warning: for those looking for mmD "Hilarity"* , this is a 'Serious', if OT post.
Well, England just qualified for the QF of Euro 2012.. as Group Winners no less. For mmD it's just another floating turd in a sea of shit in my sports season. Coming after the jump: why, some years, being a sports fan just plain sucks.
* Actual Hilarity may be smaller than picturedWe're all Sports Fans, right? easy supposition to make on a Hockey blog ,I guess. Therefore we're all used to losing more often than we win, to reversals and disappointment. It's all part of being a fan and makes winning that bit sweeter, right?
Well, I've had the original 'Year From Hell' as regards my chosen teams. In every sport that I follow, pain, suffering and the crushing of hope has gone hand in hand to leave me a wreck. I'll choose to start this 'year' last fall, because that's when (most) of my sports start their seasons. Let's take this, sport by sport and disaster-area by Chernobyl, to illustrate why mmD is a less than happy camper right now. Feel free to throw in your Baseball stories, too: I don't follow it but am well versed in the pain of Cubs fans (and Sox fans these days)
Exhibit A: Chicago Blackhawks
Well, this is a Hockey blog so let's start with our beloved Hawks. I recall seeing the season start of with a loss (I was living in a hotel room at the time) to the Stars followed by an up and down bunch of games that left the Hawks at the Top of the West as the year turned (some setbacks in Alberta notwithstanding) Then that road trip happened and the rest of the regular season was spent playing catch-up to the rest of our Division. But, despite a Special Teams that had imploded, a pair of Goalies trying to outdo each other in incompetence and our Talisman being hurt (and another one getting suspended) I faced into the Playoffs quite optimistic.. the Yotes were a hurdle that a Post-Season Hawks could easily navigate, I thought..
We all know what happened next. Out in the first round again, without the fillip of coming back from the dead against the Presidents' Trophy winners to put a bit of pride in the exit.
It sucked, and was made worse by the long-term injury to Hoss that casts doubt on his participation next year.
So, Fucking Hockey.
Exhibit B (1): Munster Rugby
OK, this is a Hockey blog and I'm about to talk about Rugby.. however.. know this: in Ireland Rugby is the Fourth Sport (sound familiar?) behind Hurling, Gaelic Football and Soccer. In Limerick, where I live, on the other hand, Rugby is almost a religion, specifically Munster Rugby. This City lives, breathes and dies with that team. Like the Hockey world covets the Stanley Cup, European Rugby teams covet the Heineken Cup (an all-Europe contest). It's the grail of club rugby, created in 1995. Munster were beaten semi-finalists twice and beaten finalist twice, eternal cinderellas, before finally winning in 2006. It's still tied with my brother's wedding as the happiest day of my life (and yes, Kane's goal against Philly is third)
Munster won it again two years later and dynasty beckoned.. until it all fell apart. Lost another Semi Final two years ago to hated local rivals Leinster (who went on to win it) and this year.. bowed out meekly. And Leinster won it again (think of the Hawks going out in the first round and the Wings winning the Cup) To add to that, Munster also compete in a lesser league (the Rabobank Pro 12) and failed to win that, too. Final insult, five of Munster (and Ireland's) best players retired at the end of this season, three due to injury. FML
Exhibit B (2): Ireland Rugby
This year was a World Cup year and, after a dismal showing four years ago, the stage was set for a final Hurrah from Ireland's "Golden Generation" of Rugby players. We stuttered a little out of the blocks in New Zealand but then smacked the favoured Aussies around the place, setting ourselves up for a run to the Final.. all we had to do was overcome Wales as we do so often.. instead Ireland rolled over and died against the Welsh.. throwing away the best chance we've ever had, or ever likely to have, at winning the World Cup. Then, to compound the sense of failure, we lost to the Vile Taff again at the start of the Six Nations in February, restored some hope with a battling tie with France in Paris but proceeded to lose humiliatingly to Fucking England on St Patrick's Day, of all days. I was so depressed I went straight home after the game and skipped Paddy's Evening altogether.
Exhibit C: Soccer
I gave up on really caring about Premiership Soccer (I'm an Arsenal fan) because of the money, petulance, whinging and diving. However, this did not mean that I wanted to see the crowd of mercenaries paid for with oil-money winning, either. Man City were so repugnant that I was actually cheering for Man U. And, as anyone who is familiar with English Soccer knows, that takes some doing. And, on the subject of mercenaries, fucking Chelski won the Champion's League after the shittest Final ever.
On the International front, Ireland qualified for the European Championships for the first time since 1988. As a nation we weren't expecting much: this was a far cry from the teams that stirred up World Cups in 1990, 1994, 2002. However, we also weren't prepared for the craven, useless submission that we got to see. Ireland left the tournament with a record of 0-0-3, GF 1 GA 8, tied for all-time-worst with Yugoslavia.
Insult added to injury, as of this writing, Engerlund, with a thoroughly shit team, have stumbled into the quarter finals. (it being a simple fact that, once Ireland are eliminated, our favourite team is whoever is playing England)
In the mix: Lance Armstrong, one of this Cycling fans all-time heroes, is again under pressure about doping, England are going to get creamed by the Saffas in the Cricket and the Fucking White Elephant Olympics are going to happen (which every right-thinking Londoner hates..
So, this was a sporting year to forget.
Roll on next year.
LET'S GO HAWKS (and Munster, Ireland, Arsenal, Lance)