in an interest on the macro level and know when it’s time to check out on the micro level (game by game or even season by season sometimes). Your time is precious, you should spend it being happy as often as you can.
If that means you need to stop watching the Gophers from time to time, then you should do that. If that means you need to stop reading about the Gophers or commenting after a loss, then you should do that (you know I’m serious when I suggest not giving TDG those sweet sweet #clicks). If that means spending more time with friends or having distractions available while you watch, then do that. And whatever you do, never tweet. That’s just a hard and fast rule for happiness.
There will always be time to catch up later (via sweet sweet #clicks for TDG or a local newspaper or whatever) if that’s what you’ll need at some point. All I’m saying is, you should live your life in a way that makes clear you care about yourself as much as you care about the Gophers.
"Always remember: If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?"
Whatever you do, know that your decision is personal and doesn’t have to be anyone else’s business. But I hope however you choose to watch the Gophers (this weekend or in the future) makes you happy (or at least happy-ish) as often as possible.