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Dealing With Disappointment

from Bill Simmons of Grantland,

After New Jersey scored a stunning go-ahead goal with under five minutes to play, the crowd reacted like Don Draper and the fellas during last weekend’s office surprise on Mad Men. Nobody handled it worse than my daughter. She almost started crying right then. I vainly attempted the whole “There’s still time, you have to think good thoughts” parental routine. The clock kept ticking. The Kings took a dumb penalty. Tears started forming. I talked her off the ledge, rubbed her shoulders, did whatever I could to prevent a meltdown. With 50 seconds remaining, the Kings pulled Quick and almost immediately yielded an empty-netter. Time to get her out of there. Fast. We zoomed up the aisle as she buried her face in one of those annoying white towels that everyone waves now. She kept it together until we reached our car. And then, waterworks.

Remember that scene when Forrest Gump finds out about his son, digests the news, then worries that the boy is just as stupid as he is? For two terrible seconds, he’s thinking to himself, Oh, no, I hope I didn’t ruin this kid. That’s how I felt when I watched my daughter sobbing. Why did I do this to her? Why would I pull her into this fan vortex where you’re probably going to end up unhappy more than happy?

Then I remembered something. Sports is a metaphor for life. Everything is black and white on the surface. You win, you lose, you laugh, you cry, you cheer, you boo, and most of all, you care.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Guilherme's avatar

And Simmons’ girl just gave me a reason to root for the Kings.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 06/08/12 at 06:36 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

This article reminds me of the 2008 Finals when we (that’s right, we) won the Cup. When Pittsburgh scored that goal to make it 3-2, I punched a hole in the wall in my den, even though we ended up winning.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 06/08/12 at 06:45 PM ET

gowings's avatar

This was a great article..my father read it an called me (he is a Canadian fan, but I was always a Detroit fan)  reminiscing of the good days when my dad had to stop my tears and reminding me it’s just a game (at 68 he still gets pretty upset when his team loses…all the while pretending he doesn’t care) . I even remember that we signed an “agreement” that he had to support completely my team unless we were facing each other….we had to watch games in different rooms LOL

Posted by gowings from MTL on 06/08/12 at 08:08 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I came here specifically hoping to see this article.

It amuses me to no end that Simmons’ little girl became a hockey fan, and that it frustrates him because it’s not basketball, and furthermore that she’s a Kings and Clippers fan.

It’s a good article though about fandom.  I remember the Wings losing Game 3 of the 95 Finals on my birthday—the only time the Finals have ever been played that late (thanks to the abbreviated season).  The only time they play on my birthday… my team is in it… and they lose en route to a sweep.

Wings fans remember the Cups… but we also remember, the 95 Trap Series, the Stomach Punch Game, The Accident, the Collapse on the Bench, losing Game 7 to the Pens…  those moments of sheer despair and sorrow make the former moments that much better.  And if the latter don’t get to you and bother you, you’re not a real fan.

Posted by Primis on 06/08/12 at 08:56 PM ET


And if the latter don’t get to you and bother you, you’re not a real fan.

Yeah, but everything the team does bothers you, so does that make you a real fan?

Posted by Garth on 06/08/12 at 09:04 PM ET


Awesome article.  Something every sports fan can relate to.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/09/12 at 09:05 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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