My forward inertia, weakened by time and poor short-term memory, relents and backward I go, as if some addiction-addled junkie. Someone should really put me out of my misery or at least attempt an intervention.
"Hi, my name's DZ, and... I'm a Wigan Athletic fan." **sobs openly**
Only while writing this do I realize the expected catharsis of openly stating my problem is instead serving to highlight and magnify it. My problem is... I'm a fan of demi-losers.
I've somewhat proudly decided to not become one of the scads and kaboodles of dullard bandwagoneers who grab the brightest sports team to follow with blind attraction. Nope. Not me. I take time to consider many variables and settle on what seems right for me. Apparently, I'm a borderline loser, annual fodder for the lower tiers.
In a few short weeks I'm sure I'll be kicking myself for not having bailed on my first Barclays Premier League team selection (the details of which are too pithy to describe here) - Wigan Athletic. Certainly they will have already disappointed me by losing at least two of the first three matches of the season. All of which they should be winning. Those first three are all of the recently promoted clubs from the lower nPower Championship division of the English Football Association.
You see, in the last 90 days of the previous season, my Wigan languished in the bottom three positions of the Barclays Premier League standings. Those lowest rungs, at the end of the season, are removed from the loftiest of the English Football Association ladder and sent down to what is the equivalent of the AAA in American baseball. The whole of the club and ownership takes a knock, and generally includes an associated self-loathing by players, fans, towns they represent, everything. 'Relegation' it's called and is a wonderfully maddening and enticing system where the bottom three of 20 clubs go down (including less income, less TV money, less ability to spend on payroll, etc.) and the top three from the next lower division come up (promotion) to test their mettle.
So as I stated, Wigan had been trod upon enough to be sitting near the foot of the table (standings) for most of the 2nd half of the season. Only by their near-miracle turnaround during May, did they scrape enough wins and draws to rise above and resuscitate their top-flight status. Before that, in February, realizing the unlikelihood of their task ahead, I had vowed to dump them after the season as they were certainly going down. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and they OF COURSE, on the last week of the season, scratch their way out of the hole and here I am, fresh with optimism, at the dawn of a new season, again drawn back to being their fan.
For the record I would totally support relegation/promotion in our American sports system. No more guaranteed anything, just win baybee. My Kansas City Royals would have been relegated 15 years ago, the Colts of Indy during my college days would have been geldings, and basketball 76ers of Philly would be right about where they are now. Nowhereville. Even blithe Cubs fans, amiably content with mediocrity, really have no idea how ugly it could be.
But forgiveness reigns and the love for my near-losers will soon return and Wigan will be right back in my thoughts again. I'll likely peruse the various online shops for some new Wigan gear. Possibly begin developing a canned speech to recant my previous hardline stance of February. Look for all the positives and optimism that a new season brings and say a little prayer for better times to come.
So here's wishing and hoping for a better season and perhaps the grim reaper of English Football doesn't appear quite so closely next spring. I don't think I can handle another season of near-loserdom.
Eh, now that I think about it, I said that last year also.
And the year before that too.
And the year before that too.