Joe and I hung out last weekend, and what inevitably came up was a discussion about how much we both hate Pittsburgh sports teams, and our own laments regarding the impotence of our favorite teams. Joe, being from Ohio, is a fan of all things Cleveland, and saw his dreams dashed when the Orlando Magic upended the Cavaliers in six games. Meanwhile, my hopes for success this year ended with the Washington Capitals on the receiving end of a 6-2, game 7 shellacking at the hands of the eventual Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
Sure, the Indians are still technically alive, and the Redskins have a shiny new defensive tackle in Albert Haynesworth, but Joe and I both know that 2009 is already dead for Cleveland and Washington sports fans.
Anyways, while we were hanging out (and eating far too much Domino's pizza), I said something that I regret, but not in the way you think. It's not something I regret saying, because generally I just can't ever regret telling the truth. It's something that I regret was true. I told him, truthfully, that I was rooting against the Cavaliers against Orlando, ever so slightly, because I didn't want him to leave our little club of people whose favorite teams have been mired in failure for my entire adulthood.
The problem, of course, is that the club sucks ass. Why would I want to keep other people in it, when I want desperately to get out of it?
The explanation is partially based on the same reasons I dislike Pittsburgh sports teams: jealousy. In basketball, hockey, and football, all teams are held to the same financial limitations, so you don't have a disparity between "large-market" and "small-market" teams. Put another way, any team can win if they get the right players and system. Yet somehow, Pittsburgh has been able to field a very good football team for the past twenty years. Meanwhile, both Cleveland and Washington have failed to produce a championship caliber team for more than a decade. I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish for something like what Steeler fans have got.
The other large part of the explanation is an innate competitiveness I feel towards Joe, mostly stemming from fantasy baseball. That son of a bitch has been in first place for far too long, so I find myself rooting against everything he represents, even when it means wishing that Brian Roberts and Adam Jones will strike out, hamstringing my favorite baseball team from winning games. The irony, of course, is that Roberts and Jones have been supremely productive, yet the Orioles are among the worst teams in baseball. A slap in the face like that doesn't make me want Joe's teams to be more successful.
I'll try to have a more positive outlook on Cleveland teams going forward, but Joe, you'd better hope James Shields starts getting rocked, or it's back to the LeBron voodoo dolls for me.
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