I originally wrote this post for Winging It In Motown but I felt it was relevant to BYB too.
I haven't been a sports fan all of my life, I actually only started watching the Wings three years ago. It was the record breaking winning streak at Joe Louis Arena that made me start following the Red Wings but it was the beauty of the game and my love of the players that turned me into a true fan. This also means that I have experienced three season ending playoff games; a loss in Nashville which was ultimately Nick Lidstrom's last game, a heartbreaking overtime goal by the 'Hawks, and of course the end in Boston which was almost inevitable. I am also a Lions, Tigers, and Pistons fan and I've lived through my share of seasons ending with those teams, too. I have seen the Tigs lose in the playoffs for three years in a row, and have stumbled through several disappointing finishes for the Pistons and Lions where the didn't even make the postseason. I have also, unfortunately, never seen any of my teams win a championship. I didn't start watching the Pistons until after their championship in 2004 and other than the Wings none of the other teams have won a championship in my lifetime.
After the Wings game ended on Saturday I started thinking about how I usually feel when one of my teams plays their last game of the season. It's always hard watching the players file into the locker room, knowing that they're hopes of winning the ultimate prize have once again been crushed. That's always the worst part for me, seeing the looks of disappointment on their faces as they struggle through that painful final interview. The other hard part of the season ending is the emptiness that it leaves behind. I've spent hours of my life every week with this team, watching the games, following the news, cheering for them and sharing their disappointments.
It was while I was thinking about this that I realized every fan reacts to that final game differently. My sister is also a huge sports fan and she usually doesn't even want to think about the team or the season for a few days after the loss. It's like she needs to have awhile to process everything before she's willing to move on to the next year. However, I am the kind of fan who immediately switches to off-season mode. I always feel like the end of one season is just the beginning of a new one. My team may not have gotten it done this year but they'll do better next season. I immediately immerse myself in free agent lists and mock drafts, imagining the players who could help in the future. I can't even bear to watch the playoffs once my team is eliminated, for me the season ends with the Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lions.
So, how do you feel when your favorite team's season ends? Do you start looking forward to the next year, mourn the past season, or something in between?
As always, questions, comments and advice are always welcome.
Let's Go Tigers!!