The Agony Of Defeat

All my life, I’ve pretty much thought that people payed way too much attention to sports – and yes, this was most likely because of my utter lack of athletic abilities. As a kid, I was not a sports fan. I dreaded Sundays because the only thing that we could watch on tv was sports – golf, baseball or football. As I got older, I grew to enjoy watching several sports including tennis, baseball and football. Golf, I still can’t stand. Despite the fact that I am now great fan of baseball and a rabid fan of football, I still find all of the hype and media attention extremely painful.

This past fall, however, I was utterly amazed by the sports high that surrounded life in New England. With the incredible season of the Boston Red Sox followed by their World Series win, a great season for the New England Revolution, a great start to the Celtics season and the incredible season of the New England Patriots, life as a sports fan was rather wondrous. Even non-sports people got caught up in the euphoria. People were happy. It was rather special.

Of course, the higher the high, the lower the low. It has almost seemed as if everything in life has a big, black cloud hanging over it for sports fans in New England since the Superbowl. Most people can’t/won’t/refuse to discuss the game and its outcome, feeling the need for some time to regroup and deal with what seems to be a significant personal loss. The weather, which has been cold, rainy and dreary since Sunday, hasn’t helped. Although I am a huge New England Patriots fan, and one who was certainly disappointed by the game’s outcome, I’m finding this entire phenomena fascinating. I’m amazed at the extent to which sports can capture and manipulate our psyches.

I sincerely hope that things will return to normal next week. To anyone who can control the weather, some sustained sunny weather would make us all feel much better!

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3 Responses to The Agony Of Defeat

  1. Joe says:

    “I’m amazed at the extent to which sports can capture and manipulate our psyches.”

    This is so true…I’m a lifelong Giants fan and this week have had to resist saying “I can’t believe ‘we’ won the Super Bowl”. I think you’re right in describing this phenomenon though. The Patriots just ran off 18 straight wins, scored more points than any team in league history and just missed their fourth Super Bowl title in the last seven years. Yet most observers will regard their season as a “failure”.

    The dreary weather in Connecticut has been no better than where you are. But I’m glad it’s not snow 🙂

  2. Josh says:

    “I’m amazed at the extent to which sports can capture and manipulate our psyches.”

    My wife is convinced that my having been a Cubs fan from an early age has done irreparable damage to mine. Bay Staters may disagree (and after two Red Sox titles over the past few years, they really shouldn’t anymore), but the most exhausting sports fan life is that lived by us Northsiders – perpetual hope, repeated disappointment, and a numbing sense of inevitability caused by fate or curses or who knows what. I thought I had grown out of the real lows of it, but our loss in the playoffs last year hit me harder than i’d imagined. Oh well, pitchers and catchers report in five days.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Joe, I know the feeling. When the Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams to win their first Superbowl, I felt the same way. Personally, I don’t think of the Patriots season as a failure. 18 straight wins is pretty impressive. It is just amazing how much we can get caught up in all of the hoopla.

    Josh, I think that many Bay Staters would have argued your point before the Red Sox finally won the world series in 2004. I remember the agony of the cycle that you describe. Personally, I’m trying to find a way to not get so caught up in sports – but, I’m guessing that it is just part of the overall experience and it would not be nearly as much fun when things are going good! 🙂

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