Denver is breaking my heart. Maybe it's their conspiracy to reverse the change that has come over me in the last ten years, my transformation from a sane upstanding citizen to a rabid sports fan willing to sacrifice three hours every day not just for baseball, but for spring training baseball. To wit...
Some dude in 2002: "There's a game on."
Me in 2002: "Meh."
Some dude in 2012: "There's a game on."
Me, now: "Holy CRAWDADS drop everything and TURN IT ON!!!!" (*foaming at mouth*)
But lately my favorite teams have been - just - dumb. If they continue along this sordid path, I'm going to experience a rapid descent back to the days of "meh," I just know it.
First it was Tebow. I started watching him when he was a Gator. For two years he was the only college athlete I knew by name. The Broncos signed him, oh happy day!, and all of the sudden I actually cared about a pro football team. (Though still less than college ball. Pro football is monotony itself compared to college ball.) Tebow had the perfect underdog story - vaulted into the limelight by happenstance, pulling out wins by the skin of his teeth, always optimistic. This is a guy who could make me root for any team.
One glorious year of that, and then...YOINK! The Broncos trade Tebow for a guy WHO GOT DROPPED FROM HIS TEAM FOR A REASON, PEOPLE. Don't get me wrong. Before Tebow made me suddenly care about the Broncos I was a Colts fan. Yes, a Colts fan, even though I live nowhere near Indianapolis, all thanks to Peyton Manning. (He's a dreamboat. Yeah. What? Plus he only *kind of* beats up children.) But no, with Peyton up for grabs Denver decides that they'd rather have a few years of slightly-improved-odds-of-winning than work with a youngster who might eventually refine himself into a quarterback superstar.
I predict that the Broncos will be kicking themselves someday soon. I'd sort of like to go kick them right now.
But I can't get too worked-up over the whole Tebow thing. Denver already numbed me to life's cruelties when they started screwing around with the Rockies, the best darn team in all of baseball. Or...at least, they were the best darn team. Today seventy percent of the names I long knew and loved (like, three years ago) are scattered to the winds across the rest of the National League. Now I'll have to go to ridiculous places like Cleveland and San Diego just to finish getting all the signatures on my ball!
When did sports teams become so mutable? Wasn't there ever a time when an athlete was born and died in the same jersey? Do team owners think that the fans value the wins more than the players? Are we all rooting for just a team name, no matter who's holding the bats and throwing the balls?
I guess this must be what the fans want, since so much of a team's success depends on local support. Maybe someone who lives in a city supports their team as a given, a matter of civic pride, whoever the players may be. For me, living 300 miles away from the nearest major league team, I throw my support to the people I like, the guy with the smile, the player with moxie. It's hard to pull for just a logo.
Stupid, maddening major leagues. Well, there's always college ball. (With players recruited from, um...far and wide across the country...)
Well, there's always high school ball. (Cold, wet, not televised...)
Well, there are always video games.
Of course the truth is that I will raise my fist and curse my pro teams for all of their Machiavellian shenanigans even while carving out vast chunks of time from my life to watch every last game. I'll fall in love with this season's new batch of players and have my heart broken again in the spring, and so it goes on, year after year, the sad cyclical life of a rabid sports fan.