Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Others. by Chuck Araneta

A loyal fan braces for the painful end of Chicago's season and the hopeful start of another Alaska campaign.

By Chuck Araneta (@chuck_araneta)

As B-Meg fans celebrated their PBA championship by tweeting, texting, crying and writing emotional articles (I see you, @carlo_pamintuan), I had a different sports experience on that Sunday night.

As everyone went to sleep with dreams of Bowles of Steel, Cap’s tears of joy and Talk N’ Text’s gutsy performance, I trudged to the TV. I prepared myself to watch Game 5 of the NBA first round match-up between the Philadelphia 76ers and my beloved Chicago Bulls.

There was one little problem.

The game, which was supposedly airing on schedule, was unavailable. I waited 10 minutes. Then, 30 minutes.  I followed the running score online. I waited for the game to magically pop-up on the television screen.  By halftime, already 2:00am on my clock, still nothing.

I decided to end my misery and went to bed.

Maybe, even minus Derrick Rose (ACL) and Joakim Noah (ankle), I would wake up to a Chicago upset.

I woke up hours later. No victory. No miracle.

I stayed in my bed, eyes on the ceiling, mind drifting into sports contemplation. I couldn’t help but think about my own madness. I stayed up until two in the morning to try and watch a basketball game. I grit my teeth, fought through sleepiness. I tried to hold on to a belief.  A team with already nothing to lose still faces all the pressure. I hoped they would win.

It’s a strange thing. To cheer for your favorite team even if you know they’re no longer favorites. So the Bulls clinched the top seed in the regular season. That means nothing now. Rose’s torn ACL made it so. Now I’m back to cheering for what will be a middle-of-the-road team. If Rose doesn’t make it all the way back, they’ll exit next year’s first round for sure.

So what now?

I started to think about fans that cheer for teams with fading chances. I thought about fans like me. I thought about teams like that morning’s Bulls. It’s easy to cheer for teams formed to win and built to succeed. It’s not so easy cheering for a crumbling team, one that was initially formed to win and built to win it all.

It’s just as difficult rooting for teams destined to become average. It led me to a contemplation of PBA fans that cheer for Alaska. It led me to an examination of fans…like me. What compels us to support a team like the Aces?

You finish work. You prepare to watch your team play. You expect to see the worst. You get the occasional W. Maybe your team plays above itself. Maybe they’ll snatch an admirable victory. Maybe they’ll flirt with playoff glory.

Why bother with brief moments of euphoria?

Why still cheer?

Because if we don’t, it seems like no one else will.

Cheering for a mediocre, even crappy, team is like eating that last McDo French fry no one has the audacity to take. Those who don’t take that last sacred piece judge those who actually do.

I can count the number of fans who have stayed loyal to the Alaska Aces through thick and thin. I’m one of them.

I cheer for the Chicago Bulls, and I will continue to cheer for them even if they lose the series. I now cheer for the Rose-less, Noah-less Bulls even with the promise of elusive success.

I cheer for the Alaska Aces even though our new Head Coach went 0-24 in the UAAP.
I will support the Aces even with the promise of temporary happiness.

Because I need to.

Because of the blood, sweat and tears that I’ve invested.

I find senselessly waiting for illogical expectations both tantalizing and irresistible. The reward I’ve learned is worth more than the satisfaction gained from supporting a regularly successful team.

I cheer for “The Others” like some of you do. I feel your pain. I know what being on the side less taken is like. Go ahead; support Meralco if your heart tells you do so. Do not sell out. Don’t switch allegiances because it’s the easy thing to do.

Struggling teams need people like us. When the miracle finally happens, we’ll be the happiest witnesses. Trust me. Powerade Tigers fans know this. Someday, Chicago fans will feel it again. Someday, Alaska fans will swear it was truly worth the torturous wait.

We’ve scaled the mountaintop. Chicago and Alaska have stayed on the mountaintop for years. It’s also taking them years just to return. The view from the top is beautiful. It’s fleeting, but beautiful. CA

1 comment:

  1. Go aces! My hopes are high for them in the next cup.

    Lived as an aces and will die as an aces. Surely, the team will re-live the same glory they had in the 90's. :)



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