Sports Moments to Delay the Onset of the Stages of Grief

This was written by someone outside of The Stampede — Gail Parambi


Gail Parambi, Outside Writer

Alexa, Alexa; this is so sad. Alexa, I’m going to cry. Actually I’m not but internally this feels true. Alexa, please remind me to never watch playoff hockey ever again. Alexa, why has every single bracket in 2019, from March Madness to the NHL, been filled with abject chaos? Upsets aren’t nearly as much fun when your team isn’t the quirky underdog anymore.

I can’t even take comfort in unadulterated animosity towards the team that has beaten the Washington Capitals; the Carolina Hurricanes are too disarmingly charming (Storm Surge! A terrific, radiant pig named Hamilton! Support from the still-incredible Zion Williamson!) for me to pontificate against. Instead, I’m going to find fun sports-related items from the past year in which I may take solace. Some call this unnecessary. I call it mourning.


>5: The Good Upsets from This Year’s Bracket

I will be the first to admit that I took a great deal of pleasure in New York’s out-of-nowhere sweep of the Pittsburgh Pancakes. Ditto for a Game 7 victory in victory green by the Dallas Stars, a team for whom I hold no especially strong feelings, save for a resounding “cool, I guess”. John Klingberg’s overtime goal elicited that self same response. The Stars ‘spark joy’ for me in the same way that coming across a broadcast of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on a Friday night while flipping through channels sparks joy. Neither is the best nor my favorite in their respective categories, whether that’s Western Conference teams or members of the Harry Potter franchise, but neither falls on the wrong side of boring. The Stars might have played “Sweet Victory” from SpongeBob SquarePants at a game once? That’s cool. Best of luck to them and their lovely pet cow, Mike Moodano, in the upcoming series against the St. Louis Blues, a team that is (and this is completely true) part of the NHL.

And of course, my last hope (not really–I can be pragmatic on occasion) in these desperate times: the Colorado Avalanche. Their win against a formerly dominant Calgary Flames was both unexpected and fun, and the exact kind of pleasant chaos I want from this season.

>5a: The Pittsburgh Pensioners Are Swept in the First Round

Am I allowed to say this? I’m saying this.


>4: The Detroit Lions Win a Game

We did that, I think. I’m not checking my sources here because I think I caught the tail end of one game this season at an airport and that was it for my football viewership but I think we won a game. Who knows what’s in store for next year? I’m shivering with anticipatory chills.


>3: Roger Federer Wins His 100th ATP Singles Title

Hello to tennis-loving fathers everywhere; this one’s for you. As far as I can tell, to be a father and to love tennis is to love Roger Federer, who happens to be a father who loves tennis. Aside from that, Federer is also indisputably one of the Greatest of All Time, though no one needed me to tell them that, least of all Fathers Who Love Tennis. His big win in Dubai back in March placed him in rank and file with all-time legends like Martina Navratilova, Jimmy Connors, and Chris Evert. Smooching his ship-shaped trophy, fireworks erupting in celebration behind him, he appeared for all the world like the homecoming old warrior, wiser for his struggles along the way. The paternal figure in me may have come close to tears; it may have even allowed a droplet to escape.

(P.S. Y’all seen his ad for that pasta company? What happens is that there’s this big fancy gala-type thing and everyone is making merry and then Mr. Federer comes in with a plate of spaghetti and a lady takes a bite while everyone holds their breath. And then she makes that big old advertisement-smile of food-bliss and Roger (Can I call him Roger? I’ve been watching him for so many years that I think we might be on first-name basis by now) pronounces “Bon appetito!” like he’s pronouncing them Noodle and Wife and jazz plays and everyone dances. It’s a very nice ad and I just ate some pasta which was indeed very good, but it’s also kind of funny because I don’t think the man has consumed a carbohydrate in years.)


>2: Im Trying Jennifer

Remember when the Trailblazers weren’t actually winning playoff series? Feels like just last year, right? It was. CJ McCollum knows the pain of perennial almost-success better than many, having been drafted by Portland in 2013. He was forced to reconcile with this tragic history in August of 2018 when a viewer (the aforementioned Jennifer) confronted him about his team’s precedent of Kinda Getting There but Not Really.

The best part of his response (the titular “Im trying Jennifer” [punctuation as written]) is absolutely unknowable. There is simply too much material in this text for it to be truly understood. It has evolved to take its own place in the definitive history of human interaction, out of which due to its status as a meme may spout endless references and callbacks. Its potential origin as a play on the “Karen” jokes regarding out-of-touch members of prior generations recalls the words of Pulitzer-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy: “The novel depends for its life on the novels that have been written.” From this we may infer that impactful media draws from the past and informs the future. I’m still talking about this meme after about [finger math time; attempts to remember month order via rudimentary song; intense furrowing of brow] eight months, so we can reliably say that this meme has been at least kind of impactful. Or something.


>1: Fergie Performs the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game (2018)

This one’s kind of cheating because it’s over a year ago but it’s too good. It’s too good for me to not include. To exclude it from this list would be like excluding Frank Ocean’s Blonde from Album of the Year talk way back when. We must learn from our mistakes; thus, Fergie’s magical, incredible, unforgettable, astounding, breathtaking, hilarious performance is the one true candidate for top Fun Sports Moment. It’s the kind of thing that escapes description. It eludes the most precise of adjectives, the most articulate turn of phrase. You simply must watch it, though I’m sincerely hoping you have already. I’m telling you this for your own good. If you’ve already seen it, might I suggest watching it again? I’m thinking about it right now and enjoying a nice hearty chuckle. Her “WhOOaaa, WHOOaaa, WHOOOAAA” is drowning out the commentators’ narration of Brock McGinn’s OT game-winning goal that’s been on loop in my head since our loss. God save the queen.