There's a bit of masochism to sports fans.

We love the pain and agony sports brings us.

In theory, going through the pain makes the winning even more enjoyable.

For me, the successes just means I avoided the misery for at least one day.

For six years long years I have waited for opening day of the new baseball season only to endure a loss by my Oakland A's.

I know they are not expected to make the playoffs. I know all the experts pick them to finish last in their division. I know I am the eternal optimist when it comes to the A's, but couldn't they win a season opener just once in a while?

After a long winter, baseball could not get here soon enough for me, and then the A's commit more errors than runs scored in the opener.

As I sat at home Monday night, monitoring the game, it all came flooding back to me.

This is my life.

This is how I will spend the next six months on an emotional roller coaster rooting for my team.

Even though baseball season is a marathon, and even the players will tell you it doesn't pay to get too high or too low after games, I cannot help myself.

I get emotionally invested every game.

If they lose, I agonize and can't wait until the next game in hopes they'll win that one.

If they win, I get too pumped and can't wait for the next so they can keep going.

There are many mental battles during the course of a game as it goes back and forth.

That is the life of a sports fan, at least this sports fan.

And that is something that cannot be explained to anyone who is not a sports fan.

Sports fans understand misery because if you follow your team closely, at some point in time they will ruin your day or week.

But try and understand your mood to someone who does not care about sports, and it just makes it worse.

No way they can sympathize with you, and actually, they think you're crazy for being so upset over a "game."

When someone tells you "it's just a game," it's infuriating.

I know it's a game. I know the outcome won't cure cancer. I know the outcome won't end world hunger. I know the outcome won't make any significant changes in the world.

But it can make or ruin a day.

At my house, my wife has lived through tantrums, screaming at the TV and the euphoria a meaningless April game can bring. Not only that, she has learned that yelling at the TV can be therapeutic.

While she has not become the sports fan I am, she does have her moments. The games don't stick with her like they do me, but on the other hand, I have not heard "it's just a game," in a long time.

So here I go again, another baseball season, just two games old, and I'm already mentally pacing and stewing over a loss and excited about a win.

It's going to be a long season. It always is.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.