First, let me apologize. I am feeling brain drain in a major way. My team (the one that I work for) lost in Game 6 of the Finals. It was a long season and a long playoff run (that ended with a 90+ hour work week). I can’t think about anything except this season and what it means for my mental state, my current workload and my future. My love for my job and sports in general has waxed and waned for the past ten months but at the moment that our season ended, I felt so many emotions simultaneously that I thought I might explode.
The hope of a championship run is one of the reasons we become sports fans. A winning team is fulfilling. A losing one is the bane of your existence. But for some reason you keep going back.
Cheering for a losing team is almost an abusive relationship. Just ask me and Kevin Garnett. And every Houston Astros fan in the world. It sucks. Every game they lose, you feel like something has fallen out of the bottom of your life. There’s a sinking feeling, one that dissipates at the beginning every game, when renewed hope keeps you glued to the television or your seat. It’s the same hope that fuels the “there’s always next year” or leads you to admit that “this just wasn’t our season”.
Every single game, you give your best fan effort, keep your superstitions and do everything in your singular, pointless power to will your team to victory. More often than not, your efforts are futile. There can only be one champion, after all.
Being a sports fan will arm you against one of the basic truths of the human condition. We will struggle. We will struggle to overcome, we will struggle to get better, and we will continue to struggle. Because the eternal hope of victory, the high of winning, even if you don’t win every year outweighs the pain of the losses. So you don’t quit. You suck it up, get better in the offseason and prepare for another struggle toward the top.