Dear Nets, I blame myself

Derek Evers

Dear Brooklyn Nets,

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You lost, and it's all my fault.

You never asked for me to be your fan (well, except for the tens of millions of dollars you spent asking me to be your fan), I did it of my own accord. I was enthralled by the legends of Robinson, Hodges, Pee Wee, Campanella, and the grand larceny of Walter O'Malley. I grew up knowing that the LA version of the Dodgers are but a sham; a reminder that for one very brief moment in time, the allure of Los Angeles was brighter than that of New York City. And I spent a lifetime wondering why no one saw fit to bring another pro franchise to the fourth largest city in America.

But when we started this courtship, I failed to mention the skeletons in my sports closet (Sports Skeletons, if you will. There's other stuff in there, some coathangers, a few frames I haven't used. But mostly it's Sports Skeletons).

What I'm trying to say is, I'm damaged goods.

Heartbreaking, and often horrendously unfair losses have come to personify my fandom. “Wide Right” and “No Goal” my mantra. I am fortunate enough to vaguely remember the 1986 World Series, but you should know now that's the only championship a team I root for has won in my lifetime. At all. Ever.

Yet here I am.

And I've brought with me my baggage of Bills, Sabres and Mets. To the rest of the sports world, you're a new and exciting franchise. To me, you're a beacon of hope, a new shoulder to rest my very heavy, unfulfilled expectations. You didn't ask for this burden, so how could anyone blame you for failing to live up to even your modest expectations? Not in your first season at least.

Do you mind if I cry for a second?

OK. That's better.

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but this won't be your last agonizing defeat, your last Loser Rodeo. So you'd better get used to repeatedly getting back up on that horse, only to find excruciating new ways to fall off of it. The good news is that you're well on your way to creating an identity so steeped in losing that it will become near impossible to shed the stench of failure. With each payoff loss, it will be woven into your fabric, like a Failure Quilt knit by Grannies of Shame.

Of course, it makes perfect sense that the full circle of my sports misery should bring us to Brooklyn, home of the original Bums. At least now, together, we can adopt their slogan of a time once forgotten—'Wait 'til next year.' That should gives a sense of warmth and history to accompany the pain I will bring you.

I just hope you'll always remember that with each heartbreaking playoff exit, it's not you, it's me.

I'm sorry for being your fan.

Sincerely,
Derek Evers

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