Murphy's Law

Murphy’s law: October woes too stressful for sports fans

The eyes of Chicagoans turn to the United Center as the Blackhawks and the Bulls begin their preseasons. Photo courtesy of Flickr//Andrew Wilkinson

For every sports fan, October is the most stressful month of the year. It’s not because they don’t have the perfect Halloween costume. It’s because everything — and I mean everything — is happening at once.

Baseball season is reaching its climax as the playoff bracket is being set. Your team is either done or playing for the World Series title. October is exciting because even if you don’t like baseball, playoff season is intense and every at-bat could be the difference between victory or defeat. The young blood newly called up from the minors are eager to prove themselves, and everyone is in pursuit of the coveted title of World Champions.

Because the baseball season is 162 games long, it’s easy to say that one loss or even a string of losses don’t matter. The Tigers gave up 20 runs in a game earlier this season, but they’re still in the running for the World Series title. In October, though, every loss and every series matters.

Don’t they know how stressful that is for fans?

As if baseball stress wasn’t enough, professional football is now in full swing. Fans must be attentive every Thursday, Sunday and Monday so as not to miss any of the action.

It’s even worse for those who play fantasy. In all the excitement, what if you play someone on a bye week? What if your quarterback is playing your defense? You have to stay on top of your game and adjust for injuries and suspensions — especially this year, with all of the scandals. For example, what would you do if your first-round draft pick was suspended just weeks into the season?

Being an NFL fan is nearly a full-time job.

And as if two current seasons don’t drain all of fans’ resources, October means hockey and basketball are gearing up to start. The Madhouse on Madison is about to go crazy…and so am I.

The Blackhawks have already started the preseason, and the regular season starts Oct. 9. As Stanley Cup contenders, Oct. 9 starts the long, 82-game road to May. The start of the Hawks’ season also means trolling the Wrigley bars in hopes of finding Patrick Kane.

The Bulls don’t officially start their season until Oct. 29, but their preseason starts Oct. 6.

Also, Derrick Rose is back, which adds a whole new level of fervor to the Bulls’ fandom. There are eight preseason games, and the tension is high. On Sept. 28, the Chicago SunTimes reported that on media day, “every Derrick Rose jump shot, dribble, quote and ice pack soon will be scrutinized.”

They’re right. Just ask the fans holding their breath every time Rose leaves his feet and letting out a sigh of relief when he lands safely.

I live in Chicago, so naturally I have to keep up with the Chicago teams, but I also have hometown allegiances to which I need to stay true.

Four sports, eight teams, one month, is it too much?

“Nope, it’s not enough,” says the NCAA, feeling neglected.

College football is tricky because not only do you have to pay attention to the game for a few hours, the NCAA football culture demands you tailgate before and celebrate or mourn after, depending on the outcome.

If you’re not present at the game, you have to watch it on TV, and not just your team’s game, but all the games. You need to know what happens.

Not only are sports taking over my time, my wardrobe is highly affected. What do I wear when both the Hawks and Bears have a game?

I can’t wear both jerseys at the same time. That would be ridiculous.

“Why not just choose one sport,” you say?

Because no matter which sport I pick, everyone will be talking about another one. How can you connect with your sports buddies when you have no idea what they’re talking about? What if you forget the score of the Cubs game? What if you forget that the Cubs aren’t actually playing anymore? Do you know how embarrassing that is?

Someone needs to call the protesters in New York and tell them to push saving the planet back to November. Don’t they know how much everyone has going on right now?

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