Many people like to use sports as a way to escape the drudgery and pain of every day life. It is a fairly illogical escape if one thinks about it, because it is tied to the success or failure of an entity that a fan has no control over. Take it from me, no amount of yelling at the television has seemed to change the score of any game. In fact it has only served to give me headaches on top of hangovers.
Nevertheless, escape through sports is a powerful and addictive drug. So powerful in fact, that it prompts some people to purchase loud and visually offensive sports apparel and say, wear it to important events. Like church. Because we all know God would rather watch the game on Sunday too, don't we?
Life as a devout Denver sports fan isn't easy. For the most part our teams are successful, but just successful enough that we get our hopes up and start making noise and annoying friends in other cities, only to have our teams fail in such a spectacular and embarrassing fashion that we become jaded and cynical when those same friends lash back at us with ruthless prodding and reminders of sports failures of the past.
Can I get a Statue of Liberty with a side of 55-10?
This is why when confronted with the reality that the Avalanche this season do not actually stink, and are instead on the fast track to building a dominant team of the future, many fans and sportswriters such as Mark Kiszla at the Denver Post would rather the team just go straight to hell rather than deal another blow to their fragile psyches, which were so hurt by the decline of the Broncos.
This attitude seems to have spawned from a deep seeded need to be right about something in a world gone terribly wrong. The Avalanche will probably lose in the playoffs, or fall achingly short. Everybody knows this. Yet many people are anxiously waiting for the Avalanche to fail and prove them right, and are more than willing to tell you about it. The notion seems to be that in the end it may be best if we never get our hopes up in the first place.
In some ways reserving one's emotions seems to be a good method of preserving one's sanity. In other ways it is actually more insane than openly caring because emotion that gets bottled up has a nasty habit of coming out as misguided evil. As evidence of this I would recommend one take a moment to peruse the comments section under just about any article on any North American news website.
Blathering irrationally and acting as if you are an expert, while avoiding the real reason you are upset is the American way! We have to be the best at something, and since nothing seems to be going right, by God we are going to be right at telling you what is wrong!
Yes, the Broncos blew a chance at the playoffs in a rebuilding year, but does that really mean you should take it out on the columnist in the lifestyle section who dishes out cooking tips?
Are Bush or Obama really to blame for your inability to saute mushrooms?
In the end such irrational behavior is polarizing and covers over the fact that improvement and progress tend to occur naturally. Unless of course, you are a fan of the Maple Leafs.
The Avalanche are a team on the rise. And while it is highly unlikely that they will win the Stanley Cup this season, for the team to be doing this well at this point is something to be enjoyed, not despised.
Now if you don't mind, I have to log on to the Denver Post comments section and tie the effectiveness of the Avalanche's second power play unit to global warming, the rise of industrialism in the 20th century, abortion, civil rights, the fall of labor unions, taxes, the legalization of medical marijuana, NAFTA, and my inability to cook a five star carne asada burrito.