Valentines Love (For A Change).

I Heart Sports.

Well, that's a bald-faced over-generalization if I've ever heard one!

I heart playing sports, certain sports. Football and basketball and Backyard Baseball; the occasional round of golf. I'd bowl every day of my life if it didn't set me back an arm and a leg. And if you throw in some friends and a keg of beer, you might even get me to play volleyball or Ultimate Frisbee or even Pop-A-Shot. But not tennis; never tennis.

I heart watching sports, but usually only if my team is involved. My team. Really, I've only three, but for some strange reason I've an affinity for them all.

Each team - from Seattle - is a bigger disappointment than the last. One team will genuinely get my hopes up for a strong run towards a championship; one team will let me down after thoughts of a potential playoff birth; and one team I will delude myself into thinking MIGHT somehow possibly if things go horribly horribly wrong for everyone else and all of our position players overachieve and maybe just maybe if we stay healthy and someone comes out of nowhere to have an MVP calibre season, MAYBE we'll scratch and claw our way to a division title with 90-something wins and then in the playoffs WHO KNOWS what could possibly might happen ...


Delusions. That's all they are. I follow sports year round because of these delusions. Think about it rationally. Each league (and here, I'm talking about NFL, NBA, MLB; let's leave off college because it's just too depressing) has somewhere around 30-something teams. These teams all fight to the death for at least six months a year, training and praticing and playing the games and rehabbing and reviewing tape and working on fundamentals, but in the end only 1 in 30-something will be the Ultimate Champion. Do you know what those odds are? I don't, because I'm no good at math. The only thing you really have going for you is the fact that in every league, you can usually lop off about half the teams before anyone even plays a game and know without a doubt that they won't be winning the championship that year. As long as you're not in that bottom half (or delude yourself into thinking you're not in that bottom half), then you have something to live for in that season.

I follow sports year round, year-in and year-out, with the hope in mind that one year, one season, one day, I'll get to look at a copy of my hometown newspaper and read on the cover: 'CHAMPIONS'. For some cities, it's the land of milk and honey. In my lifetime, the city of Boston has won a championship in each of the three major sports. New York has two out of three, with the Knicks being competitive for a long stretch of years there. Los Angeles has a championship for all three (don't forget those Raiders - who took out the Seahawks in the AFC championship game - in '83). Detroit has 2/3, Chicago has 3/3 (as long as you're not a Cubs fan). Then, there are places like Seattle, which has one championship (Sonics) and none in my lifetime (1979). Cleveland is lacking ... honestly, I'm having a tough time thinking of cities who have all three major sports without a single ring among them in my lifetime. I guess Seattle's in the running with Cleveland and Philadelphia for the futility title.

So, you could say I don't know a whole lot about winning, because I've never seen it when it matters the most. The Seahawks have 2 or 3 viable runs at a championship left before everyone will be too damn old; the Sonics seem to have a glut of young players with plenty of Upside, though they're looking more and more out the door with each legislative meeting; the Mariners are in a shambles, but have steadily improved the last two seasons after all our geezers from the 2001 season died off. Really, the only thing Seattle has had going for it is the fact that just about every season since I've been alive, at least one Seattle team has been competitive.

The early 80s, it was the Seahawks after the Sonics championship teams of the late 70s started to crumble. When front office bumbling took away my football team, the Sonics returned with a ton of young exciting players (Nate, Gary, Shawn, Dale, Cage, the Scheff) and made a number of runs through the mid-to-late 90s. That's when Mariners fever took over, sliding us into the new century. The Sonics returned to form for a season there and then the Seahawks have taken us the rest of the way, getting as close as a Super Bowl loss.

My sports teams have no Glory of which to speak, and yet I heart them regardless. Because I know that the losing can't go on forever. I know, someday, in some sport, a Seattle team not nicknamed "Storm" will get it all right, make all the right moves, catch all the lucky bounces, and do just enough to earn the honor of holding that Championship Trophy high over their heads as Queen songs blast through the stadium/arena, confetti showers the sweaty, teary, weary players, and our MVP is interviewed on national television by Joe Buck or Bob Costas (or, lord willing, a mutant hybrid: Bob Buck). Someday, I'll know what it's like to witness a winner.

In short, I Heart Delusions.