Sports Grief

Yes, Bay Area, I understand. You’re bummed. Completely reasonable.

But please remember that the ISO standard for public displays of grief over sporting events is 72 hours. So, no more front page headlines after 8:00 Pacific Wednesday. Got it? Thanks.

Doesn’t mean you can’t grieve as long as you need to. Just do it in the privacy of your own homes, bars, clubs, and arenas. It’s for your own safety, really. You don’t think those thugs down south aren’t gloating? You don’t want them to see how much you’re hurting–they’ll just take advantage of your pain.

Now that we’ve got the legalities out of the way, let me state for the record that I sympathize with you 100%. Losing sucks, no question about it.

Right now, it feels like you’re never going to get over it. And, honestly, you never will be completely free. Twenty, forty, or a hundred years from now, you’ll still wake up in the middle of the night, wondering “what if…?” But over time it will happen less often. I promise.

I know it’s antithetical to the Bay Area sports mentality, but just take a look to your frenemies to the north. Yeah, I’m talking about Seattle. They know where you are mentally right now.

Consider February 1, 2015. The Seahawks were one play away from winning their second consecutive NFL title and came up short.

Yeah, OK, so they weren’t riding a record-breaking regular season. How about October 22, 2001? The Mariners won 116 games in the regular season, and got blown out of the playoffs by the Yankees–they didn’t even make it to the finals.

“But those aren’t basketball,” I hear you say. “And what’s worse, the Warriors are moving out of Oakland.”

Cast your eyes back to 1978 and 1979. In ’78, the SuperSonics went to the NBA finals and lost to the Washington Bullets in seven games. The next year, the Sonics were back in the finals and that time they took the championship in five. It took them seventeen years to get to the finals again, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. They didn’t make the finals again; in 2008, they moved. Not down the road to Tacoma*, where Seattle fans could still root for them, but to Oklahoma City.

* Not an arbitrary choice of location: they spent the 1994-95 season in Tacoma.

Seattle’s got some street cred when it comes to losing big in sports finals. So when I say they know how you feel, I’m not just blowing smoke.

I’m not trying to one-downer you here. Just suggesting you take a little guidance from those guys up north. Grieve. Let it all out (quietly).

And then, stay on the bandwagon. The good times will come again. Stick with your guys, and wait’ll next year.

Good luck.

2 thoughts on “Sports Grief

  1. It’s at times like this that I feel kind of smugly self-satisfied that I really care about no other sport than Baseball. As I’ve probably said too often, I’m indifferent to basketball and actively dislike football (although, I’m fascinated by the sport’s struggle with the “concussion” problem, that really should bring an end to the game as a high-contact sport… but won’t), but I like high drama and community activities, so, yes, I watched several games, including the final “heartbreaker”. What I got (although I could not share this with several of my more zealous family members), was a terrific, heart-stoppingly exciting game, with what was, clearly, the better team winning.
    Yay! The best team won! isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about? I mean, okay, there were certainly some highly questionable calls that made me feel like I was watching the World Wrestling Finals (without the thrown chairs), but, I figure that’s just something about basketball I didn’t know about; evidently, it’s fixed, or manipulated in some way, for maximum TV and advertising time: just business. I understand.
    And, now that the big guys in their underwear have shuffled off, weeping their multi-millionaires’ tears, Baseball can finally take center stage, where it belongs, and one hell of a season it’s being, already.
    About damned time, I say. Play Ball!


    • If you want to talk fixing/manipulating, let’s not forget about what else happened in 2001. It’s a damn good thing the Diamondbacks won the World Series, or I’d seriously wonder about how the Yankees suddenly turned so dominant.

      Play ball, yes. But keep your TV remote handy: NFL preseason kicks off (sorry) at the end of July. The NBA jumps at the end of October, competing with the playoffs. And the NHL faces off in late September.

      Enjoy your summer!


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