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Punch In The Gut

When you take a step back and consider the issue logically, the degree to which the fortunes of our teams can affect a true sports fan is almost inexplicable. Yet it is also undeniable. After all, the teams we choose to root for are not OUR teams in any meaningful sense. The relationships are all one way, and entirely voluntary (false fans hop from one bandwagon to another all the time). A loss by one of my teams does me no real harm; a victory does me no real good.

And yet, and yet... some of the greatest highs of my life have come courtesy of the New York Mets, the New York Giants, and (a long time ago, in an era far far away) the New York Jets. And losses by those same teams have been known to send me deep into the slough of despond. Truth be told, a really bad loss by one of my teams has been known to depress me far more than some of the times I've lost a Hugo, a Nebula, or an Emmy. I've learned to shrug off my own defeats in life... but when Big Blue or the Amazin's or Gang Green go down, well...

Thursday night was a punch in the gut. Yesterday afternoon was another.

A loss for the Jets, a loss for the Giants. But not just any losses. BAD losses. The kind that really hurt. My guys should have won both games.

The victories were right there for the taking. So close I could taste them. But no, instead I had to choke down bitter defeats. What's worse, both teams lost the games in THE SAME WAY, with truly inexplicable play-calling when the game was on the line. Deep inside the opponents' territory, the goal line just a few feet ahead, the clock running down... all the Jets needed to do, all the G-Men needed to do, was RUN RUN RUN the ball, wind down the clock, make the opponent burn his final timeouts, then kick the winning field goal or score the winning touchdown.

Instead both the Jets and Giants chose to pass, pass, pass. Incompletions stopped the clock. The Jets did not manage to score at all, the Giants settled for a FG and a lead but left too much time for Tom Brady.

I guess they couldn't hear me screaming at my TV set.

Life is miserable and full of pain.

(I am not feeling good about the chances of either team going forward. Some losses can be shrugged off, while others do more lasting damage, and can send the team into the tailspin for weeks. This week's losses, I fear, are of that sort. The Giants, in particular, are going to have a hard time getting over what happened yesterday).

((I am also seriously despondent about Victor Cruz needing another season-ending surgery. A great player, and one of my favorite Giants. I've been looking forward to seeing him and Odell Beckham Junior on the field at the same time for more than a year. Now it seems that may never happen. Really sucks. Cruz seems a good guy, and he deserved better. The football gods are cruel).

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( 60 comments )
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fossey19
Nov. 16th, 2015 09:53 pm (UTC)
The Giants played a great game. While I am happy the Pats won, that one truly was thrilling to watch and could have gone either way.
Danger_Zones
Nov. 16th, 2015 09:54 pm (UTC)
Those rumors of the Triarch Belicho being eaten by Giants may have been premature...

I'd have a LOT more sympathy for my favorite author if he hadn't trolled me about one of the most painful moment(s) of my life.. in my favorite series ever ;) #conflicted
chris_warrior
Nov. 16th, 2015 09:54 pm (UTC)
after listening to the game on the radio as my boyfriend and i drove back to Maine from an event in Massachusetts, i turned to him and said "This could set Winds of Winter back another couple weeks. It's probably killing George to listen to this."

he's a heartless Pats fan, though.

(as a transplanted Syracusan, i have less of an affinity for the Pats.)
Tyler Tagliaferro
Nov. 16th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
It could be worse....
It could be worse George, you could be a Browns fan...
Megan Bowers
Nov. 17th, 2015 01:56 am (UTC)
Re: It could be worse....
As a Browns fan, I unfortunately agree...
RE: Re: It could be worse.... - April Hill - Nov. 17th, 2015 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
boomkrashhh
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain but possibly worse.
I'm a Saints fan. In Australia.
Which means I get up at 3 or 4am to watch my bipolar team and never know what to expect.
Best a rampaging 6-0 Atlanta team? Check.
Lose to the Tennessee Titans with a new coach and rookie QB at home?
Check.
It's a very stressful way to start the week.
Not sure which is more deflating...The blow-out losses or the close ones (or the Patriots).
cyborgturkey
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:17 pm (UTC)
NFC East
From a detached observer's perspective, I don't think you need to worry about the Giants. They're the cream of the NFC East crop no matter how badly they broke your heart yesterday.

My pathetic Lions beat the Packers at Lambeau for the first time since 1991, but tried so desperately to give the game away at the end that it felt less like a victory and more like a stayed execution. The Lions have sucked so badly, for so long, that even a win doesn't feel good anymore.
Duane Freese
Nov. 17th, 2015 03:50 am (UTC)
Re: NFC East
But the Lambeau curse has been lifted. Now, about the Layne curse ... it's worse than the one delivered to Cersei.
RE: NFC East - Caroline Rouleau - Nov. 17th, 2015 12:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
den_down_unda
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:19 pm (UTC)
Not true, at least in the Giants' case. When the Giants got the last first down, there was 2:06 left and the Pats had a timeout. If the Giants had run three times and failed to score, the Pats would have had about a minute left (Clock stops at 2:00, clock stops around 1:55, play + clock gets down to about 1:10, kicking the FG takes about 5-10 sec, and clock doesn't run on the kickoff if there's a touchback).

If the Pats had started with a minute left, they pretty obviously would have run the last drive differently. The biggest problem was lack of execution (Beckham and Landon Collins not holding on to the ball).
grrm
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:35 pm (UTC)
Of course, running three times might well have produced a TD.

And giving Brady thirty second less is not to be sneered at.
(no subject) - Benjamin Davis - Nov. 17th, 2015 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - den_down_unda - Nov. 17th, 2015 11:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jets and Kap - Nick P - Nov. 18th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
manon_p
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC)
... The title
Hello George,
I thought you were going to talk about the recent events in Paris with this title.
I know that you are far away and no arm is meant but the title and the content is a bit, hum, i don't know...
Anyway, greatings from France and thank you for all your work ! Love it! Good Literrature in these dark times is most welcome and sure does help minds to evade and grow!
Cheers
Manon
grrm
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: ... The title
The events in Paris are a thousand times worse than a mere punch in the gut.
RE: Re: ... The title - manon_p - Nov. 16th, 2015 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
drkstrststphn
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:38 pm (UTC)
Punch in the gut
Mr. Martin, I feel your pain. I have often wondered why I let the win or loss of a football game affect me so. How is this healthy? And where does this come from? I remember when your NY Giants beat my beloved Pats in the 2007 Superbowl, ruining our (see how I use the possessive to describe something I have absolutely no ownership or control of?) bid for a perfect 19-0 record. Talk about painful! That night I woke up several times in a state of dread and panic. For the following six months I couldn't bear to read a newspaper sport section or sports magazine, or watch any sporting event, live or on tv, or watch any sports news shows. Not just football, any sport. I barely tuned into the following NFL season, it just didn't seem worth it. And I still haven't fully recovered from Billy Buckner's between the legs error to lose the '86 World Series. So as a sports fan I can commiserate with your suffering. But, having said all that, boy did it feel good to win that game yesterday!
grrm
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Punch in the gut
The irony being the two events that sent you into such a funk are two of the greatest memories of my life.

I was at game six in '86, with great seats, close enough to see the seams on the ball as it rolled between Buckner's legs. A moment of ecstacy like few I have ever experienced.
Re: Punch in the gut - Barry Schwartz - Nov. 16th, 2015 11:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Vince Pella
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:48 pm (UTC)
COLLAPSE
I can empathize; I'm a lifelong Seahawks fan.

Dashed hopes are like candy to the football gods.
boomkrashhh
Nov. 16th, 2015 11:51 pm (UTC)
RE: COLLAPSE
But you've been to the last two Superbowls!
Admittedly that goal line pick by Butler would have hurrrt though.
RE: COLLAPSE - Vince Pella - Nov. 17th, 2015 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: COLLAPSE - Vince Pella - Nov. 17th, 2015 03:41 am (UTC) - Expand
harryberger89
Nov. 16th, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)
nfl: Could be worse
Could always be worse. You're favorite NFL team (Eagles) could have lost to the lowly Miami Dolphins on your Birthday. :(
Bob Bunton
Nov. 16th, 2015 11:10 pm (UTC)
Writing while depressed
As a fan of an infuriating team (the Dolphins), I know exactly what you mean. People mock me all the time for taking their losses so seriously, but I can't help it.

A friend and I developed a theory that many of the darker events you write line up with depressing performances by the Jets (ie the Red Wedding kind of lines up with Testaverde rupturing his Achilles, but then the Mets won the NLDS so you celebrated with a Purple Wedding). Needless to say we are terrified of what you wrote on November 22, 2012.
redkite91
Nov. 16th, 2015 11:32 pm (UTC)
Mr Martin,

Try being a fan of the Scottish International soccer team.

It hurts.

Joshua Murphy
Nov. 16th, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
Ooooo 49ers fan
The goal-line fumble by Roger Craig that sent your STUPID ny football giants to the STUPID bowl.... (Great game marred by that STUPID wide right)! And then Kyle Williams 2 muffed punts and Alex Smith 1 of 13 on third down?!?? I hate the Giants they're STUPID!

(Love your work though, keep it up)!!

Cheers!!!
Kevin Cassano
Nov. 17th, 2015 12:26 am (UTC)
Cassano
Dude...try being a Philly fan 😂🔫
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