Every hardcore sports fan has done it at least one time. No matter how willing they are to admit it, no matter the reason why they did it, no matter the age...if you love sports, you've done it at least once.
Every sports fan has shed a tear over a game.
Far be it from me to say the great Jimmy Dugan was wrong, but a young Ed was in fact "crying about baseball." Its a moment I can point to anytime I think about the beginning of my sports fanhood, where at that moment I can remember my life changing. Putting up posters on my wall, buying baseball cards, falling asleep to ESPN, and having grown man conversations as a little boy with the old men in my family.
It was the 1991 World Series between my Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins, and a little 8-year old boy from Oklahoma began a kickin' and a cussin' and a yellin' and a cryin' over a damn baseball game.
There's only a few things that drives someone to cry over a game, one is positive and one is negative. The positive is a simple one, your fandom for your favorite team/player has finally reached the promised land and the success that is achieved can seem overwhelming. I remember hearing stories about old men in Boston weeping openly (think about the times you've seen old men cry, that does something to you) when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. 86 years without a 'ship? That old man can do whatever he so chooses.
The other reason that drives someone to cry over sports is all negative, because obviously...your favorite team/player has lost. Not only losing, but the amount of adversity that has been faced in the journey to getting "there" seems mountainous. Moreover, being a fan and seeing said defeat with an emotional investment usually becomes rooted in one significant point in time. An error, an injury, a player, or a bad call.
The 1991 World Series between the AL Champion Minnesota Twins and the NL Champion Atlanta Braves had all of the above.
You want to talk about feeling the 5 stages of grief in about 5 seconds, in Game 2, witnessing Kent Hrbek essentially hit Ron Gant with a flying lariat (clothesline) off first base and tagging him out in the process was maddening. You bring up the name Kent Hrbek to any Braves fan and prepare for a sneer to come up.
In Game 6, Kirby Puckett single-handedly leaping 237 feet in the air to rob Ron Gant (again) with a game-saving catch that was destined to go over the plexi-glass wall in the outfield. Destiny had been stolen by this pudgy outfielder, now the husky brute would step up to the plate and send it to game 7...
...and we'll see you, tomorrow night.
I cringe literally every time I hear it.
Finally, watching my childhood hero John Smoltz get out-dueled by a 37-year old future hall-of-famer in Jack Morris, who pitched a 10-inning shutout in a Game 7 1-0 defeat, with bench warmer Gene Larkin hitting a...sacrifice fly...to score in Dan Gladden, felt like Mike Tyson was repeatedly punching me in the gut. We were supposed to be the team of destiny. From worst to first. A team filled with talent, a pitching staff (Smoltz, Glavine, Avery) of the ages, and young hitters (Justice, Gant) who were poised to become stars, the team of destiny was left unfulfilled on their question.
So yep, a young Ed cried that night. I still hate the Minnesota Twins. I still hate Kirby Puckett (RIP). I still hate Jack Morris. And in the words of James Harrison, if I saw Kent Hrbek on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it.
I could probably go into even more detail about this series, but hell I might shed another tear. However, that's the point of this article. It tugs at the emotional heart strings, I can see these moments crystal-clear in my mind and its tough for me to even write this. Call this therapy if you will.
WHAT SPORTS MOMENT MADE YOU SHED A TEAR? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS!