Is it over yet?

I am not built for playoff drives in sports.

I can take it in curling because an entire bonspiel lasts a week, and so by the time you get into debates over what teams need to do to make the playoffs you only have about a day or so — and likely about three games — left. So you start from musings about how a win or loss might impact the standings, and what they might have to do based on that, jump to the more definite discussions, and finally end up knowing the final results in a very short time. So I can live with it and even kinda enjoy the musings.

But in any sport with a longer season — baseball and hockey being the two that I most follow — I burn out on that sort of tension very quickly. I always end up wishing that the whole thing would just end already … even if a team that I’m cheering for is still trying to make the playoffs, like what happened with the Senators in hockey last year, and even with the Blue Jays last year. When you have a season that’s run for several months, and the playoff hype is starting, it seems that I, basically, just want the playoffs to start, and for the season to end.

Maybe the issue for me is that I consider the regular season to be more routine watching, and the playoffs as the more interesting and important thing to watch. Generally, I watch the regular season when convenient and make an effort to watch the playoffs. The end of the regular season kinda falls in-between those two, since it’s still kinda routine and still kinda important; the specific games matter but not as much as playoff games. Thus, while I can tolerate the tension for short periods of time, over the long haul I burn out because the only reason there’s tension there is because they’re trying to get into the playoffs, and at that point I’m already looking forward to the playoffs starting, which is what I’m more interested in. In curling, the games aren’t routine — because this is the only week you’ll be able to watch that bonspiel, at least, and each of them are different — and so I treat them all like special events, with the playoffs then merely being the culmination of the tournament, instead of being something completely distinct from it.

Ultimately, then, the issue is that the longer regular seasons hide too much the importance of the games — as early losses can be as devastating as late losses, even if they don’t look like it — which allows me to think of the games as routine, which then leads to a bit of fatigue with how long the season has been running, especially when the hype is pushing me to really care about those games that I haven’t been caring that much about for months, and maintain that for weeks at a time. I just don’t have the hype stamina to do that [grin].


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