Tai Justice staff writer
Everyone hates losing, but there’s levels to losing. Losses aren’t all created equally. Losing MLB/NBA game sevens, the NFL/college football playoffs and even a regular season loss that submarines your season is worse than a random June MLB loss and so on and so forth. Let’s rank the levels of losing from least painful to I physically can’t move after that loss.
Level one: The expected loss. This is the type of loss that happened to the Utah Jazz a lot during the 2013-2014 season. The entire fan base knew they were bad and every night we were expecting them to lose. There’s really no pain to this level other than the fact that you have to live with your team throwing away an entire season because they’re so bad. That sucks, but it’s expected from the start so it’s fine and easy to handle.
Level two: False hope. This is the type of loss that going into the game you expect your team to lose. You’ve already mentally prepared yourself for your team to lose this game and then they come out and take an early lead and make you believe that they can win this game only for it to come crashing down at the end. The Utah-BYU game from 2018 is my personal experience with this. Going into the game BYU was a massive underdog and everyone was expecting Utah to win this game. BYU jumped out to a 20-0 lead and lead 27-7 at one point as well. In classic BYU fashion they blew the game as Utah scored 28 unanswered points on their way to a 35-27 Utah win. That was much more painful than if BYU would’ve lost 21-3 and never had a chance. It’s having hope when you never expected to have hope only for it to be taken away that makes this level of losing painful.
Level three: Out of your control. This is the type of loss where a ref makes a bad call, or a coach makes an idiotic decision that ends up costing your team the game. We’re getting in the area where these type of losses become almost impossible to get over because you’re so upset and it’s almost like your anger towards a coach or referee gains steam as time goes on. I have two personal experiences with this. One for refereeing and coaching. The first one is 2012 Packers-Seahawks. The infamous “Fail Mary” game. The Packers intercepted a ball in the end-zone on the final play of the game and the refs called it a touchdown for the Seahawks. I’m not over-exaggerating. That’s what happened. Search fail mary and you’ll see. As a fan you have so much anger directed towards the refs after something like that and there’s nothing you can do. It sucks. Seven years later and I still remember every detail of that night like it was a national tragedy or something. The second personal experience I have of that is Yankees-Indians American League Division series in 2017. There was a foul tip that the ump missed and Joe Giradi had a chance to challenge the call and get the Yankees out of a bases loaded jam. Long story short, he didn’t challenge it and one pitch later Francisco Lindor hit a grand-slam and the Indians went on to when the game. These are losses that stick with you forever. We’ve officially reached outright painful losses that you can’t get over territory.
Level four: Losing a game that you’re fully expected to win. There’s only a few levels more painful than this because when your team losses a game that everyone expects them to win it’s almost like you feel embarrassed. Personal experience: The 15-1 Packers. A team that dominated everyone the entire season and then lost their first playoff game to the New York Giants. Something felt off eve before that game kicked off. You could feel that something wasn’t right and then about 30 minutes into the game you look around like, “That’s it?” “All that for nothing?” The scary part about this level is that you can tell right away that your team doesn’t have it. When you’re expected to win you can tell minutes into the game that your team doesn’t have it. Then you have to sit through the rest of the game hoping that they can turn it around, but it never happens.
Level five: The stomach punch. This is the type of loss that you feel like you were punched in the stomach. You feel sick afterwards. This level usually comes in a game that goes back and forth all game only for the team you’re cheering for to lose in heart-breaking fashion at the end. I have more than a few personal experiences with this level, but I’ll narrow it down to one: BYU-Utah 2012. Not one, but two missed kicks at the end of the game. BYU lined up for a 52-yard field goal to tie the game and it was blocked. Meh, whatever that always happens to BYU against Utah it seems. That wasn’t the crazy part. The crazy part was that the ball was picked up by BYU and a BYU player was running around with the ball while the Utah fans were rushing the field. That was a 15-yard penalty on Utah and BYU got to re-try the kick, this time from 35-yards out. The ball hit the upright and BYU lost again. Funny enough, BYU reaches all these levels on a yearly basis between their football and basketball team.
Level six: Your season is now over. This loss usually comes in the playoffs, but can also come in the regular season on rare occasions. I have so many experiences with this level (every sports fan does) that I can’t narrow it down to one personal experience. This level is about how empty you feel when you know you have to suffer through another off-season.
Level seven: The game with a name. This is the type of loss that has a name or can be summed up with one word. For example: “Bill Buckner” “Steve Bartman” the loss that no matter how long you live you’ll never forget where you were and how you felt. My personal experience: Packers-Seahawks 2015 NFC Championship Game. Brandon Bostick. A collapse by the Packers topped off with a dropped onside kick by Bostick with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Those are the type of losses that no matter how long you live you will never forget. I don’t wish this level on any sports fan.