Sometimes it absolutely stinks to love a favourite sports franchise that seems to come so close to winning the championship only to suffer defeat year after year.
I have witnessed my fave baseball club win (Actually, I was at the game for the Joe Carter walkoff) but the last time my number one hockey club won was a week before I was born. My favourite football team hasn't hoisted silver since they were in the AFL and the last time my long-suffering Wolverhampton Wanderers (soccer, for you noobs) took their place in history was when my mum was in kindergarten.
Being a sports fan is painful. When you go crazy for the West Brom Baggies, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Cavs, Seattle Seahawks, or Toronto Maple Leafs you are used to the bitterest agony. Your friends and family are accustomed to your tears and tales of the one who got away. People take their favourite club personally like it is a part of them.
But while I have sympathy for your plight and my own, we have nada on the 7800 folks who pack the Curt Frenzel Stadium in Augsberg, Germany.
The Augsberg Panthers are by far the oldest professional hockey team in the World, a full 22 years more ancient than Slavia Prague of the Czech league. At 132 years of age, they are a decade more ancient than the English Football League.
The Augsberg club that was swept in the finals this year has the most notorious record of choking in professional ice hockey. They have never won the top-level German championship. EVER. The few times they have tasted an iota of glory were during a 20-year period where Germany had them in a semi-pro league. During the 95-year period where Germany had one pro league they never claimed victory and since then, well they've still stunk. Since the forming of the DEL, this year's finals appearance marked the only occasion that they made it past the first round of the playoffs and the highest they've placed in the standings is 7th. The sports fans living in Germany's second-oldest city may well be the most long-suffering fans out there.
So the next time I hear any of you fuckers whine about the Toronto Maple Leafs paying outlandish salaries and still finishing in the crapper, I will direct you to this image. Notice that the only guy smiling is the team doctor.