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Sport is all about winning. Well, for you perhaps. I’m what you call a bad weather fan, as soon as my teams stop losing, they’re out.
Sport, according to most of the populace, and especially to our cousins over the puddle, is about winning. If you’re not first, you’re last. What tosh.
That mantra may work for those keeping score, but just as Bob found Fight Club in Fight Club, I too have found something better. I have my own addiction.
But unlike Bob’s experience, there is no support group or grimy collective circle powered by rules that shouldn’t be but are ultimately vocalised. Here, we’d rather not mention it, and there is but one rule:
They must lose. All the time.
Those hapless morons bound to the yoke of terrible luck, poor timing and a complete lack of athletic talent. The worse they play, it fans the flame within.
Thing is, I didn’t realise I had a problem until 2014. When the whistle concluded proceedings, securing South Sydney our first title in 43 years, while I fist pumped at the result, I stood frozen as I realised a truth. We had done it. We’d won. And that was a problem. I was struck by a feeling of emptiness, like a refrigerator before it moves house. For many many years, like a bottle of Château Latour, or Harry Potter, they remained in the cellar. There was a sort of zen continuity that came with their consistent losing. They lost, and thusly my world was steady. It was wonderful.
I suppose, sitting at the intersection of age and growth, South’s long-awaited championship is when my childhood died. I grew up when I realised a pale fact. Dreams can come true. But that wasn’t the dream I held out for. I wanted them to keep losing. It was a great moment for the fanbase, but our win seems to have expunged something vital. While I’d never transport my loyalty elsewhere (because that is the cardinal sin in the sporting world), I haven’t tracked their progress since. Loveable losers to the tallest of poppies fugued my mind and broke my heart.
Also on The Big Smoke
Taking a quick vista at my sporting loyalties, the above is not an isolated pickle. The jar is full of steadfast devotion to those who were once great, but are now terrible. A relationship based on them viscerally abusing me.
Perhaps I’m attracted to damage.
Leeds United – a true leviathan of footballing talent, an empire razed as I watched. Relegated from the Premier League in 2004, never to return. Currently residing in nowheresville, run by a crackpot Italian businessman with taxation issues.
The New York Knicks – sort of big in the 1970’s, but in my lifetime, a mosaic of poor choices, bordered by a picture frame of ever worser ones. Last year we drafted well, but fortunately, have torpedoed their future draft picks with moronic trades and signing an entire starting five with a horrible propensity for injury woe. Not to mention, the zen master himself, Phil Jackson, may be speaking through early onset dementia, insisting on a playing style that only worked with Kobe or MJ.
The Baltimore Orioles – multiple pennants in the mid ’60s, now beset by abject fiduciary strife, in which the best players invariably leave because we don’t have the money to keep them. Currently travelling well, but our biggest star may or may not sign an extension. An amputee midget could schwack our pitching, as it is anchored by a man whose best contribution to baseball is the ease in which a football chant was transplanted to his name. O’day, O’day, O’day, O’day…
Maybe I have a problem – like the sort of sub/dom relationship between myself and a T-shirt. As someone said at the end of a Google search:
Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.
I choose to be disappointed.
So, perhaps I’m only happy when I’m unhappy. The bad weather fan. I need something to blame. Someone to castigate, someone to be disappointed in, and whose shoulders around which to metaphorically sling my arm when the time frequently comes.