It is my own misfortune, and indeed the misfortune of many reading this article, to have (mostly) unwittingly chosen a life of suffering and self-torture. I can’t ask for sympathy, I did this to myself, and I can’t ask most humans to understand my situation; how could you, being either outside the realm of fandom or lucky enough to root for a team by some other name?
I am an invested, devoted, fervent fan of the Northwestern Wildcats, and only a select few people to have ever walked this Earth truly know what that is like.
I could spend the next 300 words reliving every agonizing fourth-quarter play, every gut-wrenching second, every time I’ve had my heart ripped out, stomped on, and reinserted into my chest. I could bring you, dear reader, along with for the ride, a roller-coaster you’ve been on 1,000 times. I could. But that’s a tired narrative, and I’ve indulged in self-pity enough already.
This post is a reaction to an LA Times article in which Northwestern is ranked No. 10 preseason in football. Despite being objectively ridiculous, uninformed, and quite frankly an insult to thousands of journalists who put actual thought into their coverage of sports, it is an injustice to the NU fanbase. To explain why, I will continue with:
Samwise Donkenstein’s Preseason Top 5 Feelings About This Year:
Fuck you, LA Times. How dare you take the one thing we had left to cling to: that we are perennially underrated and a lovable underdog holding our own in a sea of top-flight, big-money programs. By ranking us No. 10 you have set outrageous expectations on our beloved team, but you have also started a trend that will likely continue: overrating the Wildcats.
When October 5th rolls around and I am lying, naked, in a pile of empty Jack Daniels bottles outside Ryan Field, I want to know that I can wake up to the sympathy of a nation whenever 4-0 Northwestern gets utterly fucked by Ohio State. “Aw man, the Cats couldn’t quite pull it out but they put up a fight for being so overmatched!” will be replaced by “Jesus, Northwestern was fucking overrated this year. Privileged douches.”
Every time something good happens to Northwestern sports, it is only to set up something awful. Take a metaphor I’ve made before: Bane in Batman. See, Bane knows that hope makes sad bitches go CRAZY. Well we are Bruce Wayne, fucked UP vertebrae sticking out of our backs, and Northwestern sports is the sun, shining down on us, ever unreachable.
Don’t believe me?
Basketball, two years ago. Alex Marcotullio ties the game with a 3-pointer to complete a FURIOUS comeback. What happens? Jared Sullinger drives the length of the court for a layup. Game over. We had 4.2 seconds of happiness. Michigan, same year. Overtime. Three after three after three. Loss.. Big Ten Tournament. Same year. Sobo misses a layup and we lose the one game that would’ve sent us to the Ball. Hopes crushed.
Football. 2010. Dan Persa gets hurt celebrating (CELEBRATING) the win against Iowa. What could be more shitty. Last year? Four words: Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan.
EVERY TIME something good happens it’s followed by something HORRIBLE. HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING?
You had Northwestern ranked at No. 10? Why would you do that it doesn’t even make any sense.
Can’t you all just leave us alone? Why are we not allowed to suffer as a fanbase in peace? Why do you have to put the national spotlight on us by overhyping us, setting us up for failure? IT’S UNNECESSARY! YOU HEAR ME LA TIMES?!?! THERE IS NO REASON TO DO WHAT YOU DID.
Mostly I know that this can only end horribly, and being ranked in the top 25 will only make it worse. People will actually be watching our games, and when we lose, they’ll flip the channel and say “Same old Northwestern” while I sob quietly in a corner, still naked for some reason.
I can’t help it. At the end of the day, I believe this team beats Ohio State in front of the whole nation to crack the Top 10. I believe they win just enough to make the Big Ten Championship, and somehow, I think they’ll be in the Rose Bowl.
I want it to be true so badly that I have no choice but to believe it. I’ll be watching this season through my hands, but at the end of the day I’ll be crushed if it doesn’t happen.
And that’s what’s fucked up, man.