Opinion Corner: New year brings optimismThe kickoff of the NFL regular season reminds me of the ongoing optimism that exists among sports fans, coaches and competitors at the beginning of each season.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
The kickoff of the NFL regular season reminds me of the ongoing optimism that exists among sports fans, coaches and competitors at the beginning of each season.
You’ve experienced it before no matter what sport — football, basketball, hockey, baseball, etc. That feeling of, “OK, it’s a brand new season. We’ve got a 0-0 record right now. This year is going to be our year.”
It doesn’t matter if your team was at the top of the division a year ago or buried at the bottom without a single tally in the win column.
I’m guilty of it myself. I sit down on that couch in Week 1 and am sold on the fact my hometown Washington Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl. Twenty-one years later, I’m still waiting.
But that’s the wonderful thing about sport — the ability to make a complete 180 from one season to the next.
Despite the reality that only one team or one athlete is going to hoist that championship trophy at the end of the season, every team and every competitor is on even ground to begin each season.
Take the Chicago Cubs for example. It’s that ongoing optimism that keeps fans coming out to baseball games at Wrigley Field, despite the fact the team is currently in the midst of the longest professional sports championship drought of any franchise at 104 years. Their last title was in 1908 under President Roosevelt — Teddy Roosevelt, that is.
The Cubs are nowhere near qualifying for the MLB playoffs this year, eliminating any chance they end that particular streak in this 2012 season. But I guarantee you that come Spring Training next February, loyal Cubs fans will be out and about to support their team in hopes that 2013 will be their year.
In all likelihood, it won’t be, but who’s to say that it’s impossible and won’t be the case. After all, like ESPN commentator Chris Berman loves to say, “That’s why they play the games.”
And the Cubs are merely one example. It happens across sports of all levels.
One particular instance closest to my heart was in high school, when I got the first taste of a varsity football matchup with cross-town Westlake High School — who had defeated my Northern High School Patriots every single season since the school was founded in 1992.
My freshman class entered the matchup with the cross-town Wolverines 0-12. We would finish 0-4 against them during our four years, despite finishing a combined 29-5 against all other conference competitors. Needless to say, they were our annual dose of Kryptonite.
It just so happened we played them the first game of the season each year, too. And I can say with full disclosure that prior to each of those games I was convinced we would win. Despite all the history and despite the odds against us and despite the fact that, deep down, I knew they were probably a better team than we were — I was still convinced we would be victorious.
That’s something at this time of the year — or the beginning of any sports season for that matter — that we as fans, coaches and competitors can share. We can all share in that overwhelming desire to come out with a win.
One of these years, the Chicago Cubs are going to put together a heck of a ball club and win themselves a World Series. Just like on a rainy night in October 2011, when I was in the press box assistant coaching for my Northern High Patriots as they broke a 19-year losing streak with a 7-0 defeat of Westlake.
So to all NFL fans, it’s good news — no matter if you’re the defending Super Bowl champion N.Y. Giants or the 2-14 Indianapolis Colts, your team is still in the hunt!
After all — nothing is impossible.
Willhide is a news writer with The Sun and a frequent contributor to the Opinion Corner