By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It didn’t take long to hear the phrase that I’ve heard too many times over the last decade or two in Philadelphia.
“Another year with no championship.”
The Philadelphia pity party is too much for me to take. It’s reached epic proportions, and has a negative effect on how we enjoy sports in this town.
This time it was in reference to the Sixers, whose season ended without a ring when they lost in game 7 to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. I’m not sure anyone saw this season ending any differently (in terms of rings), but there it was anyway. I don’t want to remember this season, that way. Not yet anyway. We had the win against the Lakers, Iguodala’s free throws against the Bulls, the comeback against the Celtics during an improbable playoff run. We had good times.
Some of the greatest moments in sports that I’ve ever witnessed had nothing to do with winning championships. Roy Halladay’s no-hitter against the Reds, the Miracle In The Meadowlands I and II, McNabb to Mitchell for 4th and 26, the Flyers comeback from down three games to nothing against the Bruins, and the Lou Williams Easter miracle three-pointer against the Heat are just a few of many. It’s hard to compare them to how championships feel (I guess because I don’t have a ton of experience feeling them), but in the moment, all of them felt pretty unbelievable.
But the joy we experienced in those moments seems to pale in comparison, at least in volume, to the desperation we talk about when we mention wanting more championships. They sit in a “pretty good, but not good enough,” file in our brains. I’m not sure if it’s always been this way, but it feels more pronounced than ever, and for lack of a better phrase, it’s kind of a bummer. We’re so busy feeling sorry for ourselves that we’ve lost a lot of the joy.
Instead of treating things for what they are, we worry more about what they’re not. I’m telling you, that’s no way to go through life.
I know that the ultimate goal in sports is to win a championship. But I don’t believe that taking pride in achievements that fall below that high water mark are the sign of a loser’s mentality. I do believe they are a sign of a happier person’s mentality. Sports are meant to be fun, and it’s time that we remembered that.
Sports is about moments. Whether it’s a championship or otherwise, they’re still just moments in time, and they’re always fleeting. It’s up to us to preserve their memory, and give them the respect they deserve.