Sports fans live for a good script.
Whether that story is one about an accomplished team chasing history or a cinderella team playing way over its head, the resulting euphoria can become addicting.
It’s easy to forget that sports aren’t scripted after all, even when the story seems permeated by predestination or filled with fable-in-the-making vibes.
The Miami Heat’s win streak sparked the imaginations of many and even resulted in a tribute video prominent on YouTube which provided the perfect soundtrack for a historic achievement. The Heat needed just seven wins to eclipse the record for the league’s longest winning streak.
And Miami seemed like a good candidate to get the job done. They had 27 in a row. Why not a few more?
For a minute, fans believed. And not just a little bit. They believed with all of their heart and none of their brain cells.
This record was unlikely to be broken for the simple fact that teams have been trying to break it for around 40 years.
The Laker and Celtic dynasties of the 1980s couldn’t get it done. The Bulls dynasty of the 90s fell short too.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal didn’t reach that mountaintop during the early 2000s either.
And so when the Bulls ended the Heat’s streak on Wednesday night, well, that really wasn’t all that big of a story.
Heat succumbs to gravity.
Seems like that sort of thing happens to all of us at one point in time or another.
But there was still a sense of disappointment and disgust. And, for quite a few fans, the NBA probably didn’t seem as exciting on Thursday morning as it had a short 24 hours previous.
No need to believe in these larger-life-stories now. Right?
If that were the case, all fans would be inoculated against the devastating consequences of over-hype.
We haven’t been inoculated and we aren’t immune.
Case in point, the hype surrounding this year’s cinderellas in the NCAA tourney.
No. 9 seed Wichita State plays LaSalle tonight. The Shocks beat a No. 1 seed to reach this game. They are riding a tide of momentum.
No. 12 seed Oregon plays a tourney favorite in Louisville Friday night. Dana Altman has his players beliveing when others refuse to believe.
Don’t forget the No. 15 seed, Florida Gulf Coast, which is slated to play Florida on Friday. Florida has an athletic department budget that dwarfs that of Florida Gulf Coast, but the Eagles feel the gap in talent isn’t that big. They can win.
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Fans see these match ups and virtually froth at the mouth. Wouldn’t it be great if one of these teams made it to the Elite Eight? How about the Final Four? What if one of these teams wins the National Championship?
It is definitely easy to get caught up in it, if only for a moment.
I am not saying to completely resist the temptation to pull for an underdog. It’s one of the things that makes sports fun to watch.
Just remember, the story isn’t written.
Teams seeded as low as the Shockers, Ducks and Eagles rarely reach the Elite Eight, let alone the Final Four. And the lowest seed to win the whole tourney was seeded No. 8.
A No. 8 seed won the title once.
So believe in underdogs and have fun.
Just don’t believe so much that the elimination of those teams destroys your enjoyment of March Madness.
Leave that job up to your busted bracket.