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You’re Not A Bad Fan For Doing Something Else

NCAA Football: Boston College at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The other day, after the Eagles fell to a top ten UConn team in men’s hockey and a bottom ten UConn team in football, and shortly after my beloved BC Women’s Hockey team got nuked in the shot count (again) and blew a two goal lead to Vermont, I tweeted this:

For me, October 19th, 2018 was the day Boston College sports broke me.

As the resident Nutmegger here at BC Interruption, up to that point I had treated it as my duty to my Alma Mater to make sure to go to see the Eagles when they played in Connecticut. But that night four years ago, after watching the BC Men’s Hockey team fall in an incredibly frustrating 1-0 decision at Quinnipiac, I sat in traffic on my way down from York Hill with my wife in the passenger seat and told her I just couldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t a particularly big or important loss, but it was just, for some reason, the point of no return for me and my emotional capacity to follow all of my favorite BC teams with the same heart that I had since I was a freshman.

I realized then that it was not just pointless but actually damaging to my mental health to make myself so miserable by caring so much about these things. Why should I spend several hours of a nice Friday night doing something that had such a small chance of making me somewhat happy but a big chance of leaving me totally dejected and ruining my whole weekend? Why should anyone be expected to do that to themselves?

Since that Quinnipiac game, I can count on one hand the number BC football and men’s hockey games combined that I’ve attended in person. Yeah, the drive to and from Boston is a factor, but it hadn’t stopped me before. There was even a men’s hockey game against UConn a couple years ago where I made the drive up to Hartford, had dinner with the BCI crew across the street from the arena, and headed back home instead of going in for the game with everyone else. I just couldn’t do it. I only have enough room in my cold, dying heart to unconditionally love one struggling team these days.

And so, that brings me back to my tweet. Rather than force myself to decide whether I should make one of my few sojourns out into the world to watch the Eagles play in my own backyard...

...I happily made other arrangements to be out of state this weekend. The risk-reward calculus was easy — either we were going to win, and all I’d feel was relief at not having my Alma Mater look like a national laughingstock, or we were going to lose and my self-loathing would be immeasurable for putting myself in a situation to be laughed at all the way back to the car. Seriously, why bother?

Of course, my decision turned out to be the right one. I didn’t watch one minute of that football game, and I’m not going to be embarrassed to say so. I’m writing this article early on Monday morning on an train back home from Virginia after watching a couple very enjoyable NASCAR races in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. Bliss.

None of this is to say I don’t still love Boston College. I still wear my class ring everywhere I go. I still watch football games. I still love the men’s hockey team, and things are looking up for Coach Brown’s squad. But I no longer plan my schedule around these games. It’s not a breakup; on the contrary — it’s a sign of a maturing, healthy relationship.

October 29th, 2022 is going to be the date that finally broke a lot of you. I know of more than one BC fan who has thrown their hands up and said “that’s it, I can’t do it anymore; I am not going to keep making myself miserable.” You know what? That’s good! It’s 2022. We are in an era where mental health and taking care of yourself are a major focal point. Make yourself happy. Normalize doing things you enjoy. You aren’t a bad fan because of it, and you can still love the Eagles when you’re doing other things.