The Plight of a Cincinnati Sports Fan

Posted: January 2, 2018 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Ryan Sparks

“That means the Bengals are going to suck for another 2 years.”  While that is the opinion held by many, it was odd hearing it from where I heard it.  Those are the words of an extremely soft spoken 7-year-old.  A 7-year-old who cringes when I cuss.  A 7-year-old who often says, “Dad, LANGUAGE!” A 7-year-old who doesn’t use the word “suck”.

For 15 years, Marvin Lewis has been a Cincinnati staple.  When you think of Cincinnati, you think of Skyline Chili, Graeter’s Ice Cream and Montgomery Inn.  Unfortunately, from a lifelong Cincinnati sports fan, those go hand in hand with underachieving sports teams.  The amount of sleep I’ve lost over this collective group of teams is staggering.

I’m 37 years old, so my recollection doesn’t go back as far as some, but let me recount some vivid memories.

I’ll take you back to March 9, 2000.  The University of Cincinnati was playing St. Louis in the first round of the Conference USA basketball tournament.   Less than 3 minutes into the game, the consensus National Player of the Year, Kenyon Martin, broke his leg, effectively dashing any hopes of UC competing for the National Title.  UC ended up losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Next, let’s go to 2009.   Texas vs Nebraska (bear with me here).  Texas QB Colt McCoy rolls right and tosses a pass out of bounds.  The clock reads 0.00.  The refs converge, and put 1 second back on the clock which allows Texas to kick a 46 yard field goal to beat Nebraska.  Why does that matter, you ask?  That 46 yard field goal knocked the University of Cincinnati to number 3 in the BCS standings, meaning they didn’t get to play for the National Title.

To add insult to injury, Brian Kelly left the Bearcats to become Notre Dame’s head coach a few short days after.

Fast forward to 2012.  The Cincinnati Reds were considered one of, if not the team to beat in Major League Baseball.  They cruised through the regular season, won 97 games (second only to the Nationals), and won the NL Central by 9 games.

Come playoff time, Cincinnati fans were feeling great after going to San Francisco and winning the first two games of their best of five series.  The Reds were coming home, only needing to with one game.  2-1, 8-3, 6-4.  Those were the next 3 games.  All won by the San Francisco Giants.

People often talk about curses.  The curse of the Bambino.  The curse of the Billy Goat.  The curse of an extremely shitty run organization.  Okay, maybe I made that one up, but it brings me (finally) back to my original point.  There are no curses.  There is only epic failure as a result of years of ineptitude.

The city of Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff series since 1995.  Highlighted in that epic run of failure is the Cincinnati Bengals.  Let me throw that number 7 at you again.  0-7.  That is Marvin Lewis’ record in the playoffs.  People want to fondly remember 2005.  When the Bengals came out of nowhere to go to the playoffs for the first time since 1990, only to have Carson Palmer tear his ACL on the second play of the wild card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Or 2013 when the Bengals were significant favorites against an overmatched San Diego Chargers team, but managed to lose by 17. And it wasn’t that close.  I was there.

Oh, and then there was 2015, when Marvin Lewis completely lost control of his team and players.  Those players managed to blow a game to the Pittsburgh Steelers through acts or dirty plays, blatant disregard for the rules and their opponents, and a disrespect for their head coach.

Today, 1/2/18, those same Cincinnati Bengals signed Marvin Lewis to a 2 year extension.  The same Marvin Lewis that Adam Schefter reported was leaving the Bengals after this year.  The same Marvin Lewis that had his team quit on him that led to a 26 point loss to the Bears (the BEARS!).  The same Marvin Lewis that has been defiant in every press conference for the last 15 years and insulting all fans’ intelligence along the way.  The same Marvin Lewis who reiterated his goal is to bring a world championship to Cincinnati.

The problem, Marvin, is that no one believes a word you say anymore.  This is the classic case of over-promising and under delivering.

This is a dangerous precedent that the Bengals are setting.  I’d imagine what I’m feeling is not the best-case scenario for the Bengals.  I should feel heartbroken like I did in 2000 when Kenyon broke his leg.  I should feel frustrated like I did when Texas made that field goal against Nebraska.  I should feel disappointed like I did when the Reds lost game 5 to the Giants.  I should be pissed off like I was in 2015 when the Bengals lost to the Steelers.

But I don’t feel any of those things.  Not even a little bit.  I wasn’t surprised.  I wasn’t mad.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I wasn’t even frustrated.

I was apathetic.

I am to the point where I don’t give two shits about what the Bengals do.  I don’t care if they win.  I don’t care if they lose.  I don’t care if they get arrested, get in a fight on the field, commit ridiculous penalties and cost themselves thousands of dollars.   I don’t care if they threaten to move if they don’t get tax dollars from people who actually give a shit about doing the right thing.  After all, if they don’t give a shit, why should I?  And that is the most dangerous feeling of all.

Someone pass me an LA Rams jersey…


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