Fellow blogger Rarasaur has a recurring feature in which she supplies “prompts for the promptless.” Basically, she provides bloggers with an idea which they can use in their blog.
This week’s prompt is Schadenfreude.
For those unfamiliar with the term, Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.
I am very guilty of Schadenfreude. Or at least I have been when it comes to sports.
My career as a sports fan has been almost nothing but Schadenfreude. It seems that more often than not, when I’m watching a sporting event, I don’t actually cheer for one team as much as I’m hoping for the downfall of another.
I’ve written about the suffering I’ve endured as a Philadelphia sports fan. The constant failure of my favorite teams has made me envious of other fans who actually get to celebrate when their teams win championships.
Why do they get to be happy when I’m left “waiting until next year?” If I’m miserable due to sports, then everyone else should be feeling just as miserable!
I think my sports hate started in the early 90′s with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were (and according to TV ratings and merchandise sales, still are) the most popular team in the NFL.
For whatever reason, the Cowboys have always been regarded as the glamour franchise of the NFL. As a young Eagles fan, I couldn’t understand why the Cowboys received so much hype, especially when I KNEW that the Eagles were the better team.
I was hit with a cold splash of reality when the Cowboys defeated the Eagles in a playoff game in 1993 and went on to win the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, the Cowboys would win two more Super Bowls in the next three years.
As a child, I was mostly surrounded by people who shared the same rooting interests. While there were the occasional fans of other teams around, most of my peers were also Phillies or Eagles fans. So when the teams lost (and they always did!) at least we were all miserable together.
Things took a turn for the worse when I went to college. I was now living and interacting with people from all across the country, which meant that I had to deal with fans of many other teams.
Out of all the fans I’ve met, I’ve found that nobody inspires sports hate quite like the New York Yankees and their fans.
I had the unfortunate pleasure of going to a school with a large New York/New Jersey representation at the same time that the Yankees were dominating baseball. I got to experience the bizarre sense of entitlement that Yankees fans have.
I had to listen to comments like “It’s good for baseball when the Yankees win,” or “This team doesn’t have the tradition of the Yankees, so they don’t deserve to win.”
Vomitous stuff indeed.
As someone who had never celebrated a championship, I couldn’t believe that some people were not only happy about their team’s success but that they actually expected it.
I hoped that after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, my sports hatred might diminish. I thought that since I finally tasted the glory, I wouldn’t need to need to gain as much happiness from the failure of others.
That hasn’t happened. In a way, I think it’s only become worse recently. Like many of the problems facing America, I think much of the blame falls on Facebook.
Thanks to Facebook, it has become almost impossible to avoid the happiness of other sports fans.
After the Eagles lose, I’m usually in a pissy mood. It doesn’t help when I log onto Facebook and have to encounter friends celebrating because RG3 led the Redskins to victory.
Why do they get to be happy? Screw them, and screw RG3! (Sorry, I forgot that Mike Shanahan already took care of that)
I realize that in any given week of the NFL schedule, half of the teams are going to win. But why can’t it be teams like the Browns? I don’t think I actually know any Browns fans, so I wouldn’t have to read much about the victory. (And really those people have suffered even worse than I have. Throw poor Cleveland a bone!)
Even in the Super Bowl, while I was theoretically rooting for the Ravens, part of me wanted to see the 49ers win.
While part of that was due to not wanting to see Ray Lewis win another Super Bowl, (You know, because he helped kill a guy once) but another part was because I actually know several Ravens fans. So if they won, I’d have to suffer through their joy.
On the other hand, I think I know one 49ers fan. If the 49ers won, I would be faced with far fewer reminders that other people in this world are actually happy about their team’s success.
The sad thing is, I know this sports hate gets me nowhere. I either feel angry if the teams that I hate win, or else I gain joy from someone else’s misery. And that kind of joy is mostly empty and fleeting.
Maybe the only solution is to quit following sports. I’ll just turn my attention to watching reality television instead. Surely there’s nobody on reality television to hate on, right?