How Sweet the Sting…

It’s been a little gloom and doom in the bomber household these past few days…

You see there was this semi-important professional sporting match on Sunday, and despite my best efforts of yelling and screaming at the tv, my boys did not come away with that Lombardi trophy.

While I hold no ill will towards those gents in black and gold, I can’t help but wallow in my loss.

It got me thinking about championships and fandom- more specifically what impacts us more, the wins or losses?

My baseball team, the Bronx Bombers, returned to glory this past year; my college football team, finally beat an SEC team and won that beautiful tournament of roses.  And while those were great feelings, they don’t compare to the losses.

I can’t be alone in this sentiment, can I?

I remember all the times the BCS championship left me heart broken and cursing Tim Tebow, or the SEC- way more strongly than beating Miami for the championship.

I remember the 2004 American League Championship Series and that damn bloody sock!

Why’s this? Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment! I don’t know.

Lombardi said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” Maybe that’s the case, we’re just not programmed to be losers.

Now, before you go answering the $64,000 question… here are some variables that came to mind…

How long you’ve been pouring your heart out for a team without that major win (cough cough, Browns fans)?

How often your team makes it to the big dance?

Who you lost or won to… (I’d be way more pissed in a world where the Colts and Pats could play in a Super Bowl and lose to fairy pants McGee, i.e. Brady)?

If you were physically present at said event?

If you root for a team that happens to win a lot? (hey, I know I do, but I also root for the Cavs and Caps!)

The talking heads in the offseason and waiting to prove yourself again.

So I leave it up to you sports fans…

5 thoughts on “How Sweet the Sting…

  1. Really interesting topic and question, and since you specifically called out Browns fans, I figured my response might carry some weight.

    I am also a White Sox fan, and the first thing that came to my mind while reading this is that the White Sox have provided me with – quantitatively speaking – far more losing over the years than winning. Yet, my friends and I still talk about the 2005 World Series like it was yesterday. And we talk about a 7-game road winning streak against the Yankees and Indians from the 98 or 99 season. And we talk about how awesome Jermaine Dye and Albert Belle’s second halves were even in seasons when the Sox didn’t make the playoffs.

    So, to answer your question, I believe that the thrill of victory and of memorable positive moments lasts far longer than the agony of defeat. Sure, I remember some of the White Sox bad losses, but not nearly as much as I remember and savor the wins, even those that didn’t necessarily bring home a title of any kind. Maybe that would be different if the White Sox hadn’t brought it all home with a World Series title…

    …which brings me to the Browns, who have given fans very little to cheer about since the 80s. Still, when I think back over my last decade as a Browns fan, the first thought that comes to mind is the 2007 season when Cleveland shocked everyone, including themselves, to be 10-6 and finish just short of the playoffs. The season was exciting and, it turns out, a complete anomaly…but it was still memorable. And even though the losses have hurt, they still don’t compete with the momentary excitement from that season.

    Now, as for the heartbreaking plays of the 80s, I can’t really attest to that. I came into my Browns fandom after that point (as a college football kid back then).

    So, in conclusion, while I certainly think about the bad losses that my favorite teams have had, what makes following sports worth it for me is the lingering thrill of victory. If the White Sox don’t win another title for another 100 years, at least I’ll always have the one. Again, maybe it takes a title to create that kind of lingering, lasting thrill…but all things being equal, the wins linger longer than the losses for me.

  2. This is a fascinating question, one that I’m having trouble answering. For years I, a long suffering Redskins fan, have looked back at their dominant Super Bowl run of my 5th grade year for solace. The fond memories of that season have carried me, and will continue to help me through, years of ineptitude.
    But, on the other side of the coin. The awful feeling in my stomach when my alma mater blew a double digit lead in the 2001 Final Four and lost to eventual national champion Duke was only partially cured when Maryland eventually won the title the following year.
    So, in my book, its the agony of defeat. This Super Bowl is going to stick with you for a while bomber…

  3. I’m with Captain Fantastic minus the Skins rooting. Re-watching clips from Maryland’s glory years (aka all of my 4 years at Md) can still bring tears to my eyes, but the sight of Shane Battier makes me remember the “Gone in 54 Seconds” game from my freshman year (and also makes me want to throw things at my TV). But then I remember Battier crying on his senior night when the Terps beat them. It’s totally mixed. I think it takes your team winning it all for you to get over the heartbreak.

    I was in Atlanta and saw my Terps win their first title, and it might be the only title I ever see, but I still remember it like yesterday. I’ll always remember everything about the Ravens Super Bowl season in 2000. I’m still waiting for my Caps to get there (it will happen soon). I know my fellow Caps fans and I tend to go back to Game 7 against the Rangers last season, but completely shut out the next Game 7 we saw.

    (And notice there is one team I don’t even want to talk about – the O’s. Don’t get me started)

  4. I happen to also be a Washington Capitals fan — 35 years, still waiting — and a New York Yankees fan — I won’t rub anyone’s nose in that. I sort of feel like the two balance each other out.

    Now, it may be just because I like hockey more than I like baseball, all other things being equal, but the Capitals’ drought and heartbreaking playoff eliminations hurt a lot more and stay a lot fresher in my memory than my other team’s record championships. (Ask me about the Easter Epic. I still haven’t forgotten.)

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