Part two in my series of fans!

There were two moments in my fandom that completely defined how I watch the Giants. Both within two weeks of each other. I’ve never been the same since.

They came in the 2000 super bowl season. This may sound like blasphemy now, but that season I was actually more of a Vikings fan. Now, let me explain. It was seventh grade. I wasn’t deep into football even though I liked it. My math teach that year, Mr. Romeo, had a statistics project that he assigned us at the start of the year. We had to follow a team, follow stats, predict wins, plot graphs based on the team’s performance, it was basically the coolest math project ever. We had to pick teams in random. Most of the class didn’t know the teams, and some girl picked the Giants before I got my turn. I remembered Randy Moss, and picked the Vikings. So I had to follow the Vikings all season long.

I got pretty into it. I credit that season as making me a bigger fan, because I had more reason to be invested. I bought a Vikings hat. I loved purple. That year they started 7-0 and looked phenomenal. Then we get to the championship game..against the Giants. The team my parents loved, and even I loved. If the Vikings won the Super Bowl, I won 10 free get out of homework cards and a free 100% on a test, so I went full bore into the Vikings and faced off against my parents. I talked some trash.

The Giants clobbered the Vikings 41-0. I turned the game off halfway through to play Majora’s Mask in the basement. I could hear my Dad cackling as the curb stomp happened upstairs.

I wasn’t bitter against the Giants though, just sad that I wouldn’t get my homework passes. Well now the Giants were in the Super Bowl against the hometown team, the Ravens. They had a “Ravens Day” at school. I wore my one Ravens shirt, but had secretly wore my Giants shirt underneath it. I flashed the shirt several times throughout the day. I trash talked some more. We all know how that game turned out. I was crushed, and for years afterward I was afraid to bring up football with my friends because their merciless teasing would follow. That trash talk and optimism bit me in the ass, hard.

Since then, I’ve gone into every game expecting to lose. I never trash talk before the outcome is 100% decided. I think it’s this way with most fans who have watched a good team dash their hopes. I’m terrible to watch Giants games with. I sit there, quiet. Stern watching of the TV. If I’m in a bar with people I wander off by myself when the game gets down to the wire and just stare at the TV. My girlfriend laughs at me because she thinks it’s hilarious how I’m so gloom and doom until the game ends. I love watching other games and have a great time, but when the Giants are on TV, I become a self deprecating stern depressive who expects the worst at all times. I’ve loosened up somewhat since the Giants have reached the promise land twice for me, but I’m still very pessimistic about each game and can’t relax until it is for sure over.

I think it’s because I still have a lot of personal attachment to my team, and if I go into each game expecting the worst, then I get two outcomes: Either I was right all along and the Giants suck which makes it easier to move on, or I am pleasantly surprised and get to be happy for at least a few days. One such example for me is the famous “miracle at New Meadowlands” with DJax running back the final punt. For a lot of Giants fans this was a moment of extreme pain and anguish. It honestly didn’t hurt me that much. When D-jax ran back that kick, I remember laughing and saying “Of COURSE that’s how this game would end” because by then I was already committed to thinking we’d lose anyway. People remember that play but forget we gave up a huge lead late and never should have been there to begin with. When the Eagles scored the tying TD, I gave up hope and was thankful the run back happened because it saved me the anguish of having to suffer through a bad overtime. We had no chance of winning that game by the end, stop blaming Matt Dodge. Blame our lazy defense who slept through the final 8 minutes and put us in that spot.

Anyway I know this style of football fandom is far from only me, I’ve met many pessimists in my time. I have a 49ers fan friend who walks out of the room whenever they kick a field goal because he doesn’t trust them to make it. Pessimist fans unite!

Also, as a side note, the Pessimist isn’t the Jaded Bitter Fan. Secretly, deep down, the pessimists always have hope. They just won’t admit it.