[Business Day One] Winning and Losing


On Saturday night, the Boston College men’s hockey team beat Notre Dame to capture the national championship.  As an alumni, obsessed fan and former mascot, this pleases me greatly.  But I wasn’t as absolutely thrilled as I thought I’d be.  For the past two years, the BC team had their season ended with a championship game loss.  Accordingly, for the past two years, I was crushed.  Just flat out crushed.  Hockey is our sport.  We own hockey.  Yes, BC has a perennial Top 25 football team and a basketball team that makes the tournament most years, but hockey is our thing.  We pull the best recruits in and usually win three times as many games as we lose.  And so getting to the finals of the Frozen Four and losing is agony.

And that got me thinking.  When you love a team, losing hurts far more than winning heals.  When the Yankees won the World Series a few times in the 90s, I was thrilled each time.  But since, each early playoff exit hurts me like having an old wound throb.  When they won, I celebrated for a nighta and woke up the next day feeling good.  But when they lost, I was out of commission for a whole weekend.  It seems hardly fair.  Why is the human mind so geared towards wallowing in heartache and so ill-prepared for good fortune?

I was focusing on this so much that the taste of victory started losing its zest.  I began to dwell on how bad it would’ve been to lose.  If Notre Dame beat us, it would’ve been entirely unacceptable to BC diehards.  They would be calling for Coach Jerry York’s head.  Their message boards would be alive with lamentations over the end of hockey dominance in Chestnut Hill.  I began feeling as if I had just survived a plane crash instead of feeling like I witnessed my alma mater win a championship.

What a terrible way to live.  Happiness is fleeting and the default mode of the sports fan is crushing disappointment.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I wish I had an answer but I don’t.  Though I suppose it beats staying home alone.