Sunday, April 24, 2016

I Have Sports Depression

Um, Yes
There are times in one's personal life when you know you are going through the muck, when the only real answer is the thoroughly unsatisfying Just Keep Going. That's kind of where I am with sports right now. And while I know intellectually that all of these things go in cycles, and that requiring your laundry to do well to enjoy the sport makes you less of a fan and a very challenged blogger... well, it's just not very much fun right now.

NBA hoop, my first love, is in the throes of a necessary but blah first round. The best series, so far, involves my least favorite team and fan base, Boston. My favorite team in the playoffs, the defending champion Warriors, have been awash in worry over the health of MVP Stephen Curry, and honestly, all of basketball just seems less fun when Curry's not in it. My actual laundry, the Sixers, haven't been near the playoffs in years, and haven't been meaningfully in the playoffs in over a decade. (No, beating Chicago when they lose Derrick Rose to a brutal knee injury in the first game, then getting worked by LeBron James in the next round, doesn't make your participation meaningful.) They've also bounced the only GM in town who seems to have a realistic and workable plan, and hired the son of a guy who keeps getting him jobs, because, well, why not. Three years of brutally painful hoop to build the foundation for something special, then gone. I don't have a great deal of hope that this will all work out.

Let's change to baseball. My A's have been better than expected so far, but not actually good, and are certainly no threat to do anything more than trade away good players when they get expensive. You know, like the past 18 months, or ever since Jon Lester blew a big lead against the Royals in the 2014 playoff game, ending the Actually Trying period of their last cycle of relevance. After that, they traded away the 2015 AL MVP in Josh Donaldson for a bunch of nickels, and will soon do the same with ace SP Sonny Gray. Fun franchise to root for, really. Oh, and the overall sport is just graying and dull now, because we're in a reign of wildly depressed offense, and that's just so much fun to watch.

Football? Well, that's a compromised bloodsport under the best of times, and in the worst, where my laundry goes all-in to draft Tim Tebow 2.0 from Utter Nowhere Small School Dakota, let's just say that I'm also not filled with confidence. We're not on the Nero Kelly express train to idiocy any more, but the owner that hired and promoted him is still the guy that signs the checks, so.

Want more? With a collection of short bus GMs and owners in their division, the Patriots are pretty much a lock to go to the playoffs again next year. I have no secondary team in baseball that's any threat to anyone, and I'm not particularly close to any stadium to go to games. I don't much watch hockey, but even there, my ancestral laundry just got bounced, and it happened a week after their fan base disgraced the area yet again. My fantasy teams are just middling, and I'm in leagues with people who are math geniuses and tireless trade mongers, which means that they are likely to stay that way.

Tonight in Boston, people who have won something like 4X the number of championships in the last decade then I've managed to enjoy in my entire life... got to will their team to a 2-2 series reset against a road team that has, well, never done anything more than be the punching bag in their speed round. Boston got key contributions in that game from Evan Turner, the washout 2nd overall pick of the Sixers who was dealt away, properly, for next to nothing to Indiana years ago. It's just, well, relentless.

And, well, it also mirrors what you go through when you get older. Eventually, all vices go away if you want to give yourself the most realistic chance of sticking around. You outlive your heroes (yeah, I'm still far from over losing Prince). Your kids change in ways you can't predict, choose, or even seem to influence. You settle, because you have to. You pay more and get less, work out more to go slower and lift less, and people stop listening to you, because, um, old guy. If he really knew something, he'd be rich or famous or young. You get bitter, and try to hide it, because bitter is sad and tired and pointless and limiting... and then you look for outlets to make you feel better.

Like, um, sports?

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