My friend Mike in Sydney, Australia, took me to see my first Cricket Test a few months ago. When the Aussie Prime Minister arrived in motorcade and joined the crowd, Mike turned to me and said: "He's a cricket tragic." He used the word ‘tragic' in a whole new sense for me and yet I immediately understood. Prime Minister John Howard would turn away from the most intense government affairs if there was cricket to watch.
Tragic: not sad, but consumed. Tragic as noun, not adjective; it could even be a verb. Brilliant.
We expect that there are a lot of tragics here in FanNation with more to come and welcome to all. As for me, you may already know that I'm a tragic for the New York Giants. It's not just whether they win or lose; it's that they play the game. Let me see that Giants blue, that cute little "ny" in lower case letters and I'm gone. Getting whipped by the Saints like the GMen did on Christmas Eve shakes the foundation but I remain a Giant Tragic (and sometimes a giant tragic). They are, after all, my Big Blue Team of Destiny.
Mike's a tragic; his siren call is cricket, his bookshelves lined with the Wisden Cricketers Almanack going back more than 140 years. And this week he's excited about the Ashes Test coming to Sydney the first week of January even though his favored Aussies have already clinched the trophy with three victories in Tests against rival England. We talked the other night and he was tragically excited because the Sydney Test could wrap up a 5-0 rout and he's planning a week at the Sydney Cricket Grounds to cheer the Aussies on.
You may be a bigger tragic than Mike and me, but we count. My greatest day as a sports tragic? The Giants win the Super Bowl? (Twice, by the way, all you Eagles fans.) Those days were pretty good, but not the best. The best was late summer several years past. My family had tickets for the US Open tennis, a great way to spend (emphasize spend) a day. As the matches wound down we got ready to head for our car in the Shea Stadium parking lot nearby. The Mets and the Padres were about to start a twilight double-header, tickets were available, a long ride home in the traffic of a summer Friday beckoned. Those were the Mets of the young Darryl Strawberry and the very young Dwight Gooden, a team we loved to watch as they learned to win.
We looked at one another--wife, two daughters and me--and all immediately agreed that two Major League baseball games would fill the day out just right. So we got our tickets, bought some hot dogs and saw two ball games to top off our tennis. More than 12 hours after we began, we left satisfied and connected. To this day the four of us talk about that day. We didn't know it then but I understand now, that when we left the ballpark we had the tag of "Tragic" tattooed upon us.
So here's a call to all tragics in the Nation. Tell us your favorite story of being a sports tragic. We've started a group with its own blog, the FanNation Tragics Group and the FanNation Tragic Group Blog. You can tell your story in a comment on this post or on the Group Message board or blog it on your blog and let the group know about it on the message board.
Have you missed a friend's wedding for a ball game? Have you missed your own? What about the birth of a child? A graduation? A date with a beautiful woman (or handsome man)?
Did you take a TV to a friend's wedding to watch a NY Rangers playoff game? Did the bride throw you out? That was not me, but I witnessed it and the evictee wound up making his living in hockey and that friendship not surprisingly barely survived the night. Being a tragic should not be a tragedy at all.
Of course there are fans who may take the devotion to team and game a bit too far. A study done recently by a group of emergency room doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore showed that men often delay emergency treatment if there's a game of interest on the tube. So let's make sure we care for our health as well as our teams. I suspect women are too smart to have such a problem.
By the way, when Mike's son married my daughter the timing was perfect: no cricket, no Giants game. Lucky.