North Texas is hurting. We’re not talking about the traffic, the smog, the politics, the fracking-generated earthquakes, or the expanding waistlines of most of our friends and neighbors. No, North Texas is hurtin’ in ye olde sports department
Over the past year or so, the region’s major pro and big-time college teams have been simply dreadful. Last season, the Stars had a wide-open opportunity to make the playoffs but curled up and played dead. The Mavericks, a year after winning their first NBA championship, limped into the playoffs last year and were promptly swept. TCU, in its first season of BCS automatic qualifying, has gone –– in one season –– from possible national-championship contender to ho-hum middler, no little thanks to a DUI charge against former starting quarterback Casey Pachall that landed him in rehab. The Rangers’ back-to-back World Series appearances (2010, 2011) –– and losses, including one sealed tragically by the errantly placed glove of right-fielder Nelson Cruz –– evidently sapped Wash and company of their strength. They had first place in the American League West all but wrapped up this year with only a few games left. But our boys in blue lost five of their last six –– including three in a row to the eventual division leaders, the Oakland Athletics –– and were reduced to playing the Cinderella Orioles of Baltimore in the wild card. And boom went the implosion.
If we were living in a city simply cursed with athletic misfortune (*cough* Cleveland! *cough* Minnesota!), few of us would be terribly upset or surprised with our home teams’ ballooning loss columns and late-season meltdowns. But we live in North Texas, one of the largest media markets in the country and a region historically looked down favorably upon by the gods of sweaty, skilled competition –– our teams’ failures are even more egregious. Remember two years ago, when the Cowboys were supposed to win the Super Bowl here in Arlington? Haha! Wow. How ridiculous was that?! The silver and blue have not made the playoffs since then –– and have a chance to make them this year but must rely on the continued futility of their conference rivals to survive. Talk about underperforming. Talk about sad.
Now may be a good time to break out your old varsity letterman’s jacket and get rowdy under the Friday night lights of your high school alma mater.