Anticipating the Hurt


I realized something after watching the Pacers lose to … I don’t know … who was it?

The last one.

Wait a sec.

The Bucks. Yeah, that one. They’re all starting to merge in my memory.

At the same time I was watching the Bucks beat us again, I was occasionally clicking over to watch Indiana University host Wisconsin. The last time I clicked, the score was 43-22 Badgers at around the 17 minute mark of the 2nd half.

And about that time I realized my life is pretty good. Really. Not kidding.

I have a job. The wife loves me. My kids are in college or already graduated. Roof doesn’t leak. Car starts. (I have a roof!) I like the folks I work with … everything’s pretty good.


Pretty good. Almost perfect.

In fact, all I’d have to do to be as close to perfect happiness as my neuroses allow…is to quit being a fan of Indiana basketball. That’s all. One simple tweak.

And why not? There’s no percentage in sticking to my guns here.

I can barely stand to watch anymore. I won’t even try to recite a litany of all the classic fail strategies the Pacers have employed this season. And last season. And … yeah. The one before that. You know all the scenarios already. All the three to four game themes of futility. The inevitable roster rearrangement to address the perceived problem, which proceeds to morph into a totally different calamity.

Hey. We have a line-up for that. You know … unless the guys are broke. Eh, we’ll put somebody out there. We’re rebuilding.

It’s even affected my enjoyment of the game in general. I never tune to the west coast games anymore after the Pacers lose. I might see a team playing good ball. And I don’t think I could take that.

I used to enjoy listening to Denari and Buckner on the Pacers broadcasts. Now Quinn just pisses me off, and Denari seems like nothing but a shill. The Pacers web site? Used to enjoy it. Now, that headline writer is starting to irk me. “Pacers’ comeback falls short.” Dude, you’re wearing out the font on that one. (What happened to them? They seemed perfectly adequate when we were competitive. Sorry, guys. Maybe it’s me.) I go to my nice full fridge at half-time, and the snacks have no appeal. I open a carefully selected microbrew, and it sits on the table for ten minutes before I even think to take a drink. What enjoyment could there be in it? I go to work with my amiable coworkers, to do a job I’m good at, and which I enjoy … and they pay me … and if it’s a day after a Pacers game, I’m in a bad mood. It’s getting to the point where the bad mood begins the afternoon before the game. Anticipating the hurt.

And it’s pathetic, because here I am whining about my depression…when my life is great. Those kids in China … (what?) …  You know … those kids in China. That were starving? So you should eat your peas? (Wrong generation?) Those kids. Anyway, you know they’d be overjoyed to have my problems. Now that they’re grown up, and suffering through whatever tragedy we can imagine someone having who lives in a far-off land where life is hard … they’d love to have my problems, right?

Because I don’t really have any. Life is good. Life is darned good. I am fortunate. Except for the state of Indiana basketball.

I guess it’s all about perspective. Think of the lessons of the suffering of Job, rather than the mysteries of the machinations of J’OB. Or maybe it’s cosmic law. No one gets to be 100 percent happy. Read sub-paragraph B of Clause 112 to the 14th Law of Thermodynamics. “If things are otherwise good, your ball team must suck.”

The flip side would be the classic sports stereotype. When times are hard, your team wins the big game and makes everything seem OK for a while.

That sounds about right. It all balances out. Those now grown-up suffering kids in China? They probably follow Chinese pro teams that could beat the Pacers.