I do bear in mind one sentence I uttered as I stumbled out of that Tremendous Bowl get together: “Nicely, someone needed to lose.” (It’s an inverse of what I typically say when two groups I hate sq. off: “It’s a pity someone has to win.”) Whether or not we understand it or not, each fan of a staff that loses is consistently within the technique of honing a priceless life ability. To stay is to lose — a cherished one, a wedding, a job, a way of identification — and sports activities are trivial in contrast with any of that. However sports activities present perspective: You assume that is unhealthy? C’mon. That is only a recreation. It provides us a sort of laboratory of loss, a comparatively protected area during which to follow for the losses that basically matter.

Even nice groups undergo their share of heartbreakers. The Yankees, who’ve received extra World Collection titles than every other franchise, have given up two devastating walk-off World Collection Recreation 7 hits (in 1960, to Invoice Mazeroski and the Pirates, and in 2001, to Luis Gonzalez and the Diamondbacks). Each league has quite a few groups and solely a kind of groups finishes the season on prime, which suggests the followers of each different staff type a neighborhood of losers, a neighborhood that speaks the identical language of unhealthy beats, unhealthy hops, unhealthy calls, unhealthy selections and the all-encompassing unhealthy luck.

As I used to be grousing ineloquently on social media about my Tremendous Bowl ache, a good friend shared this sentiment from A. Bartlett Giamatti, the onetime commissioner of baseball: “It breaks your coronary heart. It’s designed to interrupt your coronary heart. The sport begins within the spring, when all the pieces else begins once more, and it blossoms in the summertime, filling the afternoons and evenings, after which as quickly as the coolness rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the autumn alone. You depend on it, depend on it to buffer the passage of time, to maintain the reminiscence of sunshine and excessive skies alive, after which simply when the times are all twilight, once you want it most, it stops.”

He’s speaking about baseball, however he might be describing life itself, candy and much too brief. Sports activities is pleasure, and ache, and love, and hope and, sure, maybe above all, loss. And similar to life, it retains us coming again for extra regardless of all of it.

When you’re a member of Chiefs Nation, you possibly can have fun as one. When you’re one of many 49er devoted like me, you possibly can stare into the center distance collectively. Being a fan means carrying the colours, realizing the chants, memorizing the numbers. It means being a part of a household or perhaps a part of a cult, which in these fractured occasions can each really feel very interesting. My good friend Jason is a Philadelphia native who despises the 49ers and expresses his hatred with an obnoxiousness that solely an Eagles fan may muster. However his Eagles misplaced in final yr’s Tremendous Bowl, additionally to the Chiefs, which suggests we obtained hit by the identical bus. It introduced us collectively. Our commonality crossed the boundaries of rooting curiosity. For a second, we may commiserate earlier than we resumed speaking trash.

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