BRONX, NY – For those of you who didn’t see it, yesterday’s column by Ben Whitney ranked New York’s sports teams from putrid to promising. It wasn’t too far removed from what I was thinking of doing today but, instead of scrapping my idea, I’m treating this as a follow-up to the more grim prospects of some of the teams Mr. Whitney touched upon. Some of you front-running bastards never experience this, but what happens to fans of teams that are god-awful over an extended period of time? There’s usually three roads you can go down. Let’s go misery sightseeing.
Debilitating Alcoholism/Incurable Stupidity: If you’re a Jets fan you fall squarely into this pathetic category. You gave up long ago and have just been too drunk to notice. If you identify as Bills Mafia or Raider Nation or are one of those Washington Football Team morons who think getting sh!tfaced on Crown Royal before games is the height of superfandom, there’s no helping you. People aren’t laughing with you. They aren’t even laughing at you. They just hope you don’t kill anyone besides yourself when you drive home and prepare to do it all over again tomorrow. A Super Bowl win pulled Eagles fans out of this category but, don’t you worry, they’re currently on a bullet train back.
The Entertaining Schlimazel. As the great Louie DePalma once explained on one of the best sitcoms ever, Taxi, “a schlemiel is a guy who goes to a formal dinner party and spills his soup, a schlimazel is the guy he spills it on.” Knicks fans and Mets fans fit here quite nicely. Every time it looks like something might go right for your struggling franchise, the rug gets pulled out, the banana peel slip happens, pick your broadest comic pratfall. Losing, and being completely exasperated by it, is what makes The Entertaining Schlimazels so… well… entertaining! You know the look, its the same one Skipper gave right into the camera every time Gilligan f**ked up. Your team is Stan Laurel and you, sir or madam, are Oliver Hardy, who just took a brick off the noggin. Thanks for the years of laughs. We love you for it.
Zen Resignation. As a long-suffering Vikings fan and Mariners fan, this is where I currently reside. I know this because I spent quite a few years living in both of the first two categories. Maybe it comes with age, but at some point you’ve seen the movie enough times that you are no longer surprised. You still love your teams, but not with the burning passion you once had. You’re like an old married couple now—more predictable, more forgiving. For instance, I know that most of the time the Vikings will play well enough to either just miss the playoffs by losing a winnable game the last day of the season or make the playoffs and sh!t the bed in spectacular fashion. I was there the year they went 15-1 and lost the NFC Championship game to Atlanta, when Gary Anderson missed a field goal after not missing one all year. But I knew it was headed in that direction somewhere around the second quarter. An overthrow here a dropped interception there… you just know! It’s Groundhog Day, you’re Phil Connors, and your team is Punxsutawney. This year, however, the Vikes are winless through three, which is a welcome departure. But, if they start winning…
Anyway, come on back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, whose Eagles played for a tie against Cincy last week because their coach knew they could do worse by trying to win. Like I said, a bullet train.