No Pepper Games: Highs and Lows and Lowers
Post by Cincinnatus Van... on 10/8/2012 4:30pm
To be a fan of Wisconsin sports this month is to live with the taste of ashes in one's mouth, and bitter salt rivulets of tears on one's cheek. Let us wail and let us lament.
This is a season of dashed hopes and frustrated expectations; wasted wishes and attenuated aspirations. Surely the mighty Packers, if spotted a 21-3 halftime lead against the lowly Colts, could hold the line and post the W.
Last week, the Badgers found themselves up by 17 on Nebraska in the third quarter. Surely a team with Rose Bowl dreams doesn't roll over when it's three scores up.
Even the Brewers, left for dead at the trading deadline, refused to let our postseason hopes wither in peace. They rose up, like the killer in a slasher film, chasing down an NL wild card berth and refusing to die until the final reel of the season. We are left to spend the winter with our gossamer fancies of used-to-bes and might-have-beens.
Why must victory treat us so cruelly? Why must she flirt with us so shamelessly, only to slip us a fake phone number at the end of the night?
What is behind this rash of strong starts and fluky finishes? If it happened to one of our teams, I'd call it bad luck. If it happened to two of our teams, I'd call it coincidence.
Dear reader, it's all of our teams. It's happening all the time. We must take a hard, penetrating look in the mirror. Perhaps the fault, dear reader, lies not in our squads, but in ourselves.
Are we expecting too much? Are we aiming too high?
Consider where we were a year ago at this time. It was a heady time to be alive. The air was positively pungent with success.
One year ago yesterday, Nyger Morgan slapped an RBI single up the middle of the Arizona Diamondbacks and sent the Brewers to the NLCS.
One year ago tomorrow, the Packers handily dispatched the Falcons to improve their record to 5-0.
This time last year, the Badgers burst out to a big halftime lead against Nebraska and managed to still have the lead after the 60th minute of the game. Our Badgers were ranked #4 in the nation.
This was intoxicating stuff, this brief sojourn atop the sports world. We were the envy of all. Even those big cities to the east and west; you know the ones I'm talking about; Detroit and Minneapolis - even those tremendous metropolii couldn't match the glittering shine of sports in Wisconsin.
Was this the height of Icarus? Did we fly too close to the sun? Having tasted the nectar of success, did we become greedy?
Did we get too big for our britches?
I tremble as I type the words, for I remember well the look that Mama Van Lingle gave to passing easterners with their highfalutin' ways and slick talk. As for Californians, as far as Mama was concerned, that San Andreas fault couldn't split soon enough and dump the whole lot of mind-pollutin', Sunday-school-underminin' Hollyweird phonies into the ocean.
We are Midwesterners, you and I. Let our britches be the right size for our brat-fed posteriors. Let our sporting hopes take no dramatic and majestic hills and peaks, but let our fandom reflect the gentle flatness of our fertile land.
If a running play gets three yards, be happy with that. If a running play gets five yards, worry that the coach is getting a little too fancy with those blocking schemes. We don't need expensive free agents here. Nor do we need a lot of shiny trophies cluttering up our display cases. Come to think of it, even having a display case is a little bit ostentatious.
There has been entirely too much disappointment around the Badger state lately. There's only one cure for disappointment, and that's to plug it up at the wellspring.
That wellspring is hope. Crush it a-borning in your breast.
We care about our teams here in Wisconsin. This is what makes us special. This is what makes us unique. This is what must be stamped out, lest we endure this rollercoaster of ignominy week after week after week.
Let us rise, and with one voice shout the old cheer:
Let's get fired up
Get rough, get tough, get mean
Let's get fired up
We support our team (within a reasonable objective assessment of their abilities relative to the competition and we entertain a preference for a favorable outcome without burdening anyone with preconceived notions of what constitutes success!)