By Kenneth Cline
Being a fan of a particular sports team can be exciting and fun. But there are also times when a fan has to endure heartbreak. In my case, being from Houston, I root for the Texans, Rockets and the Astros. While not one of these teams is the top moneymaker in the sports markets like the Dallas teams (yes, I’m including the Rangers in this conversation), being a fan of Houston sports brings me a lot of great memories, good and bad.
I can see how Rangers fans feel now. Although they lost Game 1 of the World Series, don’t count them out yet. They still have the talent to bring a World Series title to Dallas.
I know that feeling to see your team in the championship because I was once in those shoes. During the 1990s, while the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls, the Houston Rockets were making a name in the NBA by winning consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995. I didn’t see any of the games during those years, but afterwards I got to witness Rockets game live. I would see Hakeem Olajuwon doing his Dream Shake, Clyde Drexler dunking from the free-throw line and Rudy Tomjanovich holding his fist high while running off the court in celebration.
Being a Rockets fan was great during those days, but it also came with some consequences. In 1997, we played the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. If we won that game, we could go back to Utah and win Game 7 and then try to beat the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. The score was tied at 100 and all we had to do was stop the Jazz and win the game in overtime.
Sure enough, Utah’s John Stockton hit a 3-pointer to beat us and end our season. When I saw that shot, I remember crying like a baby. I hated losing. Losing was something I didn’t want to experience.
At times, losing makes me like a lost puppy on a snowy Christmas Eve night with no one to love it. I know that’s not true, but the feeling of heartbreak occurs like your girlfriend just dumped you for that rich guy next door. It hurts my heart to lose. Even if I know that my team tried hard to win, we still couldn’t get the W and took the L.
In 2005, I had the privilege of seeing the Houston Astros march to the World Series. This was when Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell were still the cornerstones of the franchise. Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite and Roy Oswalt led the best pitching staff in the league, and Lance Berkman and Morgan Ensberg were hitting home runs.
We started the season at 15-30. Normally, a team with that kind of record struggled.
But then we caught fire and earned a playoff spot.
Through the course of the playoffs, I cheered for my team as we defeated the Atlanta Braves in 18 innings in Game 4. Then we beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games despite losing a heartbreaker in Game 5.
Unfortunately, we were unable to beat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. As sad as I was, I’m glad we had the honor of being the first team from Texas to play in the fall classic.
The only Houston team that has a legitimate chance of winning a professional championship is the Houston Texans. But I can’t say that it’s a guarantee we’ll win this year. To pull for a team that hasn’t ever been to the playoffs hurts a lot.
But you know what? I believe we’ll have a championship soon. It may not be this year or the next. But in a few years, Houston will have another professional championship. The only thing I can do is cheer and be the No. 1 fan to my teams.
Yes I will probably endure more heartbreak. But I will also know that I will be rewarded with a championship for supporting my team.
In the meantime, my advice to Rangers fans is to be supportive and cheer on your team. Even if you lose, you’ll still be the team’s pride and joy.
Kenneth Cline is a sophomore journalism-public relations major from Houston.