Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, May 29, 1997

You can’t lose if you’re
a fan of these teams

IT sure must be nice to be a Chicago Bulls fan. Or someone who roots for the Atlanta Braves. Or the St. Louis Crusaders during the ILH football season.

I mean, these teams always seem to win. They can't lose for winning. They don't know what losing is.

Oh, sometimes their games are close. But they're generally over by the fourth quarter, or in the case of the Braves, in the late innings unless Greg Maddux is pitching. Then it's over when he takes the mound.

When you root for a team that wins 75 to 80 percent of the time, life's cool.

There's no fuss. No bother. No frustration. No anxiety.

It's the greatest tonic there is in life, at least the sporting life. It prevents hair from graying, your nerves from fraying.

When you root for the Bulls, at least until Michael Jordan hangs up his Nikes or goes to Orlando like the Pro Bowl, you go around humming that song, "Don't worry, be happy," all NBA season long.

When you cheer for the Crusaders, at least until Cal Lee retires, you're Satchmo singing, "What a wonderful world . . . "

And, as long as Atlanta keeps Maddux and re-signs Kenny Lofton, you'll still be whistling, "Dixie."

What a life.

That kind of fanaticism, I think, partially explains the current Tigermania in golf. The kid always seems to win or be in contention, even if he sniffs at a fourth-place finish.

PEOPLE love a winner and it's reflected in the athletic wear worn by nonathletic types.

That's why you see so many Bulls' No. 23 jerseys worn by guys who couldn't even shoot free throws better than Shaq.

Nike's Swoosh has become a world symbol, thanks to Tiger Woods, instead of a glorified checkmark on some college football team's jersey.

Although it has become a bit tinny recently, the Dallas Cowboys' star is still a popular logo, no thanks to Michael Irvin but mostly because of clean-cut Troy Aikman.

So give a high five to all the winners and their fans.

Me, I have always rooted for the underdog and consequently have always been down in the dumps, intense with foreboding during a game and frustrated at the finish.

No whistling of some happy tune for me. Rather, you might catch me humming something from Mozart's Requiem or the funereal movement from Chopin's Second Piano Sonata.

So naturally, even though cheering's not allowed in the press box, I silently root -- and suffer -- with the University of Hawaii Rainbows.

BEING a Rainbow fan is to suffer, almost to the point of masochism. Especially in football and baseball lately. And volleyball when it's playoff time.

And probably nothing is worse than being a Rainbow fan when Hawaii plays Brigham Young. Then it's double agony because it's tough enough seeing the 'Bows lose. It's even worse watching BYU win -- especially at UH's expense.

It doesn't help that I'm also a Boston Red Sox fan as well, although I took a sabbatical leave from rooting for them this season in protest because they let my favorite pitcher and part-time golfer, Roger Clemens, go to Toronto.

But, what the heck, I figure that's why we are put on this earth. To suffer.

That's why in my heart I can't switch teams just to make me feel better. Try as I might, I couldn't get myself to root for the Bulls as they disposed of Miami yesterday.

And all the Bulls' fans sitting at bars -- delayed telecast is driving everyone to drink -- can gloat all they want while awaiting yet another NBA championship. Nothing is forever, even Michael Jordan.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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