Believe me, I get it. I know what it feels like when your favorite team loses.
Problem is, I know it a lot better than Alabama fans. A LOT better.
That’s the deal when you’re a lifelong fan of your childhood teams, the New York Giants and New York Mets.
Full disclosure: I’m a fan of the NFL and major league baseball. Where I grew up, college football was an afterthought, probably because the teams in the northeast were so bad. I went to the University of Connecticut. Though I never went to a single game, it was common knowledge that the team’s best offensive play was the “forward fumble.” High school football wasn’t a big deal either, as I never attended a single game. It’s just a regional thing. We followed the pro teams. The last time I saw a college football game was when our sports department was shorthanded and sent me to cover a game. It was so long ago that Brett Favre was the quarterback. I know, not following college football seems like sacrilege around here, but that’s just me.
Anyway, since my teams have turned losing into an art form, perhaps I can help Alabama fans get through this recent disappointment and also help you deal with losses in the future, rare though they are.
My suggestion is simple: adopt a losing team while maintaining your allegiance to Alabama. Once you learn to root for a team and get accustomed to coming up short, you might learn to deal with it a little better.
As far as college football goes, I don’t even have to read the sports page to know if Alabama won. On any fall day that the Tide has been victorious, I can walk into a store and see people practically floating across the floor, with wide smiles and bright eyes. Lawns mow themselves. Cats and dogs get along. Disney bluebirds do your laundry and make the bed. All is right in the universe.
This Tuesday grocery store shoppers looked like extras from the Walking Dead, barely picking up their feet as they shuffled along with vacant looks. Not even noticing they had put kale and tofu in their carts.
So let me suggest a few losing teams for you to follow. The ones I know best.
Let’s go back two weeks and look at the Giants-Bears game. During that game, the Giants’ total passing yardage was minus-ten. Do you know how hard it is to do that? For an entire game? To better illustrate that statistic, grab a football, go outside, and throw it backwards over your head thirty feet. Congratulations, you qualify to be a quarterback for the New York Giants.
In what universe would this happen on an Alabama team? See my point? A blessing to count.
Then there’s the rare play where a Giant breaks one. He’s at the fifty, the forty, the thirty! There’s not a defender within ten yards! The announcer says he’s gone! It should be a touchdown! But noooo, because he’s a New York Giant, this happens:
(I’m not sure where I threw the TV remote after that. When I find it, I’ll let you know.)
Can you picture that happening to an Alabama player? Being tackled by an invisible defender? Of course not. Another blessing.
The Giants last won a Super Bowl in 2011. Since then their record is 61-100 and they’ve been to the playoffs one time. One. In 10 years. And they got blown out of that game. After the game, their star wide receiver punched a hole in a wall. Good thing to do when you rely on your hands to make a living. The Giants attract players with common sense.
When’s the last time Alabama missed the playoffs or a bowl game? Another blessing.
The Giants can’t even get promotions right. For “Fan Appreciation Day” this year each season ticket account holder received a free medium Pepsi. Not a large. A medium. In December. Just what you want that time of year while you’re outdoors in New Jersey, a cold soda.
Of course, if you really want to experience losing from an alternate universe, root for the New York Jets, who went to their only Super Bowl when Nixon was President. In his first term. These days they are well known for the infamous play known as the “Buttfumble” which many consider to be the funniest play in the history of the NFL. (Do not watch while drinking anything, as you will spit liquid all over your computer.)
Would an Alabama quarterback run face-first into the butt of an offensive lineman? Of course not. Another blessing.
The Jets once hired the legendary Bill Belichick as their head coach. He lasted one day and quit on a cocktail napkin. Would Nick Saban quit on a cocktail napkin? Of course not. Blessing.
The Jets once had a quarterback so wild the running joke was that the State Department and CIA were going to send him to Iran because he could overthrow anybody.
Then there’s the Mets, a combination of disfunction, curses, and bizarre circumstance. I’ve been to hundreds of games. They last won a World Series in 1986. This is the team that had a rookie who could throw faster than anyone, but was a real-life “Wild Thing.” So after a few years, they gave up on the pitcher and traded him.
His name was Nolan Ryan. Seven no-hitters later, he landed in the Hall of Fame.
The team once had a catcher who could really hit. But he had one flaw that was a bit of a problem as far as catchers are concerned. He couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher.
More recently one of the Mets outfielders landed on the disabled list when - get this - he was chased by a wild boar, stepped in a hole and broke his ankle.
Would Nick Saban let any of his players near a wild boar? Of course not. (Besides, this is Alabama. We have guns to prevent that sort of stuff.) Another blessing.
So I’ve gotten used to my teams losing, but I still watch every game. (My best friend says, “Why do you torture yourself ?”) I know that something truly bizarre is always around the corner with my teams and sometimes you cannot help but laugh. Naturally, this makes winning much sweeter since it rarely happens. I’m a very passionate fan, though, and really can get worked up during a game. During a health scare a few years ago I was on a heart monitor set to go off at 140 beats per minute. It went off during the last two minutes of a Giants-Cowboys game. (For those of you who work out, just try getting your heart rate up to 140 while sitting on the couch.)
So while you’re drowning your sorrows over the National Championship game, consider that your team actually played in the game. As they seem to do every year. If you followed the Giants or Jets and had more experience watching a losing team, you might say, “You know what, even though we lost, it could be a heck of a lot worse. We could be one of those New York teams. We still had a great year.”
Meanwhile, I just finished watching a season in which the Giants went 4-13. Which means they’ll get a high draft choice.
Maybe they’ll get a player from Alabama who will show them how to win.
Randy Tatano lives in Brewton and is the author of more than 20 novels, writing political thrillers under the pen name Nick Harlow, and romantic comedies as Nic Tatano. He spent 30 years working in television news as a local affiliate reporter and network field producer.. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.