This was a tough weekend for sports fans in Wisconsin. The UW Badgers found a way to turn a win against Ohio State into a loss. The Packers stumbled and bumbled their way to a loss against the Falcons. And the Brewers wimpy hitting finally brought an end to their season against the Phillies.
The Badgers weren’t much of a surprise losing to Ohio State. After their monumental collapse last week against Michigan, I had little hope that they would even be competitive against the Buckeyes. That they made it a game, and even had the lead late in the fourth quarter, was a victory of sorts. Just not the kind of victory that counts in the official record. The Badgers are pretty much out of the hunt for the Big Ten conference title and will be relegated to another minor bowl game this year if they can put together a few more wins. This season that is not a given. But at least the pressure and anxiety I always feel at game time will be lessoned now that they are pretty much out of it. And we will still go to the homecoming game and cheer like fools and enjoy the college football atmosphere once again.
The Packers, in this first post Favre season, started off winning their first two games, giving hope to us all that the team would roll along unscathed by the turmoil of separation anxiety that the Favre fiasco created last summer. But, alas, they have come crashing down to the level of also-rans now that the reality of the season has arrived. While they look good on paper, they still have to play the games and there’s the rub. The Pack has demonstrated a decided lack of talent on the field despite the lofty expectations. It looks like the beginning to another long draught of winning much like we suffered through back in the 70’s and 80’s. I hate being so pessimistic about their prospects, but I just don’t see them winning a lot with the team as it is now. The one good thing about their descent into mediocrity is that my blood pressure will stay normal on Sunday afternoons and my television will suffer fewer bruises during the season now that my expectations for them are so much lower.
That the Brewers were in over their heads in the playoffs was evident from the start. Why the fans around these parts got so excited about their making the playoffs as the wild card team was lost on me. I’ve always considered the wild card team in the playoffs like the little brother who is allowed to play with the big boys just because they needed someone to fill out the roster. The little brother is never expected to play well or certainly not win anything. He’s just there to take up space and even out the sides. The Brewers filled that role quite well. The one consolation in their brief playoff appearance was that they had a better playoff record this year than the division winning Cubs had. The Cubs were swept out of the playoffs in three games against the Dodgers while the brewers managed to win one game against the Philllies. So the Brewers at least have the bragging rights within the division until next year.
Why all this emphasis on sports? It is pretty obvious that we need some healthy diversion from the avalanche of problems besetting us nowadays. The economy, the war, the health care crisis, and the onslaught of the presidential political campaign with its posturing, voting record misrepresentations, innuendos, perceived insults, and outright lies all weigh us down to the point where any diversion is welcome, even if that diversion is a losing sports team. At least with sports there is always another game, another season to look forward to. Redemption is just as close as the next game. I’m not so sure that the same thing applies to politics and those who operate in that arena. It seems that there is a never-ending losing season in pollitics. Where is the redemption? Where is the winning?