Monday, November 24, 2008

Sports medicine

You'll please excuse central-Ohio sports fans if we harbor an inferiority complex. We've earned it.

I'm not talking about the bumbling Browns and Bengals, the Indians or the Reds. In recent years, none of those teams has come close to winning our hearts, much less breaking them -- and besides, those Cleveland and Cincinnati franchises are too far away, really, to feel like home teams.

No, this is about a handful of oh-so-promising squads, nearly all of them clad in scarlet and gray, that have toyed with our optimism over the last two years.

The undefeated and top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes football team entered the 2007 BCS National Championship game as a prohibitive favorite -- and was drubbed by Florida.

A few months later, OSU's men's basketball team made it to the NCAA Championship final and, like their gridiron brethren, lost to Florida.

The Ohio State men's soccer team took a run at the 2007 NCAA title, but lost to Wake Forest in the championship game.

Our hometown AFL franchise, the Columbus Destroyers, shocked the indoor-football world by reaching the 2007 Arena Bowl -- and surprised no one by losing to the San Jose SaberCats.

The football Buckeyes, again ranked #1 after the 2007 regular season, had a second-straight shot at a BCS championship, only to be denied vindication in the 2008 title game by LSU.

In the 2008 NCAA wrestling tournament, Ohio State finished second to champion Iowa.

A year after losing in the NCAA final, the OSU men's basketball team did win a championship -- the second-tier, sister-kissing 2008 NIT.

Is it any wonder that our battle cry is "We're #2"?

Then yesterday, the Columbus Crew delivered us a title. At this moment, it doesn't matter that Ohio State football still reigns supreme in this city, that the Clippers have been here longer or that the Blue Jackets have more fans.

A Columbus team is bringing home a national-championship trophy.

For millions of sports fans, even those of us who don't care much about soccer, that MLS Cup is soothing salve. Although our celebration won't compare to what followed the Buckeyes' 2003 BCS National Championship win, right now we're busily digging through our closets for something black-and-gold to wear -- and then, by god, we're gonna party.