When you take a step back and consider the issue logically, the degree to which the fortunes of our teams can affect a true sports fan is almost inexplicable. Yet it is also undeniable. After all, the teams we choose to root for are not OUR teams in any meaningful sense. The relationships are all one way, and entirely voluntary (false fans hop from one bandwagon to another all the time). A loss by one of my teams does me no real harm; a victory does me no real good.
And yet, and yet… some of the greatest highs of my life have come courtesy of the New York Mets, the New York Giants, and (a long time ago, in an era far far away) the New York Jets. And losses by those same teams have been known to send me deep into the slough of despond. Truth be told, a really bad loss by one of my teams has been known to depress me far more than some of the times I’ve lost a Hugo, a Nebula, or an Emmy. I’ve learned to shrug off my own defeats in life… but when Big Blue or the Amazin’s or Gang Green go down, well…
Thursday night was a punch in the gut. Yesterday afternoon was another.
A loss for the Jets, a loss for the Giants. But not just any losses. BAD losses. The kind that really hurt. My guys should have won both games.
The victories were right there for the taking. So close I could taste them. But no, instead I had to choke down bitter defeats. What’s worse, both teams lost the games in THE SAME WAY, with truly inexplicable play-calling when the game was on the line. Deep inside the opponents’ territory, the goal line just a few feet ahead, the clock running down… all the Jets needed to do, all the G-Men needed to do, was RUN RUN RUN the ball, wind down the clock, make the opponent burn his final timeouts, then kick the winning field goal or score the winning touchdown.
Instead both the Jets and Giants chose to pass, pass, pass. Incompletions stopped the clock. The Jets did not manage to score at all, the Giants settled for a FG and a lead but left too much time for Tom Brady.
I guess they couldn’t hear me screaming at my TV set.
Life is miserable and full of pain.
(I am not feeling good about the chances of either team going forward. Some losses can be shrugged off, while others do more lasting damage, and can send the team into the tailspin for weeks. This week’s losses, I fear, are of that sort. The Giants, in particular, are going to have a hard time getting over what happened yesterday).
((I am also seriously despondent about Victor Cruz needing another season-ending surgery. A great player, and one of my favorite Giants. I’ve been looking forward to seeing him and Odell Beckham Junior on the field at the same time for more than a year. Now it seems that may never happen. Really sucks. Cruz seems a good guy, and he deserved better. The football gods are cruel).