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I feel the need...

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...to actually post some commentary here.  My posts tend to be more informational than anything else (links, Beyond the Box Score, etc.), but every now and then I should step back and actually allow myself to reflect.

Click 'Full Story' for...well, the full story.

Honestly, I think I'm blowing this feel-good opportunity.  I have expanded greatly on the pain that sports have caused me over the years.

I loved Norm Stewart, so I quickly adopted Mizzou. I loved the Bonds/Bonilla/Van Slyke outfield, so I adopted the Pittsburgh Pirates. I loved Dan Marino and Mark Clayton, so I adopted the Miami Dolphins. I loved Terry Porter and Clyde Drexler, so I adopted the Portland Trailblazers.

Think about this for a second. Swear to god, here are my top 10 favorite sports moments:

  1. Mizzou beating Nebraska at Faurot in 2003.
  1. Mizzou coming from 21 down to beat South Carolina in the 2005 Independence Bowl.
  1. Mizzou beating UCLA in 2002 to go to the Elite Eight.
  1. Pittsburgh coming from 3-games-to-1 down against Atlanta to force Game 7 in the 1992 NLCS.
  1. Corby Jones to Eddie Brooks to give Missouri the lead over Nebraska in 1997.
  1. Portland coming from 3-games-to-1 down against the evil Lakers to force Game 7 in the 2000 Western Conference Finals (and going up by double digits going into the fourth quarter!).
  1. Portland going to the NBA Finals to face the Bulls in 1992.
  1. Julian Winfield’s jumper to give Mizzou the lead over UCLA with less than 5 seconds remaining in 1995.
  1. Mizzou basketball’s defeat of Iowa State, 112-109, in 4 OT’s in 2001.
  1. Dan Marino’s fake-spike TD pass against the Jets in 1994.

Yup, those are some good memories. For grins, let’s see what followed each of those great memories.

  1. Mizzou loses the Independence Bowl.
  1. Mizzou jumps to a 7-1 start in 2006...and finishes 1-4.
  1. In the Elite Eight, Mizzou loses for the eleventy-billionth time in a row to Kelvin Sampson’s Oklahoma team...made horribly bitter by a) the wretched shooting performances of Clarence Gilbert and Arthur Johnson and b) my extreme hatred of Kelvin Sampson.
  1. Francisco Cabrera.
  1. Matt Davison.
  1. Portland blows a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter of Game 7; Shaq throws Steve Smith into the 4th row without getting called for a foul.
  1. Michael Jordan.
  1. Tyus Edney.
  1. Mizzou loses 3 games in a row.
  1. The Dolphins beat the Jets, lose in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Woo.

Other than proving that I’m a total masochist (and bringing to wonder why it is exactly that I’m a sports fan), what does this prove?

Basically, that I’m a pro at bad news. I know how to handle, rationalize, and move on from bad news.

Good news, on the other hand? Does not compute. My brain just freezes up. I wait for the other shoe to drop. Actually, no...I wait for the other shoe to kick me in the face.

Being that I wrote this in reaction to Portland winning the draft lottery...and that lottery win was quickly followed by their #1 pick developing what is currently the worst, most damaging knee problem around...yeah, that ended up further proving that even the good news always ends up bad.

So now Missouri sits at #5 in the BCS standings and can win the national title with four more wins.  That's amazing.  When I moved to Columbia for my freshman year in 1997, this is what I dreamed of.  We've won 9 games for the first time since my parents were juniors in high school.  We have respect, talent, amazing athletic ability, a coach I've liked since Day One (note: 'liking' a coach and 'totally trusting' him are two different things, but I've always liked Pinkel--he's everything I want in a coach...as long as wins are involved, anyway), a possible Heisman finalist, a twelve-degrees-beyond-bright future, et cetera.  With every win, we exorcise an old demon and pass another test.

But Kansas sits at #3.  It's our best season since 1969...and it's their best season since somewhere around the Age of Enlightenment.  And if my own personal sports history is any indication, that's going to end up the dagger.  The thought is just taunting me.  I think we're better than KU, and I'm relatively confident we can and/or will beat them in Arrowhead...but the scars don't heal until the best case scenario is actually achieved for once.

There's no point to saying all this, really, but now that I've laid my scars out on the table...

We now live in a world where Boston Red Sox fans are no longer tortured souls, but cocky fans who expect to win.  We live in a world where San Antonio Spurs fans have gone from "Boy, George Gervin sure was great" to "DYNASTY!!" in a decade.  Nebraska and Notre Dame are a combined 6-15.  Florida and Ohio State played in the basketball title game last year.  ...I'd make a hockey reference here too, but I can't even remember who won last year's Stanley Cup at this point.  Anyway, my point is, the sports world is in flux.  Nothing makes sense anymore to the casual Tony Kornheiser-level fans of the world (NOTE: I love Kornheiser to death--think he's great--but if you asked him who would win between Notre Dame and Kansas today, he would say Notre Dame...he just can't comprehend anything else).  If ever there is a time where Mizzou turns into a national power, it is right now.  And it starts with the last 3-4 games of 2007.

I will read that paragraph to myself repeatedly for the rest of this week and, assuming we beat K-State, the week after that as well.