Friday, April 07, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

My pastor has spoken a number of times on the subject of cognitive dissonance or acting yourself into a way of thinking or feeling. The primary context in which he has used it has been in describing how to love people. Let's be honest, there are a lot of people out there who are hard to love. And even with those who shouldn't be or aren't necessarily hard to love (our spouses, our families), there are circumstances (rough day, bad mood, someone has done something stupid or wronged you) where we can still find relatively loveable people very hard to love.

This is somewhat of an awkward way to start a sports blog, but this is where I am with the Washington Redskins. I grew up through the 80's and early 90's as a die-hard Redskins fan. I started watching football with my dad and he was a Skins fan and I caught it from him. There were some great, memorable and loveable Redskins teams in those years.

But then the collective bargaining agreement happened and I went off to college, right at the same time. The team I grew up with that had remained relatively the same for years, was dismantled. My favorite player (Art Monk) was now a Jet. Then an Eagle! The Hogs were gone, Gibbs was gone. It was Darrell Green and a bunch of guys I didn't care about. To make matters worse, I went off to college in PA where I was sandwiched between Eagles and Steelers coverage. And keep in mind this was before the internet, so I couldn't follow my team on my own. And Penn State football more than kept me occupied in the fall. All of a sudden, "Hail to the Redskins" became "Hail to the Lion".

So I kinda gave up. I gave up on the Skins. I gave up on the NFL. And that's where I was until about three years ago when a buddy of mine convinced me to get into his fantasy football keeper league. So I began to enjoy the NFL again, but I've only been rooting for the players on my fantasy teams, not any particular NFL team. If I happened to be watching a game that didn't impact my fantasy leagues, I might root a little for the Redskins, more for nostalgia than anything else. I wouldn't consider myself a fan. And to be honest, over the past three years, Dan Snyder really hasn't done much to endear himself to me. He's got a track record of overpaying for aging, mediocre talent, none of which gels well. What's to like here?

But this year is going to be different. I'm tired of not having a team to root for. I'm tired of not being able to engage in the 'my team's better' banter with friends. I mean, I get in there and mix it up, but when you're not invested into it, it doesn't matter. So starting this year, I'm going to make myself be a Redskins fan again. I'm going to act myself into a way of thinking/feeling, even if I'm struggling to find something loveable. I don't care if they just dropped $11.5 mil. on a guy who'll basically return kicks. I'll be the one at Buffalo Wild Wings in my throwback Ricky Ervins jersey cheering when Brandon Lloyd goes deep, baby! (Okay - he's on my fantasy team, maybe that's a little biased). But I'm going to do it. I'm going to become a fan again. I've hashed this out in email to my co-contributors here, but now I'm sharing with the entire world wide web (although this early in the blog, they'll probably still be the only ones reading) and now you all can hold me accountable to it.


At 9:50 PM, Blogger Boyer said...

Preach on brother Posid!! Now put down the fantasy draft preview and step away from the draft board. Welcome back to NFL fandom!!

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Oh the fantasy part never goes away...I just get to add to it now. :-)


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