Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Sunday, October 12, 2003
Anyone who has even a vague interest in athletics must find their attention turning to the sports page come October. A few comments from the peanut gallery.
1. Wisconsin. My alma mater (M.A., 1994) knocked off the reigning champs this Saturday in the Camp. Now, an embarrassing loss to UNLV (not to mention a scary Sooner team) puts national title hopes out of the picture, but who cares? We still have a shot at the ROSE BOWL. And no matter what the rest of the country argues, Pac and Big Ten fans know that this is the only show in town.
2. The Oregon connection. I grew up in the West, but didn't go to a Pac 10 school. Nevertheless, I happen to be blessed with proximity, and so I keep an eye on the local kids. As I mentioned before the Michigan game, the Ducks are going to have a mediocre season (hey, beating Michigan somewhat offsets a 6-6 record, right?). But look at these Oregon State Beavers. With all the upsets this week, expect a top-25 ranking. And with a top-25 ranking, expect this guy to get some Heisman run.
3. Green Bay Packers. You don't live in Wisconsin for three years without becoming a die-hard cheesehead. We lost a heartbreaker in Lambeau today and now we're 3-3. Guess what? That means a respectable 13-3 record is still in play.
4. Baseball. Like everyone else in America, I'm becoming increasingly excited about the prospect of a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. And yet I wonder. Might we lose something valuable if either team wins the series? I mean, as it is, the institutions of the "Curse of the Bambino" and "Billy Goat Curse" are indelible. They're as American as anything since the Boston Tea Party.
It is unlikely that very few humans recall the last time either team won the series. Four generations of fans have been raised on failure. Communism rose and fell since the Cubbies last won. Air flight was invented. Depressions and recessions have come and gone. Wars have been waged. Nukes were invented and we lived through mad MAD times. And yet through it all, we enjoyed the consistency of Red Sox and Cubs failures. The close calls made it that much more delicious.
Will the world still be right if the Cubs win the world series? We'll celebrate for a few minutes (or if you live in Chi-town, a few days), but then we're confronted with an uncomfortable prospect: next year. All of a sudden, it won't seem to certain anymore. I know, I know, it's impossible to turn on the TV and root against either team--especially when that means rooting for the preening, despicable Yankees. But in the end, I wonder. Think about it: The World Champion Chicago Cubs. If we have to come to terms with that, isn't anything possible? I shudder to think.