There are a few things in life outside of my family that I really invest myself emotionally in. Of course, storm chasing and photography of western landscapes is one. The other is sports. I love sports. Especially football and basketball, and at one time in my life I even loved baseball. Growing up in Oklahoma I naturally have a connection with the Sooners, and now that Oklahoma City has established itself as a professional sports city, the Thunder are almost on the same level as my beloved Sooners.
There are few things more satisfying than your favorite team winning, and being the best in the land. Bragging rights, going to bed after a great game and sleeping real well, and getting to feel like a part of being "the best". But, only a small percentage of the population actually gets this satisfaction.
In the last week, the Thunder and Grizzlies have went to overtime four times in the last four games. That's right, four times in a row. The Thunder have won one of these games, and lost three and subsequently have fallen behind 3-2 in the series after taking the first game. Each of these games has been such a roller coaster ride, mainly with the Thunder making a miraculous comeback after being behind only to lose it in overtime. As a fan it's such a gut wrenching trip, with the highs of the comebacks and the lows of poor play, and ultimately the disappointment of another loss. One has to wonder, why do we invest ourselves so heavily when the chances are extremely high that our investment will return only heartbreak?
Think about it. Most sports have a tournament, and in those tournaments only one team can walk away a winner in the last game. So, of the sixteen NBA teams only one fan base will walk away satisfied. Of the 64 teams in college basketball, 63 will be empty handed at the end of the season and tears get shed for each. Same for pro football. The only sport that really lets a fan finish the season with somewhat of a warm fuzzy is college football. If you win the Independence Bowl, you finish the year on a winning note. If you don't win the national championship, you still can finish the year with a victory in post season play.
Often I watch the Sooners play and most times they win and it satisfies my expectation that they should win. Rarely, the Sooners lose and it really sucks. Why does it affect me in that way? I didn't play in the game and I had no impact on the outcome. But yet it stings. For some it ruins the whole day or week. Why? Because of the emotional investment, because the payoff if you win feels so good. Unfortunately, it comes around rarely...but when it does it reminds you why you love sports so much in the first place.
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