I’m sorry I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to do another entry about sports. I’m fed up, tired of getting behind the local sports teams only to get my heart broken. It ain’t easy being a sports fan and it’s especially tough when you live up here in Washington state.
This weekend the Northwest sports fans were again disappointed when two of our Washington state schools, Gonzaga and the University of Washington, were both eliminated from the NCAA tournament on back-to-back days. Both teams built up comfortable first-half leads and both teams got beaten in the waning seconds of their respective games. I can’t take it anymore! I’m tired of getting hurt. When are we going to be able to celebrate a champion in this state?
So of you may be wondering what I’m referring to. Well if you’ve watched any of the NCAA tournament this weekend then you surely know when I’m talking about. And after watching our teams get bounced I came to a conclusion. We have the worst luck when it comes to our sports teams.
We heard the whining from the Boston Red Sox fans and how their team was cursed and blah blah, but they finally got a championship. But hey, Massachusetts already had champions in the New England Patriots.
We know about the Chicago fans and their Cubbies, but come on you have the White Sox who just won the World Series, plus the Bears were champions just 20 years ago.
The list goes on and on…unfortunately, I didn’t spend time doing the research but I think when it comes down to it us Washingtonians have it pretty rough (minus the states like Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, etc. that don’t have anyone to cheer for, I’m sure if you put a team there they’d win a championship before we did).
Let’s take us back a couple days to Thursday. The Gonzaga Bulldogs (Spokane,Wash.) blew a 17-point first-half lead against UCLA then with seconds remaining in the game and up by one, they decided to take it easy possibly thinking UCLA would come after them to foul them and send them to the line. Instead UCLA played aggressive, stripped the ball from center J.P. Batista and scored the game-winning bucket with seconds remaining. Game over: UCLA 73, Gonzaga 71. Bulldogs eliminated in a shocking ending to a good season.
Then Friday, the University of Washington Huskies took the No. 1 UConn Huskies to the brink of elimination. The UW led at one point by 11-points only to see their lead dwindle in the waning minutes of the game. Up by three UConn sharpshooter, Rashard Anderson drained a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining sending what most of us thought was a UW win into overtime. In overtime UConn led for most of the game when UW-guard Ryan Appleby (who Randy played against in high school) drained a 3-pointer cutting UConn’s lead to 94-92. Appleby then stole the inbounds pass, igniting the sports department of the paper I work for and I’m sure many UW fans that were watching the game. However, after Appleby looked like he was going to the hole, he turned himself around threw a pass to Joel Smith who then tried to cut a pass to All-American Brandon Roy. Instead the pass was intercepted by UConn guard Marcus Williams and quickly quieted the sports department and the rest of Husky Nation. Just like that, two nights, two heartbreaks.
Up in these ‘der neck of the woods we often complain about the lack of respect we get from the other parts of the country. But respect comes from winning and our sports teams haven’t been able to close out games in big situations.
Let’s look back just a couple of months ago when the Seattle Seahawks were in the Super Bowl. Sure we can blame the refs, but the ‘Hawks gave up three HUGE plays which all resulted in points for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Statistically the Seahawks outplayed the Steelers but came away with nothing to show for it.
Washington State hasn’t had a champion since 1979 when the Sonics won the NBA championship. Correct that…the WNBA’s Seattle Storm won the championship in 2004. Anybody pay attention to that? Oh yah, and in 1991 the Washington Husky football team were co-champions…big deal…co-champions!
Baseball: Mariners win a Major League record-tying 116 games in 2001, only to be taken to five games by the Cleveland Indians in the Divisonal Series and then ousted in six games by the hated New York Yankees. Hated only because they win a lot!
Football: See above…the Seahawks have only made it to one Super Bowl.
Basketball: Sure we got the WNBA championship and the Sonics won in 1979, but we’ve had our heartbreaks there too. The Sonics lost in 1996 to Michael Jordan’s unstoppa-Bulls and were ousted in the first round in 1994 by the Denver Nuggets, the first time a No. 1 seed was eliminated by a No. 8 in NBA history. The picture of Dikembe Mutumbo laying on the Seattle Center floor holding the basketball still burns in our heads.
College Basketball: Gonzaga made a great run in the late 90’s but since they’ve become one of college basketball’s most recognized teams they haven’t been able to get out of the Sweet Sixteen. And those UW Huskies, back in 1998 they were stabbed in the heart by those same UConn Huskies and Richard Hamilton’s last second shot.
You know its bad when the list of Seattle’s top 10 sports moments come out and five of the top 10 have to do with the 1995 Mariners unthinkable run to the post-season.
So as you can see we’ve had it rough. We continue to get heartbroken then forgotten up here in the Northwest.
I’m sure, if I wanted to do some research, I’ve forgotten other heartbreaks. But I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking thatWashingtonStatehas had our taste of disappointments. If you think your state is worse off then let me know.
Oh yah, go George Mason!