Pain made bearable by memory loss

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Our bodies are equipped with a biological perk that helps us get through this crazy life without living in constant fear — we forget pain.

Some folks believe that this is why women choose to give birth to multiple children. Apparently, memories of fractured tailbones and episiotomies slip women’s minds when they start feeling the urge to add another Rugrat to the fold. So they keep having kids, one after another. Each time they scream in pain, but it is all forgotten when the nurse presents the mother with a tiny bundle.

Emotional pain is also forgotten. Case in point: I don’t ever remember being so thoroughly crushed by a Utah loss as I was last Saturday. I’m sure I was heartbroken following other Utah-BYU showdowns that ended with BYU fans rushing the field, and I’m sure I was just as devastated about last year’s game-ending debacle. But over the ensuing months, I’d forgotten the magnitude of the gut-wrenching woe associated with a Cougar victory.

On Saturday, I was cruelly reminded of what it feels like to have your hated rival beaten — only to choke and throw it all away.

As the Cougars converted a fourth-and-18 in the waning minutes of the game, I felt a rush of abject horror fill my body.

Not again. It’s all BYU’s fault. Then I realized: No, it’s all my fault. Once again, I had allowed myself to become emotionally attached — something I had vowed not to do following last year’s 33-31 loss.

More than simply having a healthy interest in the state’s most famous annual barnburner, my life revolved around the rivalry for about a month. In addition to our regular duties, The Daily Utah Chronicle produced a 36-page rivalry guide. We became completely immersed in the whole Red vs. Blue phenomenon, and by the time Nov. 24 rolled around, I found myself in a bit of a frenzy.

Then I watched the Utah football team’s season come crashing down as Brian Johnson’s “Hail Mary” fell fruitlessly into the fray. Game over.

Pain.

For a day or two, colors weren’t as bright. Food didn’t taste as good.

Suddenly I found myself working through the Kübler-Ross grief cycle. First there was denial. There has to be a flag on that final play! Where was the flag?

My denial soon festered and became anger. I’m never going to Provo again. I hate that stupid town.

“Bargaining” was out — you can’t argue with a scoreboard.

Then there was plain old depression — the blues. How could this happen to us again? It’s not fair.

Those of you who are concerned for my mental well-being — mom, dad, are you out there? — I’m happy to report, the depression has melted into acceptance.

Acceptance is a nice place. It’s a “We’ll get ’em next year” kind of a place.

To avoid such heartache in the future, I’m thinking a little emotional detachment might be in order. Maybe I’ll follow in the footsteps of my fiancée’s mom, Susan, who has a brilliant system for avoiding pain.

After Michael Jordan hit his championship-winning shot in 1998, where he pushed off on Bryon Russell, she sent her kids out to play and quietly retired to her bedroom where she collapsed onto the comforter. It’s been nine years and Susan hasn’t been interested in sports since. It was too emotionally draining.

She’s a smart woman. She never forgets pain. Sports bring pain. On second thought, she’s given birth to seven children. Maybe she forgets pain selectively. It’s not an exact science.

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