My three favorite sports teams all hail from Wisconsin. These three teams are the ones that I follow the closest, cheer for the hardest, and brag about the most. The Milwaukee Brewers, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Green Bay Packers all had promising seasons last year before they came to an abrupt and disappointing end. The let down by all three of these Wisconsin teams has given me a severe case of Sports Fan Sorrow.
The Milwaukee Brewers fabricated an incredible baseball season in 2011, putting together a franchise-best record of 96-66. Winning the National League Central division title, they moved on to the postseason.
The Brewers defeated The Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs, but were thwarted by their division-rival, the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. This heartbreaking loss began the chain of disappointment.
The Wisconsin Badgers football team looked exceedingly hopeful for their 2011 season and expected to be in the race for the National Championship title. Those hopes were dashed after a few sickening losses. However, they salvaged their season and were able to win the Big 10 Championship Game and earn a spot in the Rose Bowl against the Oregon Ducks.
The stage was set for an exciting matchup. The game came down to the last two seconds of regulation, but quarterback Russell Wilson was not able to spike the ball and stop the clock before time ran out. The Rose Bowl came to a sudden end with a Badgers loss.
This culmination of the season put me in a foul mood, but I chose to place my faith in my remaining sports team, the Green Bay Packers, to cure my Badger Blues.
The Packers are the defending Superbowl Champs from 2011 and were the top pick for this year’s Superbowl. Their near perfect regular season seemed to bode well for a likely repeat. I was overconfident as I began sizing up our matchup for the NFC Championship game before the Pack even played the Giants.
As the game progressed with the New York Giants, and things continued to get worse, I felt a sense of helplessness and despair. This wasn’t how things were supposed to go. I was let down by my all-time favorite sports team, whose season seemed to promise me success.
Reality hit me like a six-foot, 250-pound linebacker. The Packers would not be playing in the Superbowl this year, the Badgers were not Rose Bowl Champions and the Brewers did not make it to the World Series.
This year in athletics, more than any other, I felt that greatness could have been achieved for Wisconsin, but it wasn’t. I believe that this opportunity was rare and is not likely to come around again anytime soon.
For me, watching these sports teams is more than just entertainment. I grew up watching Packer games on a sofa with my dad after church. There is something very real about them to me, perhaps stemming from the bond they helped create between me and my father.
If you are a true fan of a sports team, it’s almost like developing a unique relationship with your team. You get to know it very well; you invest time into supporting it, and you wish the best for it. It becomes your team.
Watching my team, the Green Bay Packers, a team with such a rich and remarkable history, makes me feel a part of something great, something significant, something meaningful.
Even though the Badgers, the Brewers and the Packers let their fans down this season, one of the great things about sports is that there is always next year. No matter how badly they perform one year, that sorrow that comes from the disappointment of loss is inevitably replaced by a renewed hope for success the next year.