November 22, 2011

Trivia Blog: Your Cheatin' (Fan) Heart

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

“We’re number 32! We’re number 32…?”

The concept of sports fandom in and of itself is kind of ridiculous.  We attach ourselves, as the old saying goes, to what’s essentially laundry; laundry that’s periodically inhabited by new human beings from year to year but still always and inextricably makes up OUR team.  We speak as if we had anything to do with what happened on the field/ice/court/pitch/Real World-Road Rules Challenge course, saying, “I can’t believe we lost that game,” and, “We kicked the shit out of your team!”, even though the only involvement we had was drinking a lot of beer and eating something the vendor described to us as “Nachos.”  And yet, despite how a group of millionaires performed on a particular day, we allow our not-really-but-sort-of attachment to dictate how we feel for that day (or longer).  Because we’re fans.  We love our teams.  We root and pray and plead for them to win.

Except when we don’t.

What is one supposed to do when one finds oneself on that sad brink of rooting for a team whose season is clearly over well shy of the actual end of the season?  Do you still pour your heart and soul into their every game, just enjoying each one as a detached, self-contained entity that has no bearing on a larger season?  Or do you say screw it and embrace the suck, pine for a shiny #1 draft pick, and actively root against your team?

I’ve found myself dealing with this rollercoaster situation with my Miami Dolphins this NFL season.  Not that I had much hope for them to begin with, but it quickly became apparent in the first few weeks of the season that my Fins were probably not destined to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and tell cameramen that they were going to Disneyland and all that shit.  So, as any rational fan of a team that hasn’t had a franchise quarterback in 13 years would do, I placed the 2011-12 Miami Dolphins season in a metaphorical basket and left it in front of an also-metaphorical orphanage, and set my sights on our impending acquisition of Stanford’s Andrew Luck, a quarterback who not only gives Mel Kiper a solid erection, but looked to be the answer to all that was ailing my Fins.  I’ve been in this situation before, when in 2002 I pulled for my dearly beloved Cavs to choke down the stretch of the NBA season, which eventually resulted in us landing Lebron James, the hometown boy who would surely lead us to greatness again.  And look how well that turned out.  Wait…

But even as I finally accepted rooting against my Fins as they pulled off a spectacular collapse against the almighty Jesus Tim Tebow, the Gods of Sports Karma bit me in the ass for my heresy by allowing the Fins to start a three-game winning streek two weeks later.  The dream was over.  I was left with little in the way of good choices.  Either I could pull for Peyton Manning to miraculously come back and lead his winless Indianapolis Colts to some meaningless late-season wins and re-secure the Fins’ #1 spot in the draft, or I could go all in, pull for the Fins to win out the season, and pray that a 9-7 record is good enough for a wild card playoff spot.  I feel like a spouse who was caught cheating and is now sleeping on the living couch of fandom, trying to earn back my Fins’ love and trust.  Tough times.  (At least Michigan is probably going to beat Ohio State this year.  Go Blue.)

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