Something is very wrong with me, I think.
I've been handed so many gut-ripping defeats in the last seven years (Yankees 2001, 2003, 2004; USC v. Vince Young, vs. UCLA 2006, vs. Stanford this year; Patriots v. Denver two years ago, Colts last year, Giants tonight) I believe I'm getting acclimated to the feeling.
Before the game, I pondered this thought: I made it to the age of 30 loving only one single team: Larry Bird's Celtics. (The nasty 1970s Yankees of Munson, Guidry and Reggie could be admired, but never, ever loved). Then, in the past 12 years, Torre's Yankees, the Jake Plummer/Pat Tillman Sun Devils, the Brady/Belichick Patriots, and Pete Carroll's Leinart/Bush/White/Cody/Tatupu Trojans.
Four teams loved in a single decade. (At one point, from 2002 through the Vince Bowl, the Patriots and Trojans combined for an astounding 111 straight games without a loss of lasting significance, defined as any loss ending all championship hopes.)
A harvest. A lifetime crammed into twelve years.
But two lessons learned along the way.
1. There will always be a price for caring.
2. It hurts more to lose than it feels good to win.
In the past dozen years, I have gone into for contests thinking, This is the game. I've made a pact with God: allow them this win, and the next two decades can hang themselves.
1997 Rose Bowl, and Jake Plummer's dream season.
2001 World Series Game 7, and the Yankees' quest for four straight World Series rings and canonization as the greatest team ever.
2006 Rose Bowl, and the quest for a Three-Pete.
Tonight's oddly enough, not as bad as I thought.
So maybe I'm getting used to it.
Which worries me, I guess.