i'm a huge sports fan. but a fan of losers. lovable ones, but losers nonetheless. case in point: my favorite basketball team? Utah Jazz. two straight losses to the effen Chicago Bulls in 1997 and 1998. favorite baseball team? The Mets. let's not talk about this past season, 'kay? and for a while, my favorite football team was the Buffalo Bills. need i remind you of the four straight Super Bowl losses in the '90s? don't think so.
there's something about getting behind an underdog, hoping against hope that the little guy can slay the biggest and brightest (and usually, the most over-hyped and un-deserving!). but sometimes-- and this may be sacrilege-- but sometimes, we love the losers more when they remain losers. when an underdog gets slaughtered during a game...or worse, when they get this close only to lose in the most heartbreaking fashion...it's what i love about sports and it's what makes some sports heroes tragic ones: terminally flawed, perpetually questioned, easily embraced. which is why this article, by ESPN Page 2 writer Eric Neel, really resonated with me. first, Neel is a gifted writer. second, he's able to convey the complexity of sports-love in a way that completely escapes me. his reasoning for why he wishes Peyton Manning doesn't win this coming Sunday (though i still hope he does) is pitch perfect.