We all have them.
Teams we hope lose. Athletes we hope choke. People who, when they win, we just have to turn the TV off because we can’t bear to watch the celebration.
So here are five players and/or teams who have fit that bill for me at different times in my life. Don’t hate me. Here goes:
5. The University Of Texas. When I was a kid, my father taught law at SMU, which was then part of the Southwest Conference. As a result, we went to every home football game at the Cotton Bowl and every home basketball game at Moody Coliseum. Who was SMU’s main nemesis? Those Longhorns who, tragically from my point of view, entered a period of wishbone offense dominance just as I was learning the meaning of “down-set-hut.”
4. The Green Bay Packers. This is also a relic of my childhood. Why? Two words, remembering that I grew up in Dallas: Ice Bowl.
3. Columbia University. What in the world? Columbia? They’re not good at anything! Uh, except tennis. And in my senior year of college, they beat us in a 5-4 match that decided the Ivy League Championship. Yes, I lost in both singles and doubles. No, I haven’t gotten over it. Therefore, I can’t bring myself to root for them in any sport at any time.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide & The New England Patriots (tie). Why? The win too much and too efficiently. Rooting for either is like cheering for gravity. Except this year with Clemson and I was foolish enough to sleep through the second half.
1.Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic (another tie). Why? Well, both of them beat Roger Federer entirely too often. And when they do, it is a triumph of a war of attrition over a work of art. When they play each other, it’s simultaneously brilliant and tedious as two counter-punchers counter punch each other to death and me to sleep. I find myself asking, “can they both lose, please?”