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Sports! It’s in the air. The Super Bowl is either coming up, just happened, or is months away, depending on when this gets published and you find time to read it. College basketball is gearing up for the final push for its regular season conference champs. And a few baseball dorks are counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report.

And with all of these games comes winning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 99.9 percent of all athletic competitions have a winner. But at what cost?

Your tolerability. The sad fact is that too much winning makes teams and their fans intolerable. Let’s look at some anecdotal evidence.

BASEBALL

Let’s conduct an experiment. I’m going to type a phrase and then predict why you have one of three emotional reactions. Here goes:

The New York Yankees suck.

How did you react? Indifference? Then you don’t care about baseball or sports. Did you agree? Then you are non-Yankee baseball fan? Did you think DURR 27 WORLD SERIES RINGS! YEAH JEETS! ? Then you are a Yankees fan.

How was I able to so accurately explain the reason behind your reaction? Because, everyone with a baseball opinion who isn’t a Yankees fan hates the Yankees. They’ve just won too much. Everyone is sick of them and their shit. Even this past season, as the team rebuilt with Aaron Judge—an objectively fun player—it was kind of annoying.

When franchises marinate in too much success, they get that tech-bro stink where the owners/managers act like they’ve disrupted the paradigm in ways that no other franchise could ever conceive of. And their fans act like Donald Trump, believing that their wealth and winning makes them better than everyone else, despite having done nothing themselves to earn it.

Everyone hates the goddamn Yankees. And right now Yankee fans are screaming “Your[1] just jealous” at their computers.

And everything that’s terrible about the Yankees applies to the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans, but to a much less significant degree. Cardinals fan will not shut up about how their team “plays the right way” despite the fact that their very average catcher uses so much stickum that the ball stuck to his chest protector.

Cardinals fans think that the Cardinals are basically the Yankees, despite having only a fraction of the championships, even fewer great players, and the fact that they play in the best city in the worst state. But they have won enough to be poisoned by it. Don’t believe me? Check out the amazing Twitter account @BestFansStLouis.

It’s not just winning sustained across generations that makes teams awful.

The Red Sox used to be lovable losers. They had the Curse of the Bambino. But three World Series wins over the past 15 years have thrown all that was interesting about them out the window. Now they’re just another big market team blowing cash with mixed results. And their fans are now awful. Showing up to road games and acting like they’re better than everyone else, or hurling racist taunts at outfielders at home.

The Cubs had the same sad sack aura. And they ruined it by winning a championship. I was rooting against them in the World Series because I knew it would ruin them. A 100-year drought is more interesting than winning one. Now, they’re just another team. Do you care about Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant anymore? No, you do not. The Cubs are now the White Sox, just another thing in the Midwest that you ignore.

One last baseball example. I’m a Royals fan. When they got to the World Series in 2014, it was a dream. I was 2 years old when they had beaten the Cardinals[2], and I had no living memory of them being anything other than a hopeless mess. Losing in 7 to the Giants sucked, but the sting of the loss was drowned out by the euphoria of watching my team even make it to the World Series. Being one out from a title sure felt better than being eliminated from the playoffs in June.

Then, the next year the Royals pantsed the Mets. I was elated, as was the rest of the long-suffering fanbase in the Kansas City area. Then came the victory parade attended by 255,000 people, followed by media and fans sniffing their own farts by pointing out how peaceful it was. No reports of violence. We had been bitten by the victory zombie and were turning. It happens to all of us.

FOOTBALL

Remember when you didn’t hate the Patriots? I know, it’s hard to remember that long ago. When the Patriots first won the Super Bowl they were a feel good story. The 9/11 attacks were still fresh in the minds of Americans. The Yankees had won the World Series[3]. That winter, a team called the Patriots won the Super Bowl?! Fuck you, Osama! They were scrappy underdogs and it was a good story. Cut to 2018, and Tom Brady is selling snake oil and everyone wishes that the Giants were there to take them down a peg.

Speaking of Giants-Pats Super Bowls, the last time I rooted for New England was when they had a chance to go undefeated and shut Mercury Morris and the rest of that Dolphins team the hell up. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE INSUFFERABLE BECAUSE THEY WON TOO MUCH.

KANSAS JAYHAWKS

To close out, I would like to, again, make this about me and my teams. My very favorite team is the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team. The Jayhawks are on the verge of winning their 14th consecutive conference title. This would break the record set by John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins teams. KU is the Evil Empire of the Big 12. And it’s been great. The team that I love is never bad. That doesn’t mean that I, and the other fans, don’t act like the team is bad. This year they have lost three home games, and everyone acted like the sky was falling. We’re[4] still atop the Big 12 standings. But we’ve been ruined by winning.

What’s more is that there is a part of this amazing run that makes me mad. The Jayhawks are on the brink of surpassing an unthinkable record set by a revered college coach. And I’m a little pissed, because I don’t think it’s getting the attention it deserves.

Imagine if Duke were on its 13th straight ACC conference championship? Dick Vitale would be knocking over courtside monitors with his raging hardon. When Vitale does Big 10 games, he brings up the ACC and Duke 5 minutes into the first half. ESPN would have a countdown clock in the bottom corner 24/7. My team wins constantly, and I’m still looking for ways in which we are getting screwed.

Winning poisons everything. You don’t want it to happen to your team. Losing keeps things pure. The Buffalo Bills went to 4 straight Super Bowls. Does anyone hate the Bills? No, because they choked them all. Sorry, Erin Vail. I guarantee that if the Bucks won an NBA Championship that you would start to loathe people from Milwaukee.


[1] This isn’t a typo. Yankee fans speak in subtle grammatical errors.

[2] Thanks to a totally legit call at first base in the penultimate game.

[3] The only time we are allowed to feel good about that as a nation.

[4] With this team I say “we” because I went to the university and because I’m an annoying dumbass.

Dennis William

Dennis is an aspiring English teacher and still listens to ska music. He lives in DC, which is fine.

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