Love doesn't come easy.
So when you award it to someone or something, it's special. It makes you vulnerable, because you feel a need to guard that which fuels your heart.
Recently, I've expressed my concern about the Jaguars' future in Jacksonville. And in doing so, other readers have questioned my love for the team and whether or not I'm truly a fan. Well, I actually love the Jaguars. I am a true fan. But alas, I must guard my heart.
In essence, I'm a husband who fears that his marriage will soon end in divorce.
Does that reflect on the spirit of a fan? Or does it describe someone who objectively fears that his heart will soon be broken?
It is the latter. It is the writing on the wall. It is the danger that keeps me on guard and worried.
Am I an idiot for that? Perhaps, yes. But throw Mr. Ketchman in that pile with me.
Consider these passages from “Ask Vic” on Monday, July 19th:
Grant from Fernandina Beach, FL
July 19th and not a big push, yet. I’m getting a little nervous.
Vic: So am I.
Dan from Jacksonville
I am a single father with two boys. After work I picked up the kids and headed home. In the mailbox was a thick envelope from the Jags and I instantly knew what it was, my first-ever set of season tickets. . . . The three of us will be at every game because we own the right to be there now.
Vic: That’s a lovely story. I hope you and your family have the best football season of your lives.
Grant's passage ends in obvious concern. Vic provides the clue. The objective reporter's perspective. Sure, he has some love, but not to the extent that we do. He's not so guarded, and he's not so afraid to admit his nerves.
Dan's passage requires more study. His story is sweet. The Jaguar family, excited to finally give it their all. Dan's situation is what Jacksonville needs. But the concern may be that such stories are coming too late. For the subtle hint lies at the end. Vic wishes that Dan's family experiences the best football “season” of their lives. His reference is starkly singular. It sounds like “one and done.” Reporters earn wages from objectivity. His love is not as deep as ours. Nor is his optimism.
Yet, when the season's first funny, brown ball takes to the air, yes, my love will be where it belongs. With our almighty Jaguars. But that love will be guarded. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I'll wonder, “Will I soon be one of those weird misplaced fans? Living nowhere near the team they root for? Like a Yankee fan in South Florida? Or a Cowboy fan in Orlando? Or a Laker fan in Tampa? Or an L.A. Jags fan in Jacksonville?”