Part One was posted Monday. Today is part 2 of the Sports Fandom 101 series.
Despondency, as defined by Dictionary.com, is defined as:
- Depression of spirits from loss of courage or hope; dejection (1).
Being a sports fan is a lot of things: fun, exciting, exhilarating. It is also painful, frustrating, and intoxicating. When it comes to the reasons listed, all of them can, in some form or fashion, lead to feeling despondent, to feeling completely and utterly dejected.
One of the most passionate sports fans around is Eddie Maisonet, creator of The Sports Fan Journal (2). Ed has experienced so many emotions as a sports fan that it takes someone who is either passionate about sports, or someone who is passionate about something, to truly understand how a vehicle can lead to feeling despondent. By his own admission, the last time he felt despondent was in October 2012 when James Harden was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets for a bunch of shit a person can get at the grocery store. It was the dumbest trade in the history of the NBA, reasons which are listed in detail (3). At that point, any hope Ed had in the Oklahoma City Thunder being an immediate title contender were gone. Feelings of being absolutely blindsided permeated the atmosphere on the night of the trade. Since then, the Thunder have been a solid team, and they've flirted with greatness, as the world saw this postseason, but they have yet to return to The NBA Finals.
Obviously, things should be taken in context. Being dejected over a game isn’t the same as feeling dejected over breaking up with your old lady, or getting bad news from someone you care about, or getting to the mall only to find out the last pair of Js in your size just sold out. No, those are real world problems and much more severe than being upset or losing hope over the performance, or stupidity, of your team and the individuals who make up, or destroy, the team. By no means should those events be in the same category as the ones listed above. However, when it is in the scope of being a sports fan, it’s totally understandable when a fan feels completely hopeless.
When the Texas Rangers blew a 2-0 lead in the ALDS against the Blue Jays last year, the stench of despondency permeated the atmosphere. It was one of those playoff series where, as a fan, it would have been more bearable to get swept than to watch the hometown team win their first two games on the road only to come back to Arlington, lose both games in front of their home crowd, and then go back on the road and get beat in Game 5. It was a damn disaster, and while it wasn’t worse than what happened in 2011, it was still pretty bad.
In this dynamic, being a sports fan is similar to relationships with loved ones; anticipating and looking forward to the highs while not being overly concerned with the lows. Sure, the possibilities of the lows are there, but you hope to never experience them for the possibility of feeling hopeless, feeling dejected, and being utterly despondent.