29 January 2010

It's a funny thing



So that's Suzanna Choffel's song "Hey Mister", one of the tracks off her album "Shudders and Rings". I'm a fan.

Anyways - it's a funny thing, isn't it, how so much of what we see is constantly figured, configured, reconfigured, and preconfigured by what we "know"? I was reading Bill Simmons' latest ESPN column, which was an update of his classic "Levels of Losing" article from a few years ago.

I'm an Atlanta Braves fan. Have been for a good while now - grew up watching them on TBS (except on Wednesday nights, when the games were blacked out), went to more than a couple of games at the old Launching Pad (AKA Fulton County Stadium)... and while I was reading Simmons' column, I couldn't help but think of the Braves. I would refer especially to Simmons' fifth point:

5. You need to be just pessimistic enough to keep your guard up for a sucker punch but just optimistic enough to keep lowering your guard at the worst possible time.

Two days before Vikes-Saints, I wrote the following: "Jets/Bills/Vikes/Browns fans expect to get punched, contort their faces into a giant wince, wait for a punch that never comes, say to themselves, 'Cool, I'm not gonna get punched, it's gonna be OK!' ... and then they get clocked." That sequence usually leads to a Level 1 loss. What's amazing is how many fans know this and lower their guard anyway. On Wednesday's podcast, I asked my buddy Geoff (die-hard Vikes fan) whether he actually thought Minnesota was going to win on the final drive of regulation. This is someone who started rooting for the Vikes at age 6, the year of the Hail Mary play, and spent the next 35 years getting kicked in the teeth. What was his answer?

YES!

First down, New Orleans 33, less than a minute to play ... Geoff thought they had it. He dropped his guard. The rest was history. He spent the rest of the night kicking himself for dropping his guard. That's an essential emotional sequence for Level 1: self-loathing.


1991 World Series. Game seven. Bottom of the eighth inning. Guard down. Tenth inning. Kick in the nuts.

1992 World Series. Game six. Bottom of the ninth inning. We tied it up! We've got momentum! Hurrah! Noooo Charlie Liebrandt! Not again! Wait! We're coming back! Why is John Smoltz pinch-running? Don't bunt with two outs!

and so on... I'd further extrapolate somewhat of a fractal pattern from this.

19... before I was born -> 1994. Don't get your hopes up. You might be horrible, or you might be good, but you're never going to win.

1995: it's possible! You can win! (never mind that sick feeling you get in your gut whenever a relief pitcher enters the game. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz! Complete games 162 times per regular season!

1996: We still have our pitchers! And Chipper! Who the heck is Jim Leyritz?

1999: It's okay, we're still good! Except, ooh, look, it's Leyritz again. Crap.

Yeah.

So how's it with all y'all?

Have a great day, folks.

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