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THE MORNING CONSTITUTIONAL: GO AHEAD AND CRY, KID

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WE WISH WE HAD HAPPY NEWS FOR YOU, BRAZIL KID. (WE DON'T.)

Dear kid:

I have nothing for you. Maybe it's worse when your team is good, and there is the hope of winning. If you'll notice, fans of desolate, perpetually forlorn carrion wagons like Kentucky football or tragedians like Ole Miss fans don't hold up cups to their faces, clutch their eyes, and try to literally vomit their sorrow into a Coke cup after losing by six goals on their home turf.  Brazil fans do, because shame has a prerequisite: the standard, or the notion that you will be somewhere that is not crying so hard you have to compress yourself into some kind of ball to keep from shattering into a thousand tiny pieces.

No, kid, I think something's broken in you. You will never, ever cry like this over a Brazil game, ever, ever again. You might have a dog die, and you'll cry like this over that. You might hear a song that blindsides you emotionally, and have a good long shudder in your car while strangers awkwardly avoid meeting your eyes in traffic.  I cried like this once over a game: In 1985, when I was nine, and went to see Georgia/Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and didn't even really understand the concept of football or how games really worked, and just went along with the fever pitch of the people I was with until I realized that I had made a very, very unfortunate choice. I had gone with Georgia people, who looked up at the end of the game and saw 20-16, Georgia Tech over Georgia.

And like a baby who looks around the room, sees someone crying, and who then begins to weep sympathetically, I broke down crying to the point where the people I was with stopped crying, and then began to consider leaving my emotionally fractured self on the sidewalk on North Avenue. (My father certainly considered it, at least.) I didn't go to another football game, at least another college football game, for nine years. When Auburn beat us five games later, I was nine years old again, and looking for a cup, and then remembering where I'd felt his horrible before, and how badly I needed something to fix it that wouldn't arrive for at least six days, and still wouldn't totally blot out the nausea and instant vertigo of loss.

Every time you lose in grandiose fashion, kid, you will feel like a copy of a copy of the previous person, and then replicate the process on down through whatever horrid series of woodsheds life drags your team through on the way. I wish I could say it gets better, and how it'd be nice if a goddamn game couldn't reduce you being a disintegrating ball of nine-year old emotions at any age. The only consolation is that the copies get fainter over time, and get better at hiding in the dark of the page.

P.S. You're broken now, and the only thing that will fix it is the thing that broke you in the first place.

P.P.S. Welcome to the club.