“Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.”- Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump
The above quote is among the most memorable from the movie, White Men Can’t Jump. However, I’m being completely honest when I say that I am still not quite sure what Rosie Perez’s character, Gloria Clemente was talking about. But, after the New York Knicks lost in the final seconds of Game 1 against the Boston Celtics, I may be slightly closer to an interpretation.
You see, New York sports fans are unique individuals. We live in the largest sports market on the planet; boasting nine professional teams across the Big 4 leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA).
On any given day, especially a Sunday, our emotions can drastically sway from high to low and low to high because we have multiple teams sharing the spotlight on gameday. Sunday, a big sports day for the Big Apple, was a prime example of that.
The New York Mets and New York Yankees played regular season games, which were less critical. While, the New York Rangers were treading on thin ice, down 0-2 in their series against the Washington Capitals; and of course, the New York Knicks faced off against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their best of seven series.
And while a Knicks fan may have had little rooting interest in the Mets’ game, chances are Mets’ fans cared about the outcome of the Knicks game. As divided as we are during the regular season, we put our differences aside, unite, and throw our collective energy behind the home team in the postseason. Known for being cocky, chest beaters, New Yorkers are not going to deny ourselves the right to brag about representing the greatest sports city in the world.
With the Mets setting the tone for the day and beating the Atlanta Braves, their Division rivals, I knew it would be a long day for New York sports fans.
The Mets are 2-8 in their last 10 games and the probability of the Rangers, Knicks, and Yankees each winning their games were slim. I’m not saying that it’s impossible for all of these teams to go 4-0 on the same day, but the law of averages would suggest otherwise. If we needed a team to lose in order to gain critical and more meaningful wins from the Rangers and Knicks, you’d expect the Mets to at least be able to pull that off, since they typically stink at playing baseball every other day. Well, it was just our luck, the Mets won 3-2.
Moving on, here’s how the rest of the day shaped up.
The NY Rangers, down 0-2 heading into Game 3 found themselves in a must-win situation. But, with a late game-winning goal from Brandon Dubinsky, they pulled it out 3-2. Rangers fans could breathe easy because they just extended their season by at least two games.
As happy as I was for the Rangers and their true fans, I suddenly became nervous about the Knicks’ chances.
So far, New York was 2-0. Not a good look for the Knickerbockers. But despite thinking this, I tried to ignore the thought. When I looked at how the Knicks stacked up against the Celtics, I still liked our chances. I remained hopeful.
Well, we all know the outcome. The Knicks held the lead for the majority of the game, only to blow it and lose. Whether it was due to poor refereeing, the absence of Carmelo Anthony, Mike D’Antoni’s bad play calling in the final 2 minutes, or Ray Allen being Ray Allen, the fact remains that we lost.
The game’s final score, 87-85 in favor of the Celtics, left me still, speechless, and pissed. I decided that the only coping mechanism was to cut myself off from basketball for the rest of the evening. This meant, no post game press conference and no Oklahoma City Thunder/Denver Nuggets game. The only option that remained was to switch to ESPN and watch the New York Yankees take on the Texas Rangers.
I hoped baseball would shift my emotions into another gear and help with the healing process. Shortly after tuning into the game, the Yankees officially took the lead for the first time in the game with a two-run homer from Curtis Granderson in the sixth inning.
Suddenly a smile peeked through my pouty mouth and I caught myself in the middle of a fist pump as I celebrated the turn of events. Just like that, the energy shifted back in favor of New York sports fans.
The Texas Rangers came back to take tie the game, but the Yankees regained the lead and won 6-5.
In no way does a Yankees regular season victory negate a Knicks postseason loss. Though still painful, the Knicks loss was slightly easier to accept because I avoided suffering back-to-back losses and I knew we were less than 48 hours away from redemption.
So, even though Knicks’ fans lost, New York sports fans really won.