Not surprisingly, my view on sports championships kind of mirrors The Pizza Cognition Theory. In my opinion, when rooting for a sports franchise, no victory will ever be sweeter or more joyous than the first time your team wins it all.
Let me give you an example. I grew up in Connecticut and went to UConn. The UConn basketball team was slowly getting better and would make it into The Tournament. There was a miracle last second full court pass to a buzzer beating shot that basically caused the entire state to erupt. In Connecticut, this play is simply referred to as The Shot. Unfortunately, two days after The Shot, Duke and freakin' Christian Laettner beat the Huskies with a last second shot of their own.
In the 1999 tournament, UConn went all the way. And they beat Duke for that title too. I remember everything about the night. We were at a co-workers house. I wasn't sure I wanted to go. I need space to pace and yell at the TV and generally support the team. I remember Duke coming back to tie the game. I remember being frozen and mumbling "not again, not again, not again." But UConn won. And it was thrilling. After the get together, we went home and I talked with my brother on the phone until a little after 3. That year, we spoke briefly on the phone almost every Monday night until the next tournament started. "How are you enjoying week 17 of being national champions?"
The UConn men's team has won the championship three more times. It's fun. We talk on the phone after tournament games. But it's never as good or sweet as 1999. And we don't talk about it all year long.
I was 15 in October of 1986. When the first pitch of the famous Game 6 of the Mets-Red Sox World Series was thrown, I was at a Billy Joel concert at the New Haven Colosseum with both my brothers and my buddy Rick. With Connecticut being the buffer between New York City and Boston, the crowd's loyalties were evenly split. Billy Joel would provide updates every once in awhile in between songs. There was a guy nearby watching the game on a itty bitty portable TV that probably cost a fortune - no smart phones in '86. The guy about died at one point. I'm assuming that was when Ray Knight made an error in the 7th. The concert ended but the game was still going. We hurried back to my brothers dorm at Southern Connecticut College and watched the end of the game in a common room. It was amazing. We jumped up up down. We hugged strangers. We celebrated with a beer in my brother's room (It was a long time ago so you can't be mad, Mom).
In the off chance you would like to relive that bottom half of the 10th inning, here it is, brilliantly reenacted in old school RBI Baseball.
The Mets went on to win Game 7 and their first and only World Series of my lifetime (so far). If they won it all this week, it would have been great. But it wouldn't have been as much fun as '86.
I don't watch much baseball. There really isn't time to follow the Mets. Instead, I follow a few people on Twitter who keep track of the Mets for me. Watching Daniel Murphy play was incredible. That was an amazing streak of home runs. Yes, he made some bad errors but without Murphy, there's no doubt Citi Field would have been dark this weekend.
This October was fun. And yeah the Mets lost, but they did it in classic Mets fashion - as painfully as possible. Maybe they'll make it back soon. I'm ok if it takes a little while. My kids will be older and could watch more than the first inning. You only get one shot at watching that first team victory. It would be nice if the girls could really enjoy it.
In other news, Chase Utley still sucks.