Real sports fans know the unique pain of rooting for a losing team

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN


Sarah Maninger, Associate Editor

I’ve been rocking Dodger blue since I was a baby. Dodger shirts were the only fashion statement I cared to make. Donning the hats made me feel far less insecure about my above average sized head. When I was eight, I committed myself to learn what the standings and stats meant. It’s when I fell in love with baseball.

Over the past decade, the Dodgers have been nothing short of extraordinary. They win games in grand, and dramatic fashion. They are that HBO drama that you think you can stop watching, but keep telling yourself “one more episode.” They are everything you could ever want in a baseball team.

Well, okay, maybe not everything.

It’s no secret that the past two seasons have ended in defeat for the Dodgers. After making it to the World Series for the first time in 29 years October 2017, LA fell to the Houston Astros in a decisive Game seven. Very few moments in sports hurt as much as a Game seven loss.

Even now, I’m not over it. I doubt I ever will be and if I say I am, I’m probably lying.

But hey, there’s always next year, right?

Being a truly dedicated sports fan is not easy. We spend years investing time, money and faith hoping that our precious team, that we are willing to defend with every ounce of our being, wins it all. We put our hearts on the line hoping they won’t break and when they do, we pull ourselves back together and do it all again.

When next year arrived, it brought hope, a newfound faith in the team I’ve always loved, and a turbulent path to the postseason. 2018 was not filled with walk-off wins and dominant pitching performances like the season before. 2018 brought another Kershaw back injury. It brought long, summer days that made the postseason feel further away than it ever had. 2018 felt like the 85-win seasons I witnessed when I was a kid.

After winning a one-game playoff against the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers played some of their best baseball of the season against the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers and found themselves on baseball’s biggest stage once again, this time against the Boston Red Sox.

The Dodgers, my Dodgers, were on their way to winning the Series.

But, alas, it was not meant to be. There I sat on my couch, helpless and hopeless, as my team lost the World Series again.

So, why do we, as sports fans, do this to ourselves? I can’t speak for all those broken-hearted Dodger fans out there, but I do it because I would rather see the Dodgers lose than not see them play at all. I do it because I remember those days when I was eight, sitting in the reserve level at Dodger Stadium. I remember how I felt when the Dodgers finally won the pennant. I remember when Justin Turner hit a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the 2017 National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, on the 29-year anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s world famous homer in the 1988 World Series.

It hasn’t been easy to be a Dodger fan these past few years, but things are not the worst they have ever been and I have to believe, for my own sanity, that the victorious days the team’s fans have longed for for over three decades are still ahead.

I don’t root for the Dodgers in spite of their consecutive World Series losses, I root for them because of it.