So Your Team Won It All...Now What?
For some fans, it’s a feeling that comes around once every 50 years. For others, like myself and anyone else who grew up in New England during the early 00’s and 10’s, it happens almost every other season. Chances are you’re reading this as another average sports fan. But some day, you might just have the opportunity to experience the high that so many others have felt and chased for years of their lives: a championship. THE championship. So as someone with plenty of post-Chip experience, I’ve decided to bestow some advice for the next few months of your life.
The first tip I have is as important as it is time sensitive. If you’re lucky enough to be reading this day of (or the day after) winning -- use these next 24 hours to your full advantage. This is likely the only time people outside of your fandom will give any kind of a shit about your team and the fact they won it all. Use it. After today, no one outside of your home state/city/campus could care less about the fact that you guys won. So soak it in, wear your favorite jersey, recount your favorite highlights, trash talk your opponents, peruse your favorite sports coverage and watch the highlight reels over and over again.
After that first glorious day, the rest of the world stops giving a shit and moves on with their lives. But that doesn’t mean that you have to do the same. You can keep reminding people of that one dunk, catch, goal -- most people will remember it. Probably. At this point in the afterglow though, it’s best to stick to conversations with your friends and random strangers you see sporting the march in public. They are likely going to match your enthusiasm, or at the very least will acknowledge some portion of the game that will bring back those memories and the sweet hit of dopamine that comes along with them. You’ve got anywhere from a week to a few months, if you’re lucky.
But now, you have to brace yourself for a hard and bitter truth:
That was it.
This will be the peak of winning it all and you’ve already started the decline. But worse than that, in a few months time, news will start coming out about the fat contracts that some players are now being offered. Their agents will have been working the Chip angle for a while, and as is tradition whenever a team wins it all, pieces of that team will start to follow that sweet scent of money. Before you know it, a sizable chunk of your championship roster is gone, the rest of the league all has their sights fixed on running you into the ground every chance they get, and all media outlets will talk about is “how will they defend their title? Is it even possible to suggest back to back championships??”
The answer, sadly, is likely a resounding No. While there are certainly some teams who are capable of winning back to back championships (possibly even more--looking @ you mid 90s Bulls), but sadly the odds are that you will go back to another year of hoping to scrape by with enough wins for a playoff spot and a reasonably well-played loss in the postseason. All in all, if you’re reading this a week or more after you won it all, it’s probably best for you pick your favorite image of the confetti falling, the trophy being raised, or the shenanigans from the parade and burn it into your memory as you tune out to 99% of the team news that will come out in the next few weeks. Remember the feeling. Bask in the imagery. And remember that, even at the end of the day, at least you’re not a New York Jets fan.