I hate it when I’m right. Picked the Mavericks to win the NBA Championship on January 3. Begrudgingly restaked the pick at the start of the playoffs. Only problem: I’ve wanted the Heat to win the whole dang time.
See, I’m a complicated frontrunner. I have a very particular hierarchy of fandom that I follow in choosing allegiances. I always pull for my teams. Washington Redskins. Atlanta Braves. South Carolina Gamecocks. Furman Paladins. I can’t be accused of being a complete frontrunner because none are remotely world-beaters, obviously. In the event that the sporting engagement, however, does not involve one of “my teams,” I pull for any team from the conference or division with which “my team” is affiliated. NFC East. NL East. SEC. SoCon. In the absence of any such affiliated teams, I pull for teams from my home state. Clemson, Wofford, College of Charleston. In the event that I have no rooting interest in a team that qualifies as one of the aforementioned categories — my team, my conference, or my state — I pull for the team or individual who I perceive to be either the greatest at that particular sporting endeavor or an otherwise once in a generation type of phenomenon. Tiger Woods. LeBron James. Bryce Harper. New England Patriots. I want to see greatness be great. This final rooting consideration is enhanced when I perceive that a substantial and associated record or accomplishment is at stake. So, if the Spurs, whom I despise and who I do not consider all-time great, had won two championships in a row, instead of 3 over five years, I would have felt a heightened compulsion to pull for the streak to continue in the third season. And, so, where most people were pulling for Navy to end their winless streak against Notre Dame football, as the impossible and longstanding underdog, all I could consider was the mass of time and generation necessary to have accumulated such a streak. Same with UNC’s home wins streak over Clemson. It’s too hard to establish. I can’t root for such streaks to fall.
Bottom line, if I don’t have a fairly direct personal interest in the competing teams, I pull for the team and situation that is most historically special or significant. I’ll pull for an underdog on occasion. But, my preference is for the underdog to push the champion or the elite athlete to the brink and then for that ultimate greatness, in the frontrunner, to prevail in some sort of magical way. Like I said, complicated.
So, for me, this NBA season, I have had a divided conscience. I felt like Dallas proved pretty consistently that they had the best parts. The Caron Butler injury created reasonable and substantial doubt in everyone’s minds and they faded from any real conversation as the playoffs approached. But, I thought the mistake of the entire sports media to predict their first-round upset at the hands of the Trailblazers, in combination with the Mavs’ actual greatness, was virtually the perfect cocktail of circumstances to spark a run. And, so they did. Unfortunately, I have been a LeBron James enthusiast his entire career. I pulled for the Cavs to win every year until their eventual and seasonal elimination in each of those same years. And, that allegiance to his perceived excellence and uniqueness in the pantheon of basketball greats (now seriously in question) was not abated in wake of The Decision, as ill-conceived as it was. And, added to my affection for his greatness individually, was the prospect that the Heat might do something singularly exceptional among history’s greatest teams. But, it was my belief that for something of that order to be accomplished, the Heat would have to slip up and get the unexpected first championship this year. But, they didn’t.
So, all this time, I have been pulling HARD against my own exceptional prognostication that the Mavericks would win it all. And, in six, no less. I just hate it when I’m right.
Written and performed by ipoet within minutes of the final buzzer. Electronica produced by Sundance.
Today’s song blog here:I Hate it When I'm Write