Since SB’s theme week is about sports moments that made you sad, I thought I’d ask ‘what was the first sports moment that you remember making you sad’? What was that first moment that taught you that sports wasn’t always something that made you happy.
When I was young my dad hated the Montreal Canadians. Absolutely hated. Way beyond the hatred you should have for a sports team. I think I hate the Yankees but it is nothing compared to my dad and the Canadians. So, of course, my brother and I picked the Canadians as our team.
It was a little more complicated than that, when I was young the Canadians always won so I figured I could cheer for them or be sad. Being a Canadians’ fan meant you got to watch them win the Stanley Cup each year (and kids like front-runners). Being a Leafs fan, especially back in those days, meant you’d be developing a drinking problem at a young age.
So hockey never really made me sad when I was young.
Baseball, I liked the Expos, they were generally a good, but not great team when I was young. They never could get past that ‘good’ level. And the Blue Jays were a new expansion team and I didn’t expect winning from them.
Then came 1981. A strange strike shortened season. The Expos finally made the playoffs. And they got through the first round beating the Phillies, who had a pretty good team, with Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, along with Pete Rose and some other very good players.
Then came the Dodgers and the series went to a deciding game five. A tight game that was 1-1 until the ninth inning. Ray Burris pitched 8 great innings but Fernando Valenzuela matched him.
Then came the ninth. Our closer Jeff Reardon was suffering from a sore back and couldn’t pitch so Steve Rogers, who had started game and finished game 3, came in and I could tell right away that he didn’t have anything. He got 2 outs, the second a fly ball to the track and I was yelling at the TV to take him out. They didn’t. And Rick Monday hit a home run.
In the bottom of the inning, Gary Carter and Larry Parrish each walked, giving me hope but we didn’t score and it was sad.
It is the first time I remember thinking that sports could make me sad.
Of course, being a Expos, then Blue Jays fan, it wasn’t the last time.
Tell us the story of the first time that you realized that sports could make you sad.