Lighten up; it’s just a game

Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with the New York Giants. Watching them rise from the ashes in 2007 and beat the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII was an experience I’ll never forget.

Super Bowl 2012. Logo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Fortunately for me, the Giants are experiencing an oddly similar winning streak this season. Just like in 2007, they barely made it to the playoffs as a wildcard selection. They then beat three very good teams—one of which won the Super Bowl last year—and will meet the New England Patriots (again) in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5.

Like I said before, the Giants had to beat three very good teams to make it to the Super Bowl. The toughest opponent was the San Francisco 49ers, another team that wasn’t supposed to be as good as it was this season.

49ers wide receiver/punt returner Kyle Williams had two major game-changing fumbles. His second fumble in overtime led to the Giants’ game-winning field goal and killed the 49ers’ Super Bowl dreams.

Needless to say, 49ers fans were upset. So how did they deal with their disappointment? They sent Williams death threats via Twitter.

One fan, 7-year-old Owen Shure of Los Angeles, had a different response.

Owen was crying after the 49ers lost, asking his father why Williams fumbled the ball. In an effort to calm him down, his father asked, “If you feel this way, how sad do you think Kyle Williams is?”

Patriots verses Giants, who will prevail . Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Owen asked his father, “Can I write him a letter to make him feel better?”

In the letter, Owen said he watched the playoff game and felt “really bad.” “But I wanted to tell you that you had a great season,” he said. He went on to say that he was proud of Williams and wanted to thank him, adding that he is Williams’ #1 fan and called him “awsome” (we can forgive him for the typo).

How is it that a 7-year-old boy is more levelheaded than the adults who have been watching football for years? This young fan remembers that professional athletes are people, too, and they deserve to be treated with respect, no matter how badly they play.

I think we can all learn a lesson from Owen. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the intensity and competitiveness of the game that we forget that it is just that—a game.

As the Super Bowl approaches, I am going into it with a much better attitude than I did four years ago. If the Giants win, I’ll be extremely happy because they will once again be the underdog that shocked the world. If the Giants lose, of course I’ll be disappointed. But the next morning I will wake up, do the same things I do every day and be proud to be a Giants fan anyway. I will know that they tried their best, and that’s all you can ever ask for. I will send no death threats or messages of hate, no matter the outcome.

After all, it’s just a game.