At the most basic level, sports are a simple concept.
One team wins and one team loses.
It accelerates in importance when the emotions get engaged. It is our emotions about the sporting events that sear the results in our memories.
Players rejoice and regret the results. However, the lifelong fan’s emotions linger deeply within their bones, long after the players they watched have retired.
The Chicago Cubs fans celebrated their first World Series win in over 100 years in 2016. In many conversations with fans, it seems that the memories of painful losses last longer and hurt more than the memories of the victories. The same Cubs fan will speak with more passion and frustration about Steve Bartman reaching into the field on a fly ball and eventually costing the Cubs a victory in a playoff game than the moment when the players rushed the field at the end of the World Series.
The pain of a loss when victory was so close can rip into the insides of a person and scar them forever., like a scar on the forehead of a young wizard. I imagine being a lifetime Atlanta Falcons fan in their glory during the Super Bowl in February 2017 as the team had a 28-3 lead with 8 minutes left in the third quarter. Just 23 minutes of play and Atlanta would have their first Super Bowl win.
What happened next was a torturous unfolding of dreams being dashed. Spread out over an hour of real-time, the Atlanta fans watched their dreams shatter. It was a slow painful death of hope, leaving fans in depression and anger.
Meanwhile, fans in New England were celebrating the victory though still feeling the pain of watching Bill Buckner miss a simple ground ball and watching a World Series roll away. They still have trouble with that pain, only forgiving Buckner publicly in 2008 after winning a World Series in 2007. It only took 22 years.
All of us have painful losses burned into our souls that never leave us. However, the most sudden and unforgivable losses are a lead surrendered in the 9th inning of a baseball game. The game seems won and only one more out secures the victory. Everyone knows it is a game that will be won. We raise our hands in victory at the seeming last pitch, and seconds later, it is lost. Imagine that loss compounding exponentially by occurring in a playoff or World Series. This pain can and does lead a true fan to emotional disorders.
Throughout this site, we will be mentioning some terribly painful and almost unbelievable baseball losses, contracts you may have wished your team never engaged in, and events that are almost so unrealistic we couldn’t believe them when we found them.
Sports are a simple concept. A painfully simple concept. One team wins…and most of the time it isn’t yours.