REFLECTING ON A DECADE OF SPORTS DISAPPOINTMENT
On Sept. 8, my favourite football team, the Buffalo Bills, won their first game of the season. This win left me with an ecstatic grin from ear-to-ear. When the game ended, my roommate asked me how long this high would last. I told him, “about a week.”
It was true. Anytime one of my favourite sports teams wins, I’m typically happy about it for a week. Everything is sunshine and butterflies until the next time one of my teams plays. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Whenever one of my favourite teams loses, I am truly insufferable to be around.
It’s not just a regular type of frustration I feel following a loss. It’s not like the anger you feel when you stub your toe against a wall — that would be more manageable. If anything, it’s more like you’ve stubbed your entire body against a wall, but even then, I’m not sure that truly encapsulates the feeling.
This probably sounds aggressive. Anyone reading this is almost certainly thinking, “Wow, this guy has serious anger issues.”
This may be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s not normal to punch a hole in my wall when the Bills lose in the playoffs. Or that I shouldn’t smash a plate on my floor when Manchester United loses their tenth game of the season… right? Surely this is normal sports-fan behaviour.
In all honesty, a normal sports fan would probably react quite differently to their team losing. I don’t deny that I am an uncommonly passionate sports fan. Where a normal sports fan would probably get off their couch after a loss and continue about their day, walls and plates intact, I will fall into a deep rage, only to be rescued by a win the following week.
How did I get this way? Why am I such a crazed, yet passionate sports fan who continues to let sports ruin my week? To answer these questions, I should probably mention the three sports franchises I support.
The Buffalo Bills, Manchester United, and the Ottawa Senators are my three favourite teams. I should mention that each of these teams are in the running for the most unfortunate sports franchises in recent history. They have all had a turbulent last decade — a few wins mixed with a staggering amount of losses.
Until 2017, Buffalo hadn’t made the post-season for 18 years. Manchester United, a historically successful franchise, hasn’t seriously competed for the better part of 10 years, and the Ottawa Senators have been borderline unwatchable since 2017.
Maybe I’ve done it to myself. Perhaps I should just recognize that when my teams are bad, its time to stop paying attention to them. This might help me become a more tolerable person, but where’s the loyalty in that?
To be a real fan, you need to stick it out. You need to watch and be disappointed when your team gives up a lead with 13 seconds left. You have to do this, because if you don’t, the high points won’t feel as worthwhile. And what’s better than watching one of your favourite teams win a championship? (No, seriously — I’m asking because I’ve never experienced it.)