SCOTTSDALE, AZ – For those of you that think winning cures all that ails you, I beg to differ. After all, I am Differ(nt) Matt, and I recently found myself in a YMCA rec room where the smell of coffee and cigarettes linger in the air. I was there with other lost souls, sitting in folding chairs assembled in a semi circle. A Mediator asked who would like to go next. After a long awkward pause, the faces all turned to me. I stood up.
Different Matt: â€œHi, my name is Different Matt, and Iâ€™m a deny-aholic.â€
Mediator: â€œWelcome, Different Matt. Go on.â€
Different Matt: “I want to admit something that has been eating at me for over five years now. Iâ€™ve been in denial for so long that Iâ€™ve almost forgotten what I am in denial about. Now I think its time to admit it.”
Group: (Off the Mediator’s nod) “Please continue, Different Matt.”
Different Matt: â€œIâ€™m just going to come out and say itâ€¦ In 2004, the Yankees blew a 3-games to zero (I quote with my fingers) lead against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. This is the first time Iâ€™ve ever said that. When it happened, I blocked it out of my head with the help of my good friend Jim Beam. I spent days on end drinking to forget everything that had happened. I avoided the newspapers for weeks and the television for months. When I did watch television again and I saw video of the Red Sox celebrating, I convinced myself that it was all staged for the movie Fever Pitch.
Mediator: “I liked that movie. But please continue.”
Different Matt: â€œIt was much easier for me to deny that the Red Sox had surmounted an â€˜insurmountableâ€™ deficit against the Yankees than to accept it. To me, October of 2004 was just a bad drunken dream. I didnâ€™t have to deal with the humiliation of being the only team in sports history to blow a 3-0 lead. I didnâ€™t have to live with the fact that the Yankees choked in a John Starksian way. To me it never happened. When the Red Sox won again in 2007, I acted as if that was the first time the Sox had won since 1918. When Johnny Damon came to the Yankees, it wasnâ€™t such a big deal since I was in denial. I ignored the fact that Damon had put a few nails in the Yankeesâ€™ coffin in Game 7 in 2004… Actually, the f*#king guy nailed the coffin shut, shoved it in a ditch, and encased it in cement.”
Mediator: “He did, indeed. Please go on.”
Different Matt: â€œIts time for me to admit that the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the
2004 ALCS. I can now begin the healing process. Congratulations, Red Sox fans. You did it. You beat the Yankees, tiled all over â€˜The Curse of the Bambino,â€™ and won the World Series.â€
The mediator stands. The Group follows suit.
Mediator: â€œThank you, Different Matt. That was very brave of you. You’re on your way to recovery.â€
The Group applauds.
A fat guy across the semicircle in a Jim Kelly jersey, who upon any mention of the Buffalo Bills losing four consecutive Super Bowls, would piss himself and forget who he was for a half-hour, walks over to me and gives me a hug.
Fat Bills Fan: “That was beautiful man. Beautiful.”
He smelled like chicken wings.
It was then that I considered relapsing and going back into my state of denial. After all, Denial had to be better than sympathy from a Bills fan.
Rex O’Rourke, tomorrow.