FRESH MEADOWS, NY – I’ve heard it described many ways. For true die-hard fans that live and breathe with the fortunes of our teams, it is not rational at all. We become so emotionally attached and involved with every game, every player, every play. Our teams come to define us, and often, we no longer can account for all of our faculties. All bets are off when we feel we’ve been slighted by a bad call; a bad error, a strikeout at a critical moment. I envy people who can call themselves fans and be done with a game once it’s over, and can leave it at the ballpark, or on their living room sofa.
Whistling past the graveyard. Reverse Jonah. Double Jinx. Double Whammy. Stink Eye. Evil Eye. Whatever your favorite term is, we can all agree that at times in our lives, we’ve rooted against our own beloved teams. They break our hearts and we react like scorned schoolgirls. As crazy and as counter-intuitive as it seems, the same teams for whom we’ve rooted our whole lives; traveled thousands of miles to watch and support, and stayed up till the wee hours while they played on the West Coast, we’ve also actively rooted against our guys… and occasionally violently so. Admit it. Sometime it’s out of frustration. Sometimes because they’ve let us down. Sometimes out of deep hatred for a specific player; whatever the reason, we’ve all done it, and we all have our memories that to us are the most distressing, disturbing and illogical. My own life altering misery from my teams’ failures could fill an entire season of Criminal Minds. These moments are so wrought with anger that a new DSM IV designation makes all the sense in the world. It has led to days, weeks and months of despair. I am BTK. Here are a couple of punches to the stomach from which I still haven’t recovered from these New York Athletes That Ruined Our Lives:
June 2, 1993, Knicks vs. Bulls; Eastern Conference Finals. A chance for the Knicks to take a 3-2 series lead against Jordan & Pippen and Co. Charles Smith, a 6’11” specimen of a man with broad shoulders who always preferred a finesse game to mixing it up inside with Oak and Mase; grabs offensive rebound after offensive rebound and each time he goes up for a put back-he is swatted back down by the Bulls-denied 4 separate chances to win the game for the Knicks. Like Ray Babbitt, I carefully enter in my pain and injury book that Charles Smith needs to suffer sudden cardiac death.
As a ridiculously passionate and devoted New York Football Giants fan, Sundays are the culmination of a week spent in preparation obsessing over the place to watch the game, with whom, what to wear, and all other crazy stuff like where to sit, next to whom, etc. If the Giants lose, it is Thursday before I can speak to anyone. Newspapers go unread, emails go unanswered, dogs don’t get walked. In November of 2010, the Giants held a 31-10 4th Quarter lead over the disgusting and vile Philadelphia Eagles. A couple of DeSean Jackson returns and Matt Freakin’ Dodge led to a stunning comeback that effectively ended the Giants season. I skipped Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and my nephew’s bar mitzvah that year. Tom Coughlin needed to be eliminated. Matt Dodge is still MIA. Another entry in the pain and injury book.
The biggest kick in the gut by far belongs to the last game of 2007 Mets season and the biggest piece of garbage and fake Met, Tom Glavine. This SOB couldn’t get out of the 1st inning of the biggest game of the decade for the Mets. Needing only to win this one game, the Mets turned the start over to their nominal ace, Glavine. Old Tom was a heckuva guy. If a player behind him made an error, you could rely on Tom to be there rolling his eyes. If a teammate didn’t come through in a big spot, there was Tommy to throw him under the bus to the press. This guy was the most unaccountable, arrogant carpet bagging player ever. Famously asked after his last day choke job whether he was disconsolate or broken up by his personal failure, Tom remarked that “…no, I wouldn’t describe myself as devastated by any means – just disappointed.” This lack of accountability and disdain for Met fans was stunning. By far, the most despised miserable bastard ever to wear the Orange & Blue. Now excuse me. I have a Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor with my name on it beckoning.