from Nick Suss
June 16, 2014, 11:49 p.m.
There are just some songs that make me feel the feels. I am somewhat ashamed to admit what most of them are. While I outwardly claim that only one song makes me cry, I’ve been known to get misty eyed because of some cheesy pop songs. I remember one time I was driving home from football practice my senior year of high school and If I Die Young came on. I’ve never gotten bigger chills than that. But I digress. I mean to talk about one song in particular from last summer that pretty much sums up this summer in sports to me: Cups.
I never did see that movie, I think it comes from the movie Pitch Perfect. (I wouldn’t know, I didn’t see the movie.) But that chorus was just infectiously sentimental. That line. You’re going to miss me when I’m gone. There’s something everyone on this planet can relate to when they hear that line. But I think about the title when I hear that line. Cups.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows three things about me: I watch a lot of TV, I like puns and I out of nowhere seem to have become a hockey and soccer fan. And it’s true. It really was out of nowhere. I decided to watch hockey. I decided to watch soccer. And I’ve gotten into it. Hockey a little more so than soccer, but still. I’ve come to enjoy both of these sports out of the blue. Four years ago I enjoyed soccer some. Three years ago I was a pretty big hockey fan. But this year I just decided to pick them up. Why, you ask? Cups.
These cups, both World and Stanley, are classic examples of the basis of fairweather-dom. And while we in the sports community have grown to think of the word fairweather as inherently negative, sometimes it isn’t a bad idea. There are more rules to being a sports fan than there are to being able to vote. Some people say you have to root for your city. Some people say you can only root for one team per sport. Some people say you can really only love one team. I have my opinions. You have yours. But the fact of the matter is, both Lord Stanley’s Cup and the World’s Cup share this in common: they have extrinsic appeals to the convert.
Some people say that sports are a religion. As someone afraid of blaspheming, I’m embarrassed to admit that this is kind of true. But why can’t we be sports agnostics every once and a while? Why do we have to enjoy sports along the line of allegiances? Here’s my two cents. The reason I drifted away from hockey was that I didn’t have a favorite team. I thought I had a favorite team, but I really didn’t, I just had a team I liked to say was my favorite because the explanation sort of made sense. So I stopped liking the sport because I thought I didn’t have an invested interest. But then this year I came to understand what my invested interest was: the sport of hockey itself. Can’t I just watch for the plot without becoming invested in the characters?
And by extension, can’t I allow myself to enjoy soccer once every few years without being chastised by the “real fans?” If someone just watches the Super Bowl or picks up the world’s real most beautiful game during the World Series, I don’t ridicule them for being bandwagon fans. So why should I be guilted for picking up a sport when it is at its most popular. My opinion isn’t symptomatic of the grand demise of the sport of soccer in the United States. It’s cups.
You’re going to miss me when I’m gone. That’s pretty much all the Stanley Cup and World Cup do. They teach you how to miss what you never thought you could. I have my two favorite teams in the world. No one is ever going to take my childlike love of the Titans and the Yankees away from me. I will follow those teams to the end and back. But soccer? Or hockey? They live to be gone. They live for me to want them to come back. Because the NHL Playoffs is potentially the most exciting postseason in all of sports. Because the World Cup might be the greatest international competition the world has ever seen. Because I don’t feel a need to try to keep track of what happened in Madrid or on who got called up from the AHL. I just want to watch the sport and not feel bad about it. I just want to miss it when it’s gone.