The trials of a fan, Part 2
Last week I brought up two of my happiest moments as a sports fan, but this week I want to highlight a few of my saddest moments.
I think of my time as a Carolina Panthers fan, and outside of their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots I've felt more anger towards them than sadness.
In college my Charlotte 49ers never really did much outside of an appearance in the men's soccer national championship game, but like most Americans, soccer isn't on my radar, so I never felt much sadness after a loss.
However, as a New York Yankees fan where most of my allegiance lies, I know they've broken my heart on numerous occasions.
Sometimes it can be hard to separate feelings of sadness and anger, but when a team has such a rich history of excellence like the Yankees, it's hard for me to ever be angry towards them. They always do what they feel is necessary to win so I've never felt as if effort isn't there to capture a championship. So, when they fall short I'm upset ... not angry.
In 2001 the Yankees lost the World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games. New York had won the previous three World Series.
Arizona, who was in only their fourth year of existence, won the game in the bottom of the 9th inning on a Luis Gonzalez bloop single off of Mariano Rivera that barely reached the outfield.
As a 12-year-old kid, I was distraught. I was speechless. I wasn't mad.
How can you be mad at a team that just won three titles in a row and finally lost out to an upstart team on a bloop single in the bottom of the 9th off of the greatest closer of all time?
Just two years later, in the 100th edition of the World Series, my Yankees fell to the Florida Marlins in six games. Much like Arizona, Florida was a young franchise in just their 11th season.
New York earned its spot in the series with a dramatic seven-game victory over the Boston Red Sox but fell short in what seemed to be a perfect stage for a Yankees championship.
Again, I wasn't angry. I was 14 years old and sad. I was spoiled by the team and wasn't quite accustomed to losing.
Now that I'm a grumpy old 24-year-old and the Yankees aren't as dominate as they were in my younger days, I don't get quite as upset when they exit the playoffs in the in the divisional round like last year or don't even make the playoffs such is the case this season.
However, I saw a part of my Yankee life hang it up on Sunday.
Rivera, one of the "Core 4" of Yankees that played together during the team's run of titles along with Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. He was honored by the team before its
Rivera is undoubtedly one of the greatest Yankees of all time and his retirement is a hug blow to the organization and even to me as a fan. It makes me realize how old I'm getting.
Pettitte is also retiring at the end of the season leaving Jeter as the last remaining piece of the 1996 championship team. The day he decides to retire may be the last time I'm truly saddened as a sports fan. I've idolized Jeter sine I was 7 years old and don't think I'll ever fall out of love with his as a person and as a baseball player.
The Yankees were my childhood team and will always have me as a fan, but now as my youthful passion is diminishing I think I'll feel more angst towards them in the future, much like I do the Carolina Panthers ... but we'll talk about that next week.