Managing Editor Victoria Edel weighs in on why being a fan feels so good but hurts so bad
As I exited the subway in midtown Manhattan and made my way to Penn Station to head back to Georgetown after Easter break, I was surrounded by one of the things I hate the most — Yankees fans. Everywhere. They were taking the D train to the Bronx for Yankees Opening Day.
Luckily, there were a handful of Mets fans entering Penn Station with me, heading out to Queens to see the Amazins’ start a season that will likely be anything but that. As I watched one little kid talk to his friend about how they’re the “M-E-T-S — Mets, Mets, Mets!” I couldn’t help but feel bad for that boy. He didn’t know what awaited him — the gut-wrenching losses, the lingering injuries, the incomprehensible trades, the nightmares of Carlos Beltran strike outs. Being a Mets fan is hard and depressing.
But let’s be honest — being a fan of any team is hard and depressing, even a fan of the 27-time World Series Champion New York Yankees, who aren’t exactly primed for number 28.
In every sport, one team wins each year, and, statistically speaking, it’s probably not going to be the one you’re rooting for. Yet I believe it’s this very hopeless sense of failure at the end of the season that most fans experience that keeps us coming back for more.
I live and die by the Mets, the New York Giants and — ever since coming to Georgetown — the men’s basketball team. With the exception of two miraculous Giants playoff runs, those teams haven’t done so well. As a reader of this paper, you don’t need me to remind you how Georgetown’s season ended. The Giants had an atrocious December campaign that left them out of the playoffs. The lone highlights of the Mets 2012 season were Johan Santana’s June no-hitter — a game I’ll never forget but one that injured his arm severely — and R.A. Dickey’s unbelievable Cy Young run. They finished seven games under .500, missing the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
With stats like that, how could I possibly have been so excited for Opening Day? One answer is that the other teams bummed me out so much that I need another team to believe in. Even if it’s the Mets, a team that no one should ever believe. Maybe we’ll finish above .500.
Here’s how it works: By August, I’ll be done with them (the Mets, historically, fall apart after the All-Star break, no matter how well they start the season). Thankfully by then I’ll have football to look forward to. When the Giants start again in September, I’ll once again willingly hand over my hopes and dreams to Eli Manning, the Mets woes having helped me forget how he mistreated me last autumn. And when Georgetown hits that Verizon Center court again? I’ll be in the student section jumping up and down with the rest of the Hoya faithful, the team’s loss to FGCU and my horrible bracket only a distant memory. And next April, when those seasons will have fallen apart, I’ll be excited for the Orange and Blue again.
This is the only way I can make sense of the lunacy that is being a sports fan and investing myself in teams that let me down time and time again.
Caring a lot about sports is inherently irrational — crying when the Mets fell to the Yankees in the 2000 World Series, screaming when the Giants conquered the Patriots in the Super Bowl (twice) and storming the court when we beat Syracuse are all ridiculous things to do. I’m not on the team. I’ve never thrown a runner out at third, caught a touchdown pass or made a three-point shot. When I’m sitting in my living room (or illicitly watching from a Lau cubicle) they can’t even hear my yells. Whether or not I wear my Michael Strahan jersey has no logical effect on the outcome of a Giants playoff game. I shouldn’t be so emotionally invested in whether or not a large rubber ball goes through a metal hoop, but I am. We all are.
When my high school history teacher explained Marxism to us, she told us how sports (Marx would argue) are a tool of those in powers used to distract the people they control. You can’t rage against the machine if you’re raging against George Steinbrenner. I felt kind of dumb, as I was enraptured at the time by the Vancouver Olympics. Did liking sports — intensely, passionately, irrationally — make me dumb? I don’t think so. It makes me human.
I live and die by that old Mets slogan — Ya Gotta Believe — even, and maybe especially, when I know I shouldn’t.
Victoria Edel is a junior in the College.