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Being held hostage by sports in 2014

When New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik accidentally tipped in a game-tying basket for the opposing San Antonio Spurs as the game clock expired on New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t even surprised. As a fan, watching a player sink a seemingly impossible buzzer-beating shot against his own team seemed par for the course for this year.

My favorite teams tortured me from the first week of January to the last few hours of December, and from a sports perspective, I’m glad to see 2014 fade away.

There’s nothing worse than being held hostage by your favorite team. Bad seasons happen, and any self-aware person should be able to recognize when the team they support just doesn’t have what it takes to succeed. Rational fans accept this and watch without hope, keeping their expectations low and taking whatever happens in stride.

But this year’s Saints team actually inspired a slight amount of hope, winning high profile games against impressive teams on a few occasions, only to immediately snuff that hope by getting demolished the very next week. To make matters worse, most fans couldn’t truly give up on the season because the NFC’s South division was terrible across the board. With only six wins, the Saints were alone in first place with two weeks left to play in the season – that’s unprecedented.

It was also a nightmare, because every sensible football fan knew in early September that the 2014 New Orleans Saints weren’t a very good team. Yet we kept watching every week like moths to a flame, setting ourselves up for the next disappointment.

When it was over, I was almost relieved.

I’ll now turn my attention to the New Orleans Pelicans to see if they can redeem the professional sports landscape of the Big Easy. With a talented roster that includes one of the best players in the world, the Pelicans are a blast to watch, but I can’t take many more endings like the one from New Year’s Eve.

Thankfully, it was the last moment of a sports year that I am happy to forget.