Chelsea Lose Champions League Final—Sports' Fans Gluttons for Punishment?

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IMay 21, 2008

I actually stood throughout the whole penalty shootout.  When Chelsea gained the advantage, I stood and cheered (down in my entertainment room). 

I got excited.  My heart beat twice as fast as normal.  As John Terry stepped to the line, I could actually feel tears beginning to well in my eyes.

I should have known better.

One fateful slip later (poor John Terry, he literally gives his all every time he is out there.  Most any fans can respect the work ethic of Terry), and it was not to be.

A few kicks later, and it was all over.  Manchester United had once again topped Chelsea, for the second time in less than two weeks, this time in the finals of the champions league. 

I was crushed.  It had been so close, yet was now so far. 

In the moments following the loss, I watched Man U celebrate their victory,I know, I could have turned the TV off, but they deserve at least my respect.  They certainly wouldn't get my admiration. 

I stopped to think to myself how much this seemed familiar. 

And the more I thought it was all too familiar.

As I stopped to reflect on where the feeling was coming from, I got a sinking feeling.  It was coming from far too many sources.

See, as it turns out, not much good came out of watching my Chelsea and their championship dreams crushed.  But at the very least I did come to the realization that I am a glutton for punishment.  A sucker.

Let's take a look shall we.

Start in the Major Leagues where I faithfully cheer the Toronto Blue Jays.  I was born in 1988, and the Blue Jays had their back-to-back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993.  That means, I really don't remember it all that well. 

Sure, I have distinct moments I can recall.  I have seen it on TV re-broadcasts, but I don't remember being in that moment with all the other fans as Joe Carter launched the homerun just over the wall to win the big trophy. 

Looking at football, I fancy myself a Tennessee Titans’ fan.  I have been since the mid 1990's.  Now, for sure I got to see some very good teams sporting the two tone blue uni's. 

There were some fantastic players for sure.  Steve McNair, Eddie George, Derek Mason, Frank Wychek, Kevon Kearse, and all the rest of the crew were a fun group to watch. 

I also got to witness the Music City Miracle, which you could still argue was a forward lateral but a fantastic play nonetheless. 

Still, I never got to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy held high by the Titans with the icing on the cake of course being the Superbowl tackle on the one yard line, sealing the victory for the opposition Rams.

Once again, so close yet so far.

(On a side note, because of proximity, I find myself often watching and cheering for the Buffalo Bills, but my heart is in Tennessee to be sure.  Still, it's not like the Bills are doing me any favors either.)

Seeing as I like Chelsea, an English team, it's fairly obvious to state I am an England international fan when it comes to world soccer. 

As hard as it is for me to admit, and I will through clenched teeth, there simply may not be a team who has underachieved more in world soccer. 

Could be coaching, who knows, but the bottom line is, they will always have talented teams, and they will always face questions until they get the job done. 

I cheer emphatically every time, but in the back of my mind, I have the questions too.

Finally, my beloved NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Well, everyone has said a lot on what's going on there (maybe too much?).

So I won't get into the grisly details of how the boys in Blue have quickly become a laughing stock of the league. 

I am still confident the Maple Leafs can turn this around.  Call it blind optimism if you wish.  This just may be wishful thinking, but I want to be around when the Maple Leafs finally do win the big one. 

It will be special, and boy, will it be a huge party when they do.

I guess it isn't all bad though.  I always have team Canada, perennial powerhouses.  But even they are licking their wounds a bit. 

Aside from the world junior hockey championship, the boys in red and white have been bounced from the last two international tourneys by our old Nemesis, Russia. 

I certainly won't lose faith though.  Not even close.  As long as there are kids skating on a frozen pond somewhere. 

And the countless volunteers and parents who will help these kids along the way, Hockey Canada will always be in good shape.  Of that I am assured.

Although I can't say I watch NASCAR all that much anymore, I am a Jeff Gordon fan, and by virtue of that, a Hendrick Motorsports’ fan.  So times are good in the world of racing. 

As far as INDY goes, I am a Dan Wheldon fan, so I always have a shot at glory with him.

You see, it's sports in general.  Because I am not alone.  I know, somewhere out there, there are people reading this who are in the very same situation as me.  Perhaps not the same teams, but they have the same scenarios play out. 

In every league there is only one trophy.  So clearly the other teams and their fans go home disappointed (San Diego Chargers anyone?)

I know this as a fact, because I see it.  I see the people crowd into Wrigley field to watch the beloved "Cubbies" despite the fact they haven't won the World Series since 1908. 

There are plenty of droughts in sports, but for the most part, the fan support doesn't waver.  And neither will mine. 

I am not writing this article as a eulogy to these sports’ teams.  I can't.  It may sound dumb to some people, but these teams are a part of me.   A part of my life.  Most all sports’ fans know what I am talking about.

So I know I am not the only one.  Who else out there is a sports glutton for punishment? 

I know there are people out there reading this who are laughing at the article, shaking their head in agreement, and reflecting to their own time of sorrow.  Heartbreak by a sports team.

It sounds silly.  Those who don't watch sports won't understand it.  That's for sure. 

But any sports’ fan will tell you, all those moments of agony, are eventually replaced by Ecstasy.

Alright Bleacher Creatures, lets hear your story.  Let me hear your sports stories of heartache and triumph below in the comment section!