Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Perils of Parity

The accolades for Stoney Brook and Kent State rolled in. From conference friends and foes to rivals of Miami, LSU, Purdue, Oregon, and the rest of the College World Series field.

A modern day Cinderella is still a sight to behold. We love the enthusiasm, joy, and passion for which they play the game - seeing them go farther than even their dreams would allow.

And we hope midnight never comes.

But like every love story, someone will be disappointed. Only the bride lives happily ever after. We forget about all the other girls who have one less friend who understands their struggle.

So amidst the celebration is a slight tinge of jealousy. We look at Cinderella and tell ourselves we are prettier than her, dress better, bring more to the table, and have a better lineage.

And we promise ourselves the next great love story will be our own. I mean, if she can do it, so can we.

And it seems the reality of sport is like the unmarried side of a love story. We celebrate Cinderella, cheer for them, and hope they take down the favorite. And amidst that celebration is a tinge of jealousy.

We tell ourselves we have better coaches, players, facilities, and fans. We have a great history and even better future and there is no reason the next sport celebration shouldn't be about us.

And the expectations rise. The barometer of success changes. What was formerly a good season now becomes failure. Fans begin losing interest and improvements can't come fast enough.

To expedite the process, facilities are improved and coaches are hired and fired.

The result?

Next year, when college baseball starts, every small school will look to Stoney Brook and Kent State and say that could be us. And every large school will say that better be us.

And this fall, when the college basketball season starts, every small school will look to Butler, VCU, & George Mason and say that could be us. And every large school will say that better be us.

And this fall, when NHL teams return to training camp, every team will look to the LA Kings, the 8th seed, and say that could be us.

And as the dog days of summer continue, every major league baseball team is looking to the St. Louis Cardinals, telling themselves that could be us.

And this summer, as freshman report for college football, every team...

Well, at least there is still one dance where Cinderella is not invited.

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