While debate over sports often centers around which team is supreme in its sport, there's also simultaneously an ongoing discussion among those who support perennial "cellar dwellers" over which city provokes the most misery and suffering for its fans. All it takes is one championship in one sport to lift a city from its self-perception of intense futility that no one else could possibly understand. And fans hold out hope that when one of their teams rises in the rankings perhaps this could be the team to lead them back to more than the promised land -- it could represent full-fledged freedom from the unforgiving ridicule and enduring disappointment that comes with being so predictably bad in every arena. Yet, many cities, despite whatever fleeting hope, remain in their familiar losing settings for years, if not decades, longer than they would have wished. Here, a rundown of the most recent complaints from fed-up writers over the struggling squads that they are assigned to cover. Who makes the best case?
Atlanta: "Folks, I feel your pain," said Mark Bradley in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month. "Since big-time professional sports arrived in 1966," our city has one professional championship to its name. The Hawks are a "cosmic whiff" and the rest of our teams regularly come up short. "Whenever one of our teams gets close, Lucy snatches away the football and Charlie Brown goes flying." So don't blame me for being "jaded."
Houston: Houston is a "sad sports city," contended Jerome Solomon in the Houston Chronicle last month. "Houston is so desperate a sports town that this is the point where some sad Houstonian is subject to throw the Dynamo and the Comets on the table." All we have left to win "are 'how bad things are' arguments."
Seattle: "Living out here on the far left edge of the country, it sometimes feels as if Seattle is the forgotten orphan of sports," said Steve Kelley in The Seattle Times last summer. "But listen up: The worst is over." Our women's basketball and soccer teams are looking up. "The Storm and Sounders have become symbols of what this sports scene can become." There's been so much bad news over the past two years -- most notably when the Sonics packed up and left town. "I think Seattle is a good sports town that deserves more than it is getting." Stand by your teams, people.
Washington, D.C.: When I started this job seven years ago, there was real hope to turn things around, said Mike Wise in the Washington Post last month. But "with a few exceptions, we are still losers." Our baseball team can't compete, our basketball team lost its stars, and our football team shows "no vision and there may never be." It's been a terrible, rocky ride. "In other words, we can lose touch with who we are. We are losers, Washington. So just accept it. In fact, hail it."
Denver: "When did all these beautiful people of Denver sports decide we make lousy neighbors?" asks Mark Kiszla in the Denver Post. "Our stars are fleeing town," which has led to a "great recession of Denver sports." Does anyone want to play for our teams anymore? "The greatest sports fans in America are in the dumps. Sure, we live in Denver. But we're stuck in a Detroit state of mind." But let's fight back: We should "send a little message to any sports star who thinks it's too hard to do great things in Denver: Get lost." There's hope yet.