Streaks are an integral part of sports, as even any casual fan would tell you. Hardcore fans probably know at least 3-4 that involve their favorite teams for better or worse. Whether it’s about individual players or team performance, I believe fans gravitate toward streaks because they represent achievements in consistency or inconsistency. Whether it makes you nervous in the 9th inning or boosts your confidence for a home game in the snow, it gives sports fans something to count on. At the end of the day, most people want to know what to expect, particularly from their diversions. On an emotional level, we also seem to relish the unrelenting hope or the heart-felt agony that comes from keeping a streak alive. However, I’ve been able to narrow my sports fulfillment down to one important streak.
Let me give you the number from my streak: 0. I’ll give you another way to look at it: Never. Here’s one more: Undefeated. Are you ready for the streak now?
Since my wife and I have been dating, the USC Trojans have never lost a game we’ve watched together. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same bar, home or stadium, as long as we’re in the same place there have been no losses. All the losses have come when we’ve viewed a game separately. It’s important to note that we’ve both watched virtually every USC game in that span.
While the streak illustrates the dominance of our favorite team, it’s become much more than that to us. It’s a reminder that we both love the same team, that we have something in common that has connected us since before the start of our relationship. No matter what happens the rest of the week, we can sit down on Saturday and love the same thing just as intensely as the person sitting next to us.
The game that solidified the existence of said streak was this past season’s UCLA game. She went, I didn’t. Now before Trojan fans everywhere try to harm us for ruining a shot at the National Title, remember that we weren’t aware of the streak’s power at that point.
When I think back to my favorite sports moments, they all revolve around USC. But what I’ve come to realize over time, is that those moments aren’t really my favorite because of what happened on the field. Those moments are my most treasured because of how they made me feel and who I could share that with.
My favorite game of all time was the 2005 Notre Dame game at South Bend. It had all the drama on the field you could ask for in a college football game, with history and rivalry raising the importance. It was excruciatingly nerve-wracking until the end, as the game was always in doubt. When Leinart completed the pass on 4th and 9 to Jarrett it was pandemonium. We all literally stood to watch the rest of the game. When Leinart got into the end zone as the clock expired we were positively giddy. But the moment I will always cherish was when my wife leaped into my arms and we hugged for what felt like 30 minutes. Not just any hug, the kind of tight, passionate embrace you would expect from a solider coming back from war. It was simple. I loved her, she loved me, our team won. It was perfect.
The bond my wife and I have formed around USC football is far from the most important thing in our life. But, the streak is powerful because it can serve as a microcosm for our relationship. USC won’t always be a dynasty and perennial national title contender but we’ll always be there to support them, much like we’ll always be there to support each other for better or worse. Nothing will make us quit. There’s always another game or another season, just like they’ll always be another day or another year. Win, lose or draw in sports or in life, I want to face it with her. Someday, maybe even this year, USC will lose a game we’ll watch together. We’ll probably be upset for a little while and complain about something as we’ve done in the past when the Trojans lose. Then we’ll remember we have each other, there will always be another Saturday and the only real loss is being apart from one another. And once again, all will be right with the world.
(Editors Note: This photo is from a Christmas Card Photo Shoot. Clearly, it is the QB-Center exchange and not an examination of any sort)