It is a rare day that this blog ventures into the realm of sports, but this is one of those days. The two sports teams that I closely follow, and actually cared about, are the Detroit Tigers and the Hamilton Tiger Cats. In the time I have been a fan of those two teams they have combined to have 8 winning seasons a handful of playoff appearances and 1 championship. Considering I’ve been following them for a combined 35 years, this record is far from impressive.
There are people who become fans of whatever teams are successful when they are young. In fact there is a proliferation of 49ers, Lakers, Cowboys, Bulls, and Yankees fans among people my age. But I was always a contrarian. I picked the Tiger Cats because they are our local team, and the Tigers because they were playing the Jays one day and I wanted to cheer for the other team. A strange thing happens when you cheer for teams that perpetually lose. Eventually you come to expect the worst all of the time. Bill Simmons has written and spoken at length about this phenomenon, and I agree with his assessment that bad teams lead to paranoid fans.
There is another segment of that fan population. These are the people, like myself, who remain eternally optimistic, and always believe their team will finally find a way to pull it off. For me, this continuous hope paid off with a 1999 Grey Cup victory, and to a lesser degre, the Tigers appearance in the 2006 World Series. Just thinking they would make is so soon after the 119 loss season was considered a bit extreme.
Perhaps I just don’t care enough about the results to get worked up or paranoid about my favourite teams. It takes a certain level of investment to take losses to heart. I don’t regularly attend either team’s games, though I do watch some games on television, or follow them on the internet. The truth is I expect sorts to provide a positive counterpoint to the more awful parts of our world. If I want to be pessimistic or sad I focus on the many negative issues and what can be done about them. I expect sports to entertain me, and provide an occasional lift. I don’t want to spend anytime being upset about a tough loss. I hope that my favourite teams will succeed because that is the best possible outcome, and the only one that will truly affect me.