Welcome to Deadspin’s The Sports Nihilist, where all is for naught and we are but accidental jolts of electrified meat stuck to the surface of a rock in an indifferent universe. Fuck you.
Super Bowl LVII is the latest evidence that sports fans really shouldn’t believe in anything. All Philadelphia Eagles fans did before the game was run their mouths because they believed that this team was destined for another ring. That they would deliver unlike the Phillies in the World Series mere months ago. That we were about to usher in the dawn of a Philly sports renaissance.
I don’t know if it was confidence carried over from Super Bowl LII, the Eagles’ thrashing of the rival New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs, all the people picking them to win, or some combination of the three, but they were feeling themselves more than normal. I didn’t understand the cheery disposition. It’s Philly so there’s always going to be a degree of arrogance, but this was different. They were cocky, and actually believed the shit they were talking. And that’s where they went wrong — hope is where they went wrong.
As Ignatius J. Reilly once said, “Optimism nauseates me. It is perverse. Since man’s fall, his proper position in the universe has been one of misery.” And the quicker sports fans are to accept that, the quicker they can accept my thesis: Believe in nothing.
If the natural law of sports is that only one of 30 to 32 teams are going to win the title each year, that means the vast majority of fans are going to end up unhappy. Rings are the only thing that matters, but if nothing matters, then you can’t be hurt.
The best way to go through life is to insulate yourself to such a degree that nothing affects you. You are a speck in the universe that’s neither insignificant nor special. You just are. You exist only because science dictated that lifeforms on this planet evolve into sentience.
Stop thinking. Stop believing. Stop hoping.
Whenever the subject of hope arises, so too do the Shawshank Redemption quotes about it. Andy Dufresne said of hope: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Well, in an alternate universe, one more realistic and one with walls made up of more than plaster, Andy never escapes prison, and probably ends up hanging himself once he comes to that realization. Does that sound uplifting to you? Look at where optimism and simply thinking good things will happen gets you.
I don’t wake up on the good or bad side of the bed; I wake up in the middle. The day ahead of me will be what it is, and my state of mind will have no impact on the performance of my favorite team. I honestly have tried to rid myself of anything in my life that can be categorized as a “favorite,” but you should still be able to understand what I’m saying.
To be a sports fan is to cede control of your emotions to forces you cannot control, and to do that is tantamount to voluntary self-subjugation. You willingly imprisoned your mind over the outcome of a child’s game. Grow up, Philadelphia.
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