Anger Management

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It is 11:33 p.m. EST on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 and I am so mad right now that I feel LIKE TYPING THE REST OF THIS POST IN ALL CAPS AND USING A LOT OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!

I very rarely get upset about anything these days but right now I am livid. Why, you may ask, would an otherwise level-headed, mature adult feel like throwing a temper tantrum like a 4-year-old who was just told that he cannot brush his teeth with ice cream before going to bed? Before I answer, let me back up almost eight years ago to the day.

It was the night of June 16th, 2000. To quote Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was a date which will live in infamy in the Normal Mormon Household for the rest of our marriage. You see, both my wife and I are a passionate Lakers fans. Although I grew up in Salt Lake City, I plastered my childhood bedroom with posters of Magic Johnson, Kareem, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper and Kurt Rambis in his short shorts. (I still have nightmares about the Rambis poster. The word "pasty" does not even come close to describing the guy's thighs. Eeewwww.) As a kid I cried when the Lakers lost. Seriously. I cried.

As an adult, I'm not much better.

Okay, back to the day of infamy. The Lakers were playing the Indiana Pacers in the 2000 NBA Finals and were huge favorites to destroy the Pacers in that series. LA was already leading the series 3-1 and Game 5 was being played in Indiana. The NMW and I invited two of our friends who were also big Lakers fans over to our apartment to watch the Lakers close out the series and then celebrate the championship together. We never popped the celebratory Martinelli's (you gotta love those rip roarin' Provo celebrations) that night because the Lakers got destroyed 120-87. In the midst of the blowout, I completely lost it. At one point during the game I got so upset with the Lakers that I picked up a copy of Sports Illustrated, tore it in half, yelled at the TV, and then threw the SI across the room. The other three people in the apartment looked at me with the same horrified expression that Ben from Lost had on his face when his daughter was shot. It was one of the single most embarrassing moments of my life and I still regret it today.

That night I made a vow to do a better job controlling my emotions when the Lakers lost. I had to make the same promise on the days that BYU's basketball or football teams would stink it up. Especially when the Coogs would lose to the U. of U. Shortly thereafter I read a life-changing General Conference talk called "Agency and Anger" by Elder Lynn G. Robbins which truly helped me to better understand anger and to hold myself accountable for it. If you or somebody you know has a tendency to "lose their temper", please read that article. It is outstanding.

Fast forward eight years.

Tonight, at this very moment, the Lakers are losing by 36 points to the Boston Celtics in what will be the last game of the 2008 NBA Finals. Kobe & Co. are getting destroyed and have been completely outplayed and out coached in every aspect of this series. While I am no longer ripping up magazines, I still have a very hard time controlling my emotions when the Lakers play this badly. LA blew a 24-point lead in Game 4 and went on to lose. They then choked a 19-point lead in Game 5 and had to rally late to eek out an ugly win against an injury-plagued Celtics team. Tonight, the Lakers didn't even show up.

The sad thing is that I have hardly been able to enjoy any of this great Lakers playoff run. I get so disgusted if the Lakers are ever down by seven points or if they allow the other team to go on a 13-4 run that I have to turn off the TV and go in the other room. I can't even watch. If the Lakers ever win in a dramatic comeback I will have to read about it the next day on because I cannot stomach to watch them lose. I wish that I could just tune out the emotion and simply watch my favorite team play in the NBA Finals and take some enjoyment out of the fact that they are Western Conference champions and had a great season. But instead of joy, there is only frustration. Instead of satisfaction for winning the West, there is only disappointment that LA did not win the title. I get so upset so quickly that I think I know what Dr. David Banner must feel inside when Hulk starts to emerge, his clothes start shredding, and his body turns green.

Of all the teams in the NBA that the Lakers could lose to, the Celtics should be the easiest one for me to handle. Heck, I should even be happy for Boston. Kevin Garnett has always been one of my favorite players in the league. I absolute love Ray Allen's textbook jumpshot. Paul Pierce is a warrior. Danny Ainge, a BYU guy, is the General Manager and assembled the current Celtics roster. There are no spouse abuse issues, drug problems, or 3:00 a.m. handgun incidents to make me dislike this Celtics team. Even with these additional facts, it is still hard for me to suppress those raw, primal emotions from surfacing knowing the Lakers will lose tonight.

Am I alone in this? Not just about the Lakers or BYU, but about sports teams in general. I would really like to hear from you sports fans out there (and those of you who are married to passionate sports fans as well) to see how you react when your team loses. Please complete the poll on the right-hand column and leave some comments to explain how you generally react. I firmly believe that watching your team lose can bring out the ugly side in otherwise normal, mild-mannered men more than anything else in life. Am I right? Let me know.

I just checked and the Lakers ended up losing tonight by 39.

DOES ANYBODY HAVE A SPORTS ILLUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


-The Normal Mormon Wife - Thank you for recognizing the ways in which I have mastered my temper over the years, sweet heart. While I have never had serious anger issues, it's good to see that you have noticed some progress. I still don't understand why I cannot control my emotions when the Lakers or BYU lose, either. I try so hard to keep it in perspective, but I still have a lot of work to do in that area. And hey, I love you too. Sorry for making you watch the blowouts by yourself.

-Bioman75 - I think every LDS NBA fan can relate with your, "Well I guess I get more sleep and I can stop breaking the sabbath" comment. Classic!

-Natalie - Umm....It looks like I should have added a sixth category to the poll that said, "Homicidal: People rooting for the other team may end up on the next episode of CSI." I can only imagine how difficult it must be when your dad is the head coach at a major program like UNC and you have a personal relationship with the players. After seeing the feisty side of you emerge, I'm just incredibly relieved that you coached our YW basketball team to the Stake title. I wonder what would have happened to the players/fans of the opposing ward that would have beat us...

-Danny Ainge - You decided to post "Ha ha ha...Lakers suck!" all over my blog. Well guess what? I know who you are. I know where you live. I know the code to your home security system. And I am going to tell Natalie that you have been badmouthing UNC women's soccer. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Have you ever seen "When a Stranger Calls"? Child's play, my friend. Child's play.

-Andymann - You said that one of your best friends is one of the biggest Lakers fans in Phoenix and that, "he has now gone into hiding and cannot be found today." Don't worry too much about him, he didn't do anything drastic. Your friend has been on conference calls with me and the 102 members of my "Loyal Lakers League" devising ways to steal the identity of the commenter known as Danny Ainge so that we can ruin his credit and register him as a communist with his elections board. Good times.

-Jon-Michael - No need to apologize for being on your soapbox. It sounds like you are one of the lucky ones who was able to go from an "insane" to a "reasonable" sports fan. I envy you for being able to do that. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot turn the emotions off. For example, my wife and I do not have cable TV so I had only watched one or two Lakers game before the playoffs started. When the playoffs began, I tried to convince myself to just watch the Lakers play and have fun. Afterall, I had invested absolutely nothing into the team this year. But as soon as I started watching the games and saw the Lakers' weak rebounding, Kobe's forced shots, Phil's refusal to call timeouts or pressure the ball, and listened to Boston crowd go nuts after a big 3, etc., I just got too upset. Being a passionate, emotional Lakers fan is like being in the mafia: As soon as I think I'm out...they suck me right back in!


mama cow said...

Growing up my family would watch anything labeled "sports" and scream and yell when whatever team they decided they were going to root for scored OR missed. It was quite noisy around our house. The funniest thing I think about my family is they are prone to getting injured just watching sports let alone trying to play them. Anyhoo I have never understood the passion that goes into watching a game and vowed that I would find a man who did not watch sports and I would marry that man.(We just celebrated our 7 year anniversary) I do try to watch a few games just so I have something to talk to my dad about so I did see Tiger win this weekend as well as the Lakers loose but I must say it was not the end of the world for me or my hubby. Sorry your team lost but "There is always next year!"

6:42 AM
Vlazny's said...

I guess I cant make you a Kobe cake. Sorry but hey if you want to make me a Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett cake you are more than welcome to.


6:48 AM
Shelle said...

No I don't go postal when it comes to sports...My father is a big Jazz and BYU fan and he blows a gasket when his teams lose...but I don't mind and I didn't marry someone that has that kind of passion of any team in particular...he just enjoys the game...

BUt mess with my So You Think You Can Dance...and you better believe I'm going to be tearing up the next Glamour magazine! lol!

Unless it's the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue for some reason we always have that one...even though we don't subscribe to the magazine? Figure that?

7:45 AM
Michelle said...

Our house was pretty somber last night too. My husband has been handling his anger with complaints about the uneven foul-calling and by mocking Peirce's VERY low pain threshold. I think I would probably laugh if my husband ripped a Sports Illustrated in half. You know, nervous laughter.

7:46 AM
bioman75 said...

I feel your pain...

The anger has carried over to program has had a lot of issues.

Anyway the lack of desire to play hard was gone. It seemed like Kobe gave up after the first quarter.

Well I guess I get more sleep and I can stop breaking the sabbath.

8:53 AM
Natalie said...

I am so glad you did this post! And here I thought I was the only out there that was too involved in sports.

Of course, I do think I have a better excuse to lose it than you. My dad is the coach of a team so when they lose and don't bring home the title I am devastated! I am tied to his team by blood! Not just by going to UNC.

And I am devasted for months! Seriously! I cry, sob, am depressed, can't eat, can't sleep, and then when January rolls around I block it out. Completely block it out! At this point, I know that we lost last year in the 3rd round of the NCAA tourney, but couldn't tell you who we lost to, the score, anything about the game. I mentally block it out because it is that painful!

Yes I know, I should be in therapy. It is just hard not to take it too seriously when it is your family's livelihood! Once I got so mad at a fan from the other team (who was talking some bad smack about our team and my dad) so I kicked him as hard as I could! If I had a gun, that jerk would be dead. I know. Shocking. But that is how emotionally invested I am in the Tarheels. At least their women's soccer team. I get upset when our Basketball team loses, but not to the same degree of insanity.

9:41 AM
Sandy said...

I really shouldn't be laughing at the end of your post...but, now that its the morning have to admit, its kinda funny:) Jake, who is a die-hard sports fan, actually has had to quit watching too many professional sports teams because it just depresses him when he goes back to school to coach his 6 skinny, pasty white kids. We did watch the last 5 minutes of last night's game, though.

Sorry, I think Kobe Bryant should be in jail, so that kind of soured me on the Lakers...but I am indeed sorry for your loss:) Maybe next year you can get one of those stress balls or a water wienie or something and sit there squeezing it during the game.

10:02 AM
Linnae said...

I'm married to Sean. I think our High School's number one technical foul recipient and definitely ward basketball "kicked out of the game" winner. He is a die hard Jazz fan and had he been playing for, or coaching them, OF COURSE the Jazz would have won a title by now. But still I have yet to see him rip an SI issue in half. He criticizes the refs more then the players or coaches. Guess he's always had it out for the refs. Or in his words, they always had it out for him. But his dream--to be an NBA official. Go figure?

10:35 AM
danny ainge said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


11:41 AM
danny ainge said...

p.s. i was so overjoyed with last night's BLOWOUT that i left this same message on your last four posts as well. your addition of this post just gave me a more topical reason to say it again.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


11:44 AM
Kimberlee said...

NMH I feel your pain. The World Cup is difficult for me to watch, at best. You should do what Kobe admitted to Harry Potter to your kids to get your mind off the game. As a HP and Lakers fan myself, I found this to be an excellent strategy.

Thank you for your comments! You are a blogging Icon to me, so to speak, so to see you checked mine out was amazing. I also find a lot of joy in adding my own captions to pictures. Check it out again when I finally figure out my 'voice' as my 11th grade creative writing teacher would say. Thanks again!

1:03 PM
Anonymous said...

Your posts have a lot of words in them.

2:08 PM
Cpt Naykid said...

I used to be depressed all day when BYU lost football games. I wasn't too heart broken when we lost to USC because it was a legitimate victory. But when we have such close losses to Utah or TCU by missing an extra point kick in overtime...ugggh...sadness to my heart!

I am sorry for your loss as you are a Laker fan. However, since I am a Celtic fan I was overjoyed and loved seeing Ray Allen make break records and Rondo have a stellar night.

Being a BYU fan I have also felt in the past that Utah fans are somewhat blasphemous in their hatred towards BYU. Luckily, I have calmed my passion when we lose to the point that I am sad but can look at the game more objectively. When we lost to Tulsa last year I wasn't broken, because I knew we weren't prepared.

Sorry your team lost. When your team loses, it feels like we have also lost.

5:01 PM
Andymann said...


On sunday, I spoke in church and spoke about keeping the sabbath day holy. I did mention in the ward that the game was on and that the Lakers would lose the series, and to call someone in the ward for the score. I did not mention him by name, but he is probably one of my best friends. After the meeting it seemed as though everyone in the ward knew I was referring to my friend, the biggest Laker fan in Phoenix.
I understand your frustration as he has now gone into hiding and cannot be found today. The worst thing is that they gave up after the second quarter and rolled over like DOGS. It would have been worse to lose at home Sunday, but losing like that is really bad.It was probably the most embarrassing game I have seen them play ever, and this is from a hard-core SUNS fan.
My deepest appologies on the total lack of effort. And I sure hope that wasn't Danny Ainge who blogged previously.

6:21 PM
Andymann said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 6:22 PM
Andymann said...

p.s. I liked the picture of Dirty Kurt...He's my Hero!

6:24 PM
Lindsey said...

My husband is a sports lover and it has rubbed off on me (7 years will do that). I don't necessarily have favorite teams, I just have teams that I do not like (usually because of the coach, can I even say how much I dislike George Carl....and when did sweet Isaiah Thomas get so nasty?!) and the Lakers are one of those teams I dislike (it's a double-whammy there, I don't like Phil Jackson or Kobe), therefore, I was pleased that the Finals had the outcome they did BUT I was disappointed that the game wasn't more exciting to watch; I can't stand to watch a blowout! Of course I HAD to watch, my husband was at Bishopric meeting and whenever he misses a game because of a meeting, I like to watch so that I can give him a recap (gloat) about what he missed; suchas the ending to the U.S. Open on Monday (sure, I should have been doing something more productive, like cleaning or playing with my children instead of teaching them the finer points of golf....Eagles, Birdies, bunkers.).
I don't get too emotionally invested in the sports, though, it's usually just a way to talk about something other than children all the time.

6:37 PM
normal mormon wife said...

Just my two cents:

*I believe it was an ESPN the Magazine that went flying across the teeny tiny apartment, not SI. ESPN makes a lot more noise with those oversized pages.

*You don't turn off the TV and leave the room when you get upset. The TV is left on and your wife is left all alone to watch her crappy team get thrashed. Yet, I can't invite anyone over to watch with me for fear of another magazine-tearing episode. I'm doomed to watch the Lakers all alone. Boo on that!

After 11 years of marriage and seeing you master your temper in other areas(church ball, six-year-old rebellious offspring, etc.), I still don't get it. But I love you anyway.

7:33 PM
The Donald said...

I was a Laker Fan back in the 80's when I was a kid, and I remember also crying when they would lose, and going crazy when they would win. especially when they went back to back. But after Magic and Co. left, I no longer cared for them. And since Ray Ray is an ex Sonic, I was stoked to see him win a 'ship.

And while I can't stand any BYU sports teams (I will be at church, talk about the Cougar game from Saturday, and everyone figures I mean BYU even though I am talking about Wash St....very annoying) I am glad to read that there is another sane minded person that even though they are now an adult, they still get crazy when their teams play like crap. In a championship game no less. Not rip up SI crazy, but still crazy.

p.s. Rambis is most likely the ugliest dude to play ball, but he was the MAN! Same to the Coop, Byron Scott, Magic, Abdul JaBlunt, and Worthy!

8:14 PM
Aunt Julie said...

Hi Andrew! Aunt Julie here. I only watched snippets of the play-offs, but Russell turned it on last night and I watched the last half. I'm a Laker's fan and a Blazers fan (when they have a decent team and are halfway behaving themselves - which hasn't happened since Clyde the Glide was with us).

I have a suggestion. Try branching out. Pretend like these teams are wards in a stake. Pretend like you're the stake president and are obligated to "root" for more than just your ward. Try to find true joy in watching Garnett rip up the basketball court and then exult in his win - the first in, what 22 years?!!!! Did you hear him? That stupid chick with the microphone stuck in his face asking all those stupid questions? He was CRYING for joy. CRYING! He finally threw his head back and yelled "I'm on top of the world!" How can you not be happy for him!!! No disrespect for the Lakers intended. But the Celtics played some pretty impressive basketball last night. (Please, please don't throw that magazine at me....)

12:44 AM
Anonymous said...

You don't know me and I don't know you but my wife is in the web of blogs and she knows somebody who knows somebody ... and I have been told to read this post for entertainment. Although we don't know each other we have a lot of things in common but one glaring difference. I served in Antofagasta. I went to BYU. I am an avid sports fan and I waver on the insane or angry spectator depending on the teams involved. And I also love a team that I should hate (based on where I grew up)which is where our big difference emerges. I love the Celtics (I am from California)and I hate the Lakers. I enjoy watching the Lakers lose as much as I enjoy watching the Celtics win. So you can imagine that for the last 20 years I haven't enjoyed much. The Celtics have been horrible and the Lakers have dominated. So you can imagine my excitement this year. But because of my insane spectator tendency I missed one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history. I turned game 4 off after the first quarter. When I found out the next day that the Celtics had won I was almost as mad as I was when they were down nearly 30 in the first quarter. So I have now vowed to not be insane enough to turn the game off no matter how much it hurts to watch because I don't want to miss another historic game. So just remove any fragile items from the room and watch in pain because the unthinkable can happen and that is what makes sports the best reality on tv. I also wanted to thank you as a Laker fan for realizing how great Garnett, Allen, and Pierce are. You haven't let your passion for the Lakers cloud your vision. I wish I could say the same about Koby. Is my vision clouded by my passion or is Koby kind of a creep? Anyway, I enjoyed your post. I don't have a blog to turn you to except my wife's but she doesn't discuss sports much on hers.

8:10 AM
Jami said...

Hey Normal, Thanks so much for leaving the comment at my blog. Though probably the people who came to your blog from mine can be defined with one word: "me." I was checking out my links to make sure they worked.'s interesting that you are a Lakers fan. I've never been very excited about sports, but I managed to get into it when the Kings were in the playoffs against the Lakers.

Game 6. Honestly! I don't know how those refs stayed alive. I wanted to kill them and I'm not even a big fan. I (sports fool that I am) thought that they'd go back and change the idiot calls and maybe give the refs some jail time for that fiasco. I haven't watched a game since that night. I listened to game 7 and raged. There shouldn't have even been a game 7.

I found last week's sports headlines very interesting. Didn't you, Mr. Lakers Fan? :)

10:31 AM
Jon-Michael said...

I was a die hard Broncos fan in the 80's as these Elway-led teams got pummeled in 3 Super Bowls. As a child, I literally would cry I was so upset. However, as I got older I kind of got over it. Which is good, because my NBA team (The Nuggets), have laid an egg 5 years running in the playoffs.

One thing about sports that people need to remember is it can be fun when kept in perspective. However, many people expend all their positive energy in their teams, and cause their enthusiasm to wane in other areas of there lives.

I was realizing this not to long ago and took a step back from it all. I stopped attending games, reading the sports section of the paper, following sports related blogs and even stopped listening to sports radio (That in and of itself is a blessing). I realized after a month or two, I really don't need this and there are more important things in life to be passionate about that will get me to my dreams.

In other words, sports is fun, but keep it in perspective and don't waste your good energy and passion for life on something that ultimately provides entertainment value, and owes you nothing.

Okay, time to get off the soap box now.

1:56 PM

ummmmm.... dont you mean Bruce Banner? i dont know no david banner.

9:53 PM
Natalie said...

Ah yes, When a Stranger Calls is such a good movie. I need to get my problem under control. Let's just say I am glad I was released from my YW basketball coaching calling before things got out of hand. I am seriously worried for when I have kids, and they play sports. I don't want to be that parent, but am scared I might be!

7:33 AM
Karlene said...

You need one more choice on your sports anger poll: Sports? What sports? Was there a game on last night or somethun'?

8:30 AM
Anonymous said...

Okay, so I love sports. I live in Mesa, and am a huge Diamondbacks and Suns fan. I also like ASU and BYU (I still remembering going down to the Stake Center on Saturdays to watch Ty Detmer on the Blue and White network, or something like that). Anyway, I have experienced some serious frustration over the last few years with the Suns playing great and then not being able to keep it going through the playoffs. The Diamondbacks are currently playing horribly but are thankfully in a weak division so things are as bad as they could be. Anyway, with all of the sports watching and playing I have done throughout my career I have learned to keep my emotions in check. I think what has helped me the most is knowing that regardless of what happens during the game (especially the ones I'm watching and not playing), I still have a great life and it is not going to change based on the outcome of a game.

11:07 AM