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The Agony of Defeat in Professional Sports

1c0c5cd3967833d37e37683c9d323181By Elder Hugh “Holy” Tarrer

As an ardent sports fan who tries to gain knowledge and wisdom daily, I find myself in a constant longing to live through, see, and experience sports excellence in its most dynastic form. We live in the most informative, innovative, lucrative, and technological era sports, which seems to lend itself to the notion that you will see and experience all time greatness in this era. We have the best and most educated, conditioning programs. Specialty coaches, nutritionists, computer generated simulators and scientific algorithms designed to give teams the smallest of edges in competition and to provide feedback comparisons. Not to mention our kids get started earlier and are indoctrinated into leagues and organized sports by age of 4, with YouTube and Google are at their disposals at the click of a mouse.

Yet and still records like Joe DiMaggio’s streak of 56 hits in a row still stands the test of time. The 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect season is still unmatched. John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins Men’s Basketball Team still holds the record for 88 wins in a row covering 3 seasons. And Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Majors still endures, and although American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown last year, a feat not seen since Affirmed in the 80s. We still are starved for something record breaking in one of the 3 major American sports.

The fact of the matter is since the 07 New England Patriots, whom went 18-0, but did not win the Super Bowl, we have wet our pallets to see and experience greatness. And yet have been foiled time and time again. There was Serena Williams whom I consider this Century’s Greatest Athlete, going for the true complete Grand Slam last September. Only to come up short to No 43 ranked Roberta Vinci in the final set on the last leg of the US Open. Not to mention Tiger Woods collapsing since 09 and Jack Nicklaus’ record seemingly secured of 18 Majors. We were all “dabbing” down here last year when the Carolina Panthers on their roll, but denied yet again in the regular season by the Atlanta Falcons, and for good measure in the Super Bowl by the Denver Broncos. To say nothing about Kentucky Men’s Basketball team 2 years ago going 38-0, and having 4 NBA 1st round draft choices on the 2015 squad, but ultimately coming up short of the perfect season by losing in the NCAA tournament to the Wisconsin Badgers.

As I watched the Championship Game 7 last Sunday night, I was feeling the effects of a recent knee surgery, but that pain paled in comparison of the pain from being denied once again of an all-time team moment. The Golden State Warriors had an opportunity to eclipse the 95-96 Chicago Bulls Championship team, whom had 72 wins in the regular season, and the player widely considered as the greatest ever to lace them up in Michael Air Jordan. I should have known better. And truth be told after Carolina lost the Super Bowl I told my son (a huge Cam Newton and Steph Curry fan) that Golden State will not win it all this year. But yet again I feel like Charlie Brown with that football that gets snatched every time. Be that as it may, I in no way, shape, form or fashion want to diminish the performance, and utter dominance of LeBron James. He played up to his potential, and displayed his true capabilities in a Championship Series. He also had help. Kyrie Irving played lights-out and together with Tristin Thompson and Kevin Love seized the moment, and the Championship. They played tenacious on defense, scrapped harder, rebounded religiously and made big shots, and big stops, in big moments. With all that said, the Warriors were tied 89-89 with 4 minutes left and in seemingly Machiavellian poetic justice the team that set a record for scoring that had the league MVP who set a record for 3-pointers couldn’t score. I guess to be great you must play great when the moment is greatest, and they didn’t.

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