It’s not just a game

Posted: January 18, 2011 in sports
Tags: , , , ,

The conditions in this picture sum up the past 48 hours of my life.

People keep telling me I need to suck it up, it’s just a game.  People who aren’t from Boston.  People who don’t follow their sports teams as closely or loyally as we New Englanders follow our beloved Pats.  Only my family and friends matter more to me than Boston sports.  We Bostonians cherish every great moment, we try to (but ultimately fail) to forget Aaron f**king Boone and David f**king Tyree.  We hang effigies of opposing coaches and players, we dump half of our income on memorabilia and team logo items, not a single car drives on a windy New England road during game time.  We love our sports teams more than you even like yours.

Nobody from my (or possibly any other) generation, outside of the glorious city of Boston knows what it’s like to have at least two (and most of the time more) perennial playoff teams out of the major four sports.  Nobody knows what it feels like to win three Super Bowls in four years, win two World Series in four years, and an NBA Finals Title, all simultaneously in one decade, while the hometown’s hockey squad plays in the postseason most years.  Nobody knows what it feels like to expect greatness.  One of my better friends, from Cleveland, told me I can’t complain about anything, because Cleveland sports have always sucked.  What they don’t understand is that when you know for sure that teams that are dear to your heart to win, and they don’t, it hurts dramatically more than a crap season.  When Celtics were on their way to a 24-58 record in 06-07, it didn’t hurt; loss after loss became jokes, meaningless wins became even funnier jokes.  The 2009 Patriots went 10-6 and entered the playoffs Wes Welkerless–I didn’t expect a Super Bowl from them.  If you’re from outside of New England, this is how you feel.  You don’t know what I feel after Sunday.  You don’t know the pain such a loss weighs me down with.  You have no right to tell me to “suck it up” or “get over it” or “it’s just a game.”  It’s a game for you, not for me.

Sunday’s defeat places at number 2 on my most painful sports fan experiences, right behind 18-1 and right in front of the 2003 Red Sox.  By now, I’d normally be over any ordinary loss, even any ordinary playoff loss; I was over the Celtics last year after about an hour.  But this game was especially painful.  It’s not just the pain of losing to the Jets, not just the pain of the trash talk leading up to the game, but the pain of the past and future.  It’s that Brady won three Super Bowls before he was a top tier quarterback, at the dawn of an era of dominance, before I became old enough to delve deeply into and obsess over the NFL.  It’s that the Patriots choked away a chance at a Super Bowl in 2006, came a millimeter away from a perfect season in 2007, had 0 chance in 2008 after Brady’s knee, and had a substandard year in 2009.  All I want to see is for in-his-prime Brady and Belichick to earn one more ring to boost them into the “best of all time” talks, to fulfill the desire and need for redemption and satisfaction, to be able to say “we started and finished our careers with rings,” instead of “We started our careers on the best note possible, and it was downhill from there.  A few bad days ruined it all.”  As a fan, you have felt before the joy the Patriots are capable of bringing, you know they have the best shot to win, you know they are heavy favorites, and then they fall flat and stab you in the heart.  You possess a burning need to feel what you felt six years ago.  If some god somewhere gave me the choice of seeing 10 of playoffs with a chance to win, or one definite Super Bowl title with Brady and Belichick retiring immediately after, I’d take the latter in half a heartbeat.  I just want to see them win just once more, for redemption, for closure.

The time for one last Super Bowl is dwindling.  I thought this year was legitimately our best shot after 2007, and I fear next next year may be the last chance.  Yes we have picks 17, 20something, and 33 in the upcoming draft, but three of our offensive line might leave and Brady’s aging, and who knows how long Belichick will stick around.  I fear the time of the Patriots has fled, that the football gods are only going to strike us down more, that what was achieved at the beginning of this millennium may not happen again with number 12 at the helm.  It’s a nightmare to think about.

So before you heartlessly utter the words, “it’s just a game,” know where a New England sports fan comes from.  A decade of being the best and then losing is nothing like a decade of losing with more losing.  Imagine your goal in life is to achieve the best possible grade in a class.  Imagine earning straight A’s in a class for the first year of high school of college, accomplishing the mission.  Then imagine earning an F your sophomore year because you were on your way to a 100%, and on the final exam, you got screwed hard by dumb luck, you don’t receive an A.  In your junior year, you become terribly ill, rendering an A impossible to earn.  Now It’s your senior year, present day, and you have a 98% percent leading up until one of the last assignments.  You choke away an opportunity, and once again you fail to attain the A that you earned three years prior.  You come so close to one of your life’s ambitions, you can smell it and it’s right at your finger tips, but you don’t grasp it.  Now imagine that pain times 100.  That is almost one tenth of 1% of what I feel.

yeah I know the writing is sloppy and there are plenty of typos but it was painful enough to write, I honestly don’t give a sh*t about any typos at the moment and could not endure reading through it all.

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