The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, May 14, 2007
The Sports Fan's Misery
Some of my earliest memories are of my father yelling at the TV after another Jets fiasco.
For the hard core sports fan, there are lots of bad times and lots of bad memories.
Recently El ("I Hate Hockey") st ("Let's Go Rangers") er ("Why Should I Watch This Insane Sport Again?"), unable to defend a litany of absurd arguments (i.e. "let's attack the Patriots for trying to win another Super Bowl") has been hurling insults my way. One such purported insult: That I did not enjoy the 2006 Mets' run to the NLCS.
That isn't exactly true. After a six year Mets playoff drought, I was thrilled when Shea Stadium again became the center of New York sports last October. I was at Game 1 of both the NLDS and the NLCS (and unlike Elster paid for seats for which home plate was visible), and had dreams of a ticker tape parade downtown.
But Elster had a point. All of last season, I fretted that the Mets pitching was not good enough, that Willie Randolph was not a good enough game manager, that Billy Wagner was not what he used to be. The Mets, I predicted, would not win the NL pennant. Alas, I was, as usual, correct. And ultimately, the Mets would suffer the worst defeat in their history when they blew Game 7 against the Cardinals.
It is also true that in many ways, I really do not enjoy watching my teams play. A Jets loss is like a car wreck, while the feeling after a victory is generally akin to waking up after successful surgery.
I couldn't even watch much of Game 7 of the NLCS. When the Cards put the go-ahead run on base in the 9th, I changed the channel. A few minutes later, I saw that the score was 3-1.
Same with the late December Jets vs. Dolphins Monday night game. I took a break for a couple of minutes prior to Mike Nugent's field goal attempt.
As disappointed as the Rangers' round 2 loss is, it is also a blessing to be relieved of the anxiety of playoff hockey. While watching Game 2 of the Buffalo vs. Ottawa series, I couldn't help but enjoy the Sabres' tying goal with 5.8 seconds left, and reflect on how miserably stressful it often is to endure the ups and downs of a Rangers playoff game.
In the end, the elusive goal is that of a championship, the rare occasion when your team wins the last game of its sports' season. For me, that experience has occurred twice in around 115 seasons, and both times - the '86 Mets and '93-'94 Rangers - the road was torturous.
After a season ends, we engage in coping mechanisms, like following free agency and the draft, and convincing ourselves that our new cornerback is going to shore up the secondary, all the while ignoring that everyone else gets to draft players too.
Enjoy sports? If you can, great for you. But being an avid sports fan very often requires subjecting oneself to the opposite of enjoyment.
So why will I be schlepping to the Meadowlands tonight for Game 4 of the Nets vs. Cavs series?
Because the Nets are in the playoffs and are playing tonight. Hopefully they will win, and the ride home will be a good one.