What Does Happiness Feel Like?

If my math serves me correctly — which I hope it does, as I am paid for my accounting skills — it’s been over four months since I last sat down and blessed all of you with my slightly-above-average writing abilities in blog form. In fact, my blogs have come few and far between for some time, even before the Rona unleashed its bullshit on our daily lives, and most importantly, sports. When I try to pin down a reason for my lack of motivation, dating back to the wonderful year 2019, I can’t quite hit the nail on the head.

Is living with my parents in York, PA, so incredibly boring that it has lulled me into such a deep mental sleep that I am completely lacking the energy to find anything funny to say anymore? 

Nah, that’s not it. You see me on Twitter. No steps have been lost.

Have I finally learned how to do my job, thus gaining more responsibility and less energy to do extra work?

Let’s be honest, this ain’t it either. No one actually knows what they’re doing.

The loss of sports for most of the spring and summer certainly didn’t motivate me to rise from the dark depths of my dusty WordPress account, and the ominous cloud of a possible college football cancellation will be looming over my head until these two eyes physically see some sort of season completed and a new national champion (Penn State) crowned in January.

NBA bubble life is sweet, and I had a wonderful time losing every single bet I made on opening weekend, but seriously, who really enjoys the NBA that much? The MLB feels like impending doom. As I’m reading through and editing this blog, I realized that I didn’t even include the NHL in the first draft. That about sums that up. At the end of the day, the massive sea of boredom and sadness we’ve all been drowning in is going to require much more than this to pull us out.

We. Need. Football.

When I say “football,” I mean it to encompass much more than just the actual game being played. Unfortunately, we all know that we will not be getting the traditional season of joy that we know and love this year. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m really not — I swear on the hope that my future husband lets me name our first child after Micah Parsons. But I need to just reminisce on the good times that we will not have this year (at least I will not, because Pennsylvania stinks) and remind myself that they will return once again. Hopefully, it doesn’t make any of us any more depressed. Unless you’re not currently even depressed at all, to which I say — congratulations, what does happiness feel like?

Wait, wait, wait — don’t tell me. Unlike the question “How do I get a boyfriend?” I think I actually know the answer to this.

Happiness feels like…

Waking up long before the crack of dawn on a crisp, fall Saturday morning. Everything hurts for a second or two, as you audibly groan at the alarm blaring from your phone, wondering why you still haven’t changed the sound to be something less obnoxious and blood-curdling. You groggily toss your phone across the bed, but with much less rigor than you are likely to accidentally throw it when you are shitfaced beyond belief later that day. Then, as quickly as the pain set in, it subsides. Your mind is suddenly clear, with just one thought left to preoccupy it.

It’s Gameday.

After retrieving your phone from the mess of covers on your bed, you check the weather to see that it will be freezing all morning and then warm up throughout the day. Classic. You rummage through your drawers, piecing together an extremely school-spirited outfit, down to the shoelaces (okay, I may be the only person here who has team-themed shoelaces).

As you get dressed, you think about how you’re going to have to toss half of these layers and accessories into the back of someone’s pickup truck as you start sweating profusely this afternoon, and hope they don’t get lost like the time you accidentally lost your crutches at one truck and your sweatshirt at another while tailgating for the Whiteout for nine hours. Luckily, you remember that you’ve stepped up your game over the years and now pregame at a fancy RV, where there should be plentiful storage space.

Outside the front of your house, you spot the bright lights of your friend’s dad’s truck, as you are riding with their family to the game, since your own moves at a snail’s pace, and you refuse to grow up and must start guzzling alcohol and eating a sickening overabundance of tailgate food as early as you possibly can. Tailgating is your favorite sport.

From the car, your friend texts you “I’m here, fucker,” because you don’t communicate with your friends in a very civil manner, and definitely not on gameday. As your phone pings, you are already halfway out the door because college football is the only thing in your entire life that matters, so you didn’t waste much time looking in the mirror. Backwards hat, sunglasses, face tattoo, and giant hoop earrings so that people know you’re a (ridiculously single) girl once you start rattling off stats about the third-string left guard later. Let’s get this show on the road.

Once you are squished into the backseat of the car, you are torn between trying to rest up for the long day ahead and being so incredibly wired that your brain is moments away from exploding. Two hours later, when you finally arrive home at the stadium, the sun is up and out, but it’s still freezing, as promised. It doesn’t matter. Nothing does today. The adults (you refuse to consider yourself an adult, especially in this setting) set up the festivities around you. The first beer is cracked, and you craft an Instagram story of yourself holding it in front of the stadium so that everyone can see how much fun you are having at 8 AM and they are not.

Cheers, bitch.

Over the next several hours, the rest of the party trickles into the lot. Around 11 AM, you greet your parents, who are none too pleased nor surprised that you have your third cup of JoePa Juiceā„¢ in your left hand while your right is being used to pour shots for you and your little brothers’ friends, whose names you’ve heard a million times but are always too drunk to fully absorb.

Your friend’s dad is cooking his usual bacon and eggs on the grill, and you make sure to grab some, but not too much, because who wants to slow down the buzz you’ve already created so quickly? Plus, you know there will be an insane amount of food available to you later, and you will probably end up consuming about 4,000 calories worth of it and trying to figure out why you feel sick the next day. Like the time at the aforementioned Whiteout that you ate an entire Subway sub as a mid-day snack and you only knew because your mom told you on the Sunday car ride home.

Cornhole, flipcup, and beer pong are among the games that are played at a higher competitive level than Rutgers plays football. Every now and then, you pass by a TV to see what team Clemson is destroying this week and how Michigan is going about finding a way to finish in third place in their division yet again this year. Feeling perfectly liquored up and overconfident, you haphazardly login to FanDuel, smearing buffalo chicken dip on your phone, to place a few ill-informed bets that will all inevitably lose.

Life is good.

At a certain point in the afternoon, you realize that you’ve had way too much fun for it to not be game time yet, and you shoot a glance at your phone. Below the now-hardened buffalo chicken dip, you can make out “3:19 PM,” and are absolutely astonished that there are still over four hours until kickoff. Astonished, and simultaneously re-energized. Here comes that second wave. Who wants to shotgun?!

You beeline toward the nearest cooler, retrieve a few beers, and sloppily pawn them off to whoever will give you the time of day (well, not really, cause you just got that by yourself).

“Come on, let’s shotgun these! The night is young! Mom, take my phone and record this!” you exclaim, thinking this will look soOoOo cool on social media, forgetting that you are 26 years old and it does not. Someone with keys pokes everyone’s holes, and you enthusiastically count down from three. You are slightly out of practice, overly intoxicated, and accidentally tip the can in the wrong direction so that half of it spills out into the grass before you realize the atrocity you have committed. It’s extraordinarily impressive — so glad mom got that on camera!

Back in your younger years, this is about the time you’d migrate into your mother’s car to take a power nap. Not by any sort of strategic choice, but because you refused to drink beer or seltzer and physically could not keep your eyes open anymore after all the hard liquor you’d consumed. Now, it’s the time that your nose perks up, and you notice the delectable platter of baked goods that have been laid out, so you grab a handful and subsequently hate yourself, wondering why you are the way you are until it is time to head into the game.

And then… finally, the time has come. You can barely run a mile on a regular day, yet find it appropriate to sprint from the lot to one of several stadium entrances. You are giddy with glee as the stadium worker scans your shitty $40 nosebleed ticket that will not be put to use. Instead, your brother emerges from the student section with a friend’s ticket, passes it off to you, and you both dive into a sea of white pom-poms and kids that are so drunk that they don’t even remember what school they attend.

You begin to take in the absolutely electric pregame atmosphere around you. It’s been a long nine months since bowl season, and there were so many days that you weren’t even sure you’d make it here today. A smile on your face so big that it might break it, a happiness in your heart so full that it might burst out of your chest, and 107,000 of your closest friends surrounding you, cheering so loudly and passionately that it might rupture your ear drums. This is it. College football is back.

You are home.

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