Friday, October 12, 2012

Is Georgia Willing its Teams to Lose?

No, it's not a wine-related post.  But, the subject matter has certainly led to a bunch of drinking.

Last Saturday, I witness my then-fifth ranked Dawgs get absolutely bulldozed on national TV by rival South Carolina.  I haven't felt that uncomfortable viewing since I took Dad to see Brokeback Mountain because I know he's fond of Westerns.

Only 24 hours earlier, I poured another drink to unsuccessfully stave off the déjà vu of Atlanta Braves collapse in the MLB postseason.  The best defensive baseball team in 2012 committed three crucial errors, including one by lame duck future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.  Everything that could go wrong did, including a freak show, phantom infield fly rule.  But, somehow, I knew it would happen.

source:  Associated Press
These are scenarios that have become all-too-familiar for sports fans in Atlanta.  Even the resurgent Falcons can't win in the playoffs, even when they're the #1 seed- like in the 2010 season- and always seem to run into a buzz saw; a "team of destiny".  In the past four seasons, the Falcons have made the playoffs 3 times, played teams with much worse regular-season records, and all 3 of those teams ended up in the Super Bowl, and 2 won in all (Green Bay in 2011, New York in 2012).

Some may dismiss my claims.  "But your teams are at least making it to the playoffs, or having winning seasons."  But honestly, is it worse to be perennially terrible, or just terrible when it really counts?  Great teams keep winning.  Bad teams get fixed.  Mediocre teams get mired in staying the course and hoping the ball bounces the other way next time.  It's maddening.  A local sports radio host made a great analogy:  Georgia sports teams are Lucy, pulling the football away from the fans' Charlie Brown every time.

Who is to blame?

Not the teams.  On paper, they have all the talent.  Not the coaches... they're not the ones on the field.  Certainly not the officials, no matter how the hell an infield fly rule can be called in the middle of the outfield.

No, the finger is pointed squarely at you (and me), the fans.  And my reasoning, much like biodynamics (shameless wine reference), is, admittedly, a little "cosmic".

Search the web, and you'll find thousands of references to the concept of the Universe in synergy.  Even Einstein suggested that we are all connected.  The mysterious power of Prayer has been exalted by millions.  Often, it sounds like a bunch of hooey, but if the best measure of a concept's credibility is its popularity, then the critical mass is there.

So, what if 6 million people in Metro Atlanta truly believed that their sports teams are going to eventually fail, "just like they always do"?  Is it reasonable to suggest that the fans are projecting negative energy onto the gridiron or the baseball diamond, and the teams are absorbing and converting those bad vibes into bad play?  One of the biggest cliches and most common sound bytes heard from victorious athletes is that the team "fed off the energy of the fans".  No matter how rollicking the crowd in the stadium, perhaps the majority outside is superseding any good energy, somehow- in some weird metaphysical way- causing these teams to inevitably lose.

It's time for good vibes.  Georgia fans:  you are needed immediately (well, you have a bye week to choke down this astrological jive, but then it's time to get in line).  The Braves, Falcons, and Hawks have some time, so start depositing those positive thoughts in the good vibes bank, and prepare to withdraw when the time is right.  What have we got to lose?  Nothing but disappointment.

And for all those insisting on being negative, there are plenty of Cleveland sports teams selling stylish and affordable merchandise.

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