Anatomy of a sports breakdown.
Step One: End of another abysmal Royals season
This was supposed to be the year Kansas City finally began to put things together. They had young talent and plenty of it. Yes, the starting pitching was bad and yes, there were two questionable players on the team (Frenchy and Yuni). But they’d traded for what fans all hoped was a better starter in the offseason and there were young starters who were almost ready. Instead…injuries, terrible starting pitching, a season of regression for Eric Hosmer, and Frenchy/Yuni were even worse than advertised (Frenchy being doubly worse since he is actually blocking Wil Meyers from being called up). Another season below .500. Another year without making the playoffs (if we don’t make the playoffs by 2015, it’ll be 30 years of ineptitude – they’re already the active leader in American sports of seasons without the playoffs). The worst part is that I just don’t have any faith it’ll ever turn around. Oh, I spout off platitudes about how it eventually will…that it has to. But I’m no longer sure if I believe it. The Orioles and A’s making the playoffs did not help.
Step Two: Braves Playoff Loss
Let’s all agree on the following:
1.) The Braves played like absolute garbage. As usual when they struggled this season, it was because they were terrible with runners in scoring position. Whenever that happened, the team would lose…often in close games b/c the pitching was good. Compounding the problem was that the Braves fielding, one of the best in MLB, had an off night (including Chipper with an error in his last ever game). AND…Kris Medlen had an off night, which the law of averages should have indicated was bound to happen. They had plenty of opportunities to win that game, but didn’t take them. They deserved to lose.
2.) That said…the infield fly call was absolutely terrible. It was a bad call that absolutely hurt the Braves chances to win (instead of bases loaded and 1 out, you had runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs – run expectation stat drops by something like half a run in that situation). It was not the reason they lost the game. But it didn’t help. And one could argue that after that, a losing energy filled the place and the loss became inevitable. Let’s all agree that this was a bad call – there’s really no way you can justify it.
3.) The new playoff format is dumb. One game and you’re out hardly seems fair to a team that won 6 more games than St. Louis during the regular season. Plus, that’s where the call hurts most. Anybody can have one bad game. Anybody can get a bad call. What that shouldn’t do is cost a team their entire postseason. I’m probably in the minority on this, but there you go.
Step Three: The Saturday Afternoon/Night Massacre
Kansas plays K-State tough in the first half (only trailing by 7 at the half), then gets blown out by 40 pts. Florida and Clemson both win games they could conceivably lost – even tough that was “good” for FSU, it’s hard to root for those two teams. Georgia gets destroyed by Spurrier and South Carolina. To boost positive karma, I actually root for Missouri over Vanderbilt b/c a friend is pulling for them. They lose.
Then the FSU game.
FSU played terribly. It was not the playcalling (mostly) but rather extremely poor execution. Plus, NC State’s offensive line basically holding on every possession and it not getting called by the officials. FSU deserved to lose this game. And once again, the Seminoles have gone and lost a game they were a double-digit favorite in – it’s like 7 straight years they’ve done that. More of the same. Heck…I’ve watched that game before – it was the Virginia game last year…almost identical.
And at that point…I was miserable. Really miserable. I mean really miserable. And I haven’t even discussed how awful the Kansas City Chiefs are!
And I started to think about it. And the more I thought, I felt that there was a problem. Watching sports is supposed to be fun, right? I mean…if you like that (I recognize and respect that plenty of people hate sports in general – and that’s fine. To each their own.). But the more I thought about it, the less fun I seemed to be having. I didn’t “blame myself” for all my teams losing – that’s really ridiculous. I’m not the kiss of death. My teams don’t all stink (Arsenal hasn’t been terrible to start the year, the Falcons are undefeated, etc.).
But I listen to all these podcasts and follow all these twitter feeds and read all these articles and I don’t enjoy any of it. It only makes me more miserable. Plus, how healthy is it really to watch 12+ hours of football over the course of a weekend? To watch even when I could care less? I often would watch and feel bored and yet not stop watching. I often would feel miserable during a FSU game even though FSU was winning. How in the world is that right?
The conclusion I came to is that I needed a vacation. I needed to care a little bit less and live life a bit more. There are only so many minutes in a day – why spend them doing something that only made me feel miserable? So…I decided upon the idea of the “sports vacation.”
- decided not to watch any NFL football on Sunday, day one of the vacation – no RedZone, no Sunday Night Football, no nothing
- decided to not watch any football all week, or any other sport (baseball playoffs included) on TV
- no podcasts, radio, websites – I can check the scores of something once or twice in a day, but not constantly
- I’m going to setup some new limits on what I watch and how much I partake of the internet, etc.
All of this in an effort to make my sports viewing more enjoyable when I do come back to it. And I will. But there will be some new limits and that’s okay. Already I feel much better about things. I’m sure the entire FSU fan community has been in full meltdown mode for the last couple of days – I’ve avoided it entirely. This does make me happy.
And what has been done in the meantime? We went to a children’s consignment sale and bought a bouncy chair, a stroller/carseat/etc. combo, and a whole bunch of other stuff. We tried and failed to do a few other things, but we also did some cleaning in the house and painted the dresser (after months of it just sitting in the garage). We watched all of the unwatched Burn Notice and White Collar episodes and last night, listened to music while we read. Not bad. Not bad at all.