Sports indifference is the healthier choice

By Mark Nagi

I wasn’t going to write an article this week.  I’ve been busy with work and family, and frankly, I didn’t know if I had the mental bandwidth to type out a few hundred words.

But then I got back to the palatial Nagi estates in the Mean Streets of Farragut and had an idea.  An epiphany if you will. Maybe it’s a new way to live my life.

The answer… might be to be indifferent towards our sports teams.

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Many years ago, I remember Phillip Fulmer saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, that the losing feels worse than the winning feels good. And he could not have been more correct.

My Dallas Cowboys haven’t won anything of note since the mid-1990s. I go into every season knowing that come playoff time they will underachieve.  I’m satisfied knowing that they’ve won Super Bowls in my lifetime, but I don’t expect to ever see another one. It doesn’t mean that I don’t watch them and root for them, but I don’t expect good things to happen. Jerry Jones has destroyed that franchise when it comes to winning big games.

In English Premier League soccer, Tottenham Hotspur hasn’t won a trophy of any kind since 2008.  I’ve been a fan since seeing a game in person in London back in 1999. I’m hopeful that someday they’ll win the league, or the Carabao Cup or the FA Cup, or a European competition… but I don’t expect it.

The New York Yankees have 27 World Series, but nothing in 15 years.  Tennessee hasn’t won a national title or an SEC title in football since 1998. Tennessee’s men’s basketball team has never been to a Final Four. Do you get what I’m saying here? All my teams (and yours too) have had way more down times than good memories.

Which leads me to the New York Rangers.  They are my favorite team in any sport and have been for decades.  I have seen them play in Ottawa, Philadelphia, Nashville, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Washington DC, Toronto… and of course at Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan.

They are an “Original 6” franchise and have won four Stanley Cups, but only one of those has come in the last 84 years. The 1994 New York Rangers are my favorite team of all time in any sport because they broke a 54 year curse.

Since then, the Rangers have been to the Stanley Cup Final only once, coming back in 2014. To this day I won’t watch highlights from their loss to the Los Angeles Kings. It hurts too much.

OK I’ve gone over 425 words to get to this point, bearing my soul for you, the reader.  Last Thursday night the Rangers played Carolina in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was Game 6, and the Rangers were in danger of blowing a 3-0 series lead.

They trailed 3-1 in the third period and looked awful. At that moment, I had a sense of peace. This is only a game.  If the Rangers lost, life would go on.

But then Chris Kreider scored 3 straight goals in that third period for New York, a natural hat trick.  I let out a scream after the tying goal that made Bailey (my energetic double doodle) go into the other room. The Rangers added an empty netter, won the game 5-3, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years.

If the Rangers win two more series, and hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, I will be ecstatic. But if they lose, I will be devastated. And the pain of losing will feel worse than the joy of winning.

But I’m all in now.  This is the life I chose.

Keep good thoughts for me.