Sunday, June 28, 2009

We are the Nearly Men

Nearly men, the ones that ALMOST made it big, the ones that ALMOST got carried around the village square on the shoulders of their fans, the ones that ALMOST got that ticker tape parade in New York City. It seems I am a fan of nearly men, possessing a unerring ability to pick them out, and hitch my wagon to their almost star. The nearly men I speak of are, of course, sports teams. Hope you did not think this post was going to be some deep political, or philosophical discourse on the nature of ubermen. I have already chronicled my sad love affair with the Minnesota Vikings, and the four super bowls they have lost in my life time. This does not include their other near-misses going to two NFC championship games in the last decade or so, and losing. Once again nearly men. Then there are my soccer clubs. The picture on this post is of my latest "nearly men" the Swedish Under 21 team that just lost the semi-finals of the European Championship to perfidious Albion on penalty kicks. The fellow with his head in his hands is Guillmero Molins, and the reason he is on his knees in despair is because he just clanged his penalty shot off the post, thus ensuring that the douche bag keeper's team, i.e. England, get to play in the final. I know it is odd for a full blooded American to be a fan of the Swedish football (soccer) team, but I never claimed to be normal. I have been a of Swedish soccer since their senior side were nearly men in the 1994 World Cup. Finishing third after losing to those samba bastards Brazil. Beginning my love affair with Swedish soccer in general, and Henrik Larsson in particular. Even before I was born (many, many moons ago) they were nearly men in 1958, losing in the final to those bastards Brazil and Pele 5-2. Seems Brazil just has my number. Even the women's soccer team managed somehow to lost the World Cup final to the stinking Germans in 2003 2-1, after leading 1-0. Then there is my EPL team, Arsenal. The team that has the most 2nd place finishes in the Premier league since its inception in 1992 (5). Granted I have not been a fan of Arsenal all my life but they have one exactly one thing in the years I have. Even managing to lose in the Champion League final in 2006 to Barcelona and my favourite player Larsson. Nothing like watching your favourite player rip the heart out of your favourite team on a big screen TV. Of course the Swedish hockey team has been nearly men a few times as well losing in the Under 21 finals to Canada in 2008. Though they did to be fair win the gold medal and the European Championship in 2006. The only team that I support that has climbed to the top of the mountain is the North Carolina men's basketball team. Winning the title 4 times in my lifetime (1982, 1993, 2005, and 2009). Of course they have made the Final Four 13 times in that time. So four out of thirteen not the best odds in the world, but at least they won something. Maybe this is some sort of character flaw of mine, or maybe I just like a bunch of fucking losers. All these nearly men moments leave me a bit like M. Molins up there, head in hands despair coursing through my soul, and the realization that we were THAT close. I guess at I should be encouraged that at least my teams are there at the end. I mean losing the FINAL, while gutting, does mean that you were in the final to begin with. It could be much worse I could be a Cubs fan or a Tottenham fan (shiver).

No comments: