September 17, 2014

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I’m a fanatic, but I’m not stupid
Written by Bob Hyle   
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 7:03 PM

Do you suffer from repeated bruising of the shin as a result of kicking your coffee table?

Exposed nerve endings on your fingertips from excessive chewing of your nails? Depression caused by a lack of hope?

If you have any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from PTBD: Post Traumatic Bengals Disorder. PTBD is a temporary condition, but it occurs annually in the Cincinnati area, usually in December; sometimes as early as September.

This year it occurred in January. To be specific, last Saturday when the Bengals were eliminated from the NFL playoffs.

Of all the symptoms described above, the third one is the hardest to deal with. Hope is part of the DNA of every sports fan.

You don’t have to be able to catch a pass or make a tackle to be a football fan; you just need a little hope for your team.

Most teams, not just the Bengals, are good at building up your hopes. The National Football League has made an art form of this emotion. The Bengals, though, seem to have copyrighted the ability to tear down those hopes.

How many times will we watch the replay of Andy Dalton’s fourth-quarter pass to A.J. Green in the end zone that was the length of a football from being caught?

Really, all our favorite sports teams have ways of dashing our hopes. Has any local baseball fan forgotten the way the Cincinnati Reds lost game three of the 2012 divisional series to the San Francisco Giants when Scotty Bleeping Rolen committed an error in the 10th inning?

Tough times
Difficult moments like these are supposed to give us character. We live through the tough times and look forward to next year when things will surely turn out differently.

The problem is: We have to wait a 12 months for what we perceive to be retribution knowing full well that the tiniest change can upend everything. The Butterfly Effect is used to describe such bad karma.

The flapping of a butterfly’s wings on the other side of the world can cause Dalton’s pass to be thrown 12 inches beyond his best receiver and all is lost.

It’s kind of a depressing way of thinking about life, but depression and being a Bengals’ fan go hand in hand. Even in the golden era of Bengals’ football, when the team reached the Super Bowl twice within a decade, the team was denied the ultimate victory. Of course, that was over 20 years ago and the Bengals mostly have been on a losing course since then.

One of my brothers has figured out a way to retain some hope in his life. He’s adopted the home team of his son-in-law, the Green Bay Packers, as his own.

I believe there are some serious abandonment issues when it comes to someone who has lived in a community for over half a century to become a Johnny-come-lately with a team from Wisconsin.

I noticed he has no bruising on his shin, though, and his finger nails remain well-manicured.
Such ailments are a badge of courage to those of us who believe in the hometown principle of fandom, although I’ve taken to carrying fingernail clippers with me on Bengals’ game days. I’m a fanatic, but I’m not stupid.

Bob Hyle covers sports and writes a weekly column for The Harrison Press. He lives in Bright.