Crazy Things We’ve Done When Our Teams Have Lost
Some sports fans handle losses of their favorite teams the same way they’d handle any other ordinary inconvenience or less-than-perfect scenario. Eh? Whatever.
However, others respond to losses like a psycho in rush-hour traffic or, even worse, like a mad man on the verge of self destruction.
What’s the worst way you’ve responded after a loss? Answer in the comment section below.
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I’m not a real big yeller and screamer when it comes to being a fan. I’m just not a tantrum kind of guy. That’s not to say I don’t take it VERY serious and die a thousand deaths internally sometimes, when my team takes it on the chin.
The one game that stands out as most painful and the closest thing to a tantrum I threw was not the Spurs or Oilers (my teams as a kid), not the Texans, Aggies, Astros or Rockets (my teams as an adult), nor any other team for which I rooted — including the USA in the World Cup and Olympic Games.
It was the 2004 AAU National Championship Elite Eight game that I coached against our most fierce rival on the summer circuit — Team Texas out of Dallas. We had beaten those guys for the state championship and beaten them twice in other huge statewide tournaments. Their team featured several future Division I and NBA players (Bryan Davis, Durell Arthur, Jermaine Beal).
We were up by five-points with just more than a minute remaining in the game, with a chance to advance to our first Final Four. We had ‘em.
And then everything unraveled. They made some big shots, I didn’t make the right adjustments and we lost. The kids were devastated. I was devastated for them. More than 2,000 teams try to get to the Final Four. We were THAT close.
After acting as if everything was going to be alright, I let the kids go back out into the gym to meet their parents.
I walked outside, about a block away from the gym, sat under a tree and just stared into the ground. I felt as if I let down every one of those kids. I literally felt sick.
I’m not going to say I cried … but I’m not going to say I didn’t. About a half-hour later, I finally walked back into the gym and acted again as if everything would be fine.
The best part of the story came a year later. We DID get back to the AAU Elite Eight and we finally did make it to the Final Four. I still have the coaches’ Final Four watch sitting near my desk at home.
Here’s the sad truth… I’ve never really done anything crazy when my team lost a big game, because, the thing is, my teams’, basically, never make a big game. Allow me to explain.
I’m a Kansas City Chiefs fan. The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game in nearly twenty years. Not a single playoff game! Their last playoff victory was over the Houston Oilers. Joe Montana was Kansas City’s quarterback and it was the 1993 season. Sure, the Chiefs have had some pretty damn good teams since then—three times KC has gone 13-3 in that stretch, and a handful more have made the playoffs, but not a single one has won a playoff game.
Now to my baseball team, the sad Kansas City Royals. At this point, the Royals are more of a punch line than a professional sports organization, and you likely know they’ve been bad, but I doubt you know quite how bad my boys have actually been. Zero playoff appearances since 1985. 85! That’s 27 years ago! Since the strike the Royals have had 9 managers, 3 GMs, 2.5 owners and 1 winning season.
My basketball teams, neither, mercifully, from Kansas City, don’t have quite the same awful luck, but they’re not exactly running out of room for banners, either. I’m a New York Knicks fan, and they just dropped confetti for winning a single playoff game, and I’m a Syracuse fan. We’ve been past the Sweet 16 just twice in over 15 years, once we won it all, so there was nothing to be upset about, and once was this year, when the loss was preordained thanks to Fab Melo’s inability to read.
So, you see, no heartbreaking losses or blown Super Bowl’s for me. Nope, instead just a whole lot of fruitless regular seasons, followed by snarky remarks to fans of other teams during the postseason.
“The General” John McClain
When the Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts 16-13 in Super Bowl V, Dallas defensive tackle Bob Lilly was so angry and frustrated that he threw his helmet down the field when the game ended. It was so badly played the game was called the Stupor Bowl. I was in high school and a huge Cowboys fan. I was so livid that the Cowboys finally reached the Super Bowl and basically gave away the game by blowing a 10-6 lead in the fourth quarter, I wrote a nasty letter to quarterback Craig Morton and gave it to my mother to mail to the Cowboys the next day. Morton was terrible with 12-of-26 with three interceptions. I blamed the loss on him. Years later, Morton hosted a sports talk show in Denver. He had me on as his guest a few times. He was so nice that I regretted sending him that awful letter. I didn’t worry about him remembering the letter – even if he read his mail – because I’m sure he received a few hundred from fans feeling the same way I did at the time. But Morton was so nice to me I felt incredibly embarrassed, even though he didn’t know it, of course. A couple of years later, I was visiting my parents in Waco. One night, I went through some dresser drawers in my old bedroom, and guess what I found – the letter to Craig Morton. Turned out my mother never mailed it! Man, was I glad.
The Jets were playing the Patriots in 2008, and I think it was a Sunday night game, or at least a prime-time game. They played a very good game throughout, but Matt Cassel somehow drove NE down the field with like a minute to go, down by 7. With seconds on the clock, he found Randy Moss in the corner of the end zone. It was one of those bizarre comebacks you rarely see, and I lost it. Once Moss scored the TD, I took a bottle of hot sauce from the coffee table and slammed it on the ground, spraying hot sauce on part of the wall. It was a moment of rare fury.
In retrospect, I’m a little surprised my parents didn’t just kick me out of the house, but I think the idea of me living in a box prevented that. They re-painted the family room a few months later, so the way I look at is it that my meltdown made them complete a task that needed to be on the agenda.
Beyond getting drunk, I’ve never really pulled the “destruction” trigger following a big loss. (Cost of replacement has always proven a perfect governor for me.)
The worst thing I ever did after a loss happened while I was in college at UT. After a particularly heartbreaking Longhorns loss to the Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game, I hurled a dart in disgust at a dartboard in my apartment. Bad idea. The dart missed the board and went halfway through the wall. You could see the tip of the wall pointing through the wall of my outdoor storage closet.
After I calmed down a couple days later, I tried to fix the problem that resulted from my poor aim in the heat of the moment. I tried putty, toothpaste, every trick in the book. In the end, I just hung a picture over the poorly patched hole and left it there when I moved out.
The worst thing I did as a result of sports happened during Game 6 of the World Series after Joe Carter hit the series-winning home run off Mitch Williams. I was in my dorm room at the time. I fell to my knees and weeping then erupted like a volcano. I threw my miniature Phillies bat through my dorm window.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson on throwing things in the heat of the moment. Now I just curse like a sailor, while creating new and colorful swear words – making those around me entertained most of the time.
I played football for a division II NAIA school in Iowa called Graceland University. After losing a game that would have clinched a playoff berth for my team in my freshman year, I got into an argument with a linebacker on my team and subsequently punched him in the face. The team broke up the scuffle, and then he was allowed to get a payback shot anywhere he wanted…my left eye was black for three weeks.
It was Super Bowl 42, and I was a freshman at Syracuse University. I’m a big Pats fan, but was the only one on a dorm floor filled with Giants fan. The Patriots were 18-0, playing a team they had no business losing to. It was a perfect storm for rage.
Obviously, the Patriots lost. One of my friends (a Giants fan wearing an L.T. jersey) knocked on my dorm door about an hour after the game to gloat. Needless to say, I was less than amused, and mildly intoxicated. I had a basket of fruit I’d hoarded from the cafeteria next to my desk, and proceeded to chase my friend down the dorm hallway pegging him with apples, oranges and bananas.
Anyway, my R.A. heard about it, and I was forced to sit down with him for thirty minutes the next day to discuss the vices of cursing and wasting food. The end.
This is pretty tame, but when I was 11 or 12 I was a huge KSU football fan. I even had my own website dedicated to KSU football. This particular season I was convinced they would be national champions but Texas A&M upset them in the last seconds of the game. So I punched a hole in the wall and took down the whole website except for a picture of a graveston reading something like “KSU 1998 football season” or something to that effect. Very melodramatic…
My high school basketball team beat a higher ranked Catholic high school team to advance to state. While filing out of the gym, I told two priests they apparently didn’t pray enough for their team.
During my oldest daughter Dani’s karate class, her Sensei told the class that they didn’t have to hang out with people that curse. She turned and looked at me.
After class I asked her why she looked at me. She said: “Dad, you always cuss when you drive or watch the Texans game”.
I don’t really freak out (sorry), but I’ve been left in a funk for a few days after a bad game. Maybe the worst was when we lost the hail mary game to Jacksonville, and I was in charge of the audio highlights and almost missed getting the cut-in for the show because I was sitting in stunned silence.
Nothing outrageous comes to mind. However, when I was 16, I did tear up in front of my girlfriend at the time after KU lost to Arizona in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Very traumatic.
My kid sister Christa played softball for the University of Houston Cougars, who fell one game short of the College World Series a few years ago. They lost to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, who I still despise to this day. After losing Game 1 of the three-game Super Regionals, I knew what was to be their fate. They eventually lost 2-of-3 games.
The day of the first loss was also my boyfriend-at-the-time’s birthday. I was crying hysterically as we drove to dinner right after the game, and he told me I needed to calm down.
I looked sharply back at him – all puffy-eyed and snot-nosed – and screamed, “This is my whole life. Don’t you dare tell me to calm down, you (expletive)!”
I got out of the vehicle and walked the rest of the way to the restaurant, where the hostess asked if I needed help in a tone that indicated she thought he had been abusing me.
“No, I’m upset about a game. A table for two, please.”
Truth: I’m still upset.