Having any form of favouritism or preference for a team or player leads to both euphoria (however infrequently in some cases), and much more inevitably, disappointment. But sporting disappointment and frustration comes in many forms.
There is a form of disappointment that will be alien to the fans of the perpetually victorious (Barcelona, Djokovic, the All Blacks, etc.) Undeniably they experience defeat, failure and even humiliation on occasion but not that constant, resigned disappointment that comes from knowing you are going to lose, and that indeed becoming reality. Losing in the semi-finals or coming only 3rd isn't quite the same as week after week turning up for an ultimately "pointless" Saturday afternoon.
|This lad hasn't got used to English|
national teams just yet. He will...
A thrilling run of victories, followed by a home defeat to the team bottom of the league. A decent patch of form then a cup defeat to a lower league team. Reaching the final rounds of a few tournaments then crashing out to a qualifier in the first round.
As British people we of course wisely expect the worst, a realism/pessimism spawned from years of watching our national team fail to meet their potential. How much more frustrating then, when we allow ourselves to believe, to have some hope, to permit just that sneaking faith in the chances of victory and glory, only for the inevitable to happen again. However much we might kick ourselves for allowing hope to conquer realism, we know that it will do the same again next time.
So when England are 233-4, chasing a record 340 against Sri Lanka, don't give hope an inch.
When we're 12-6 up in the second half against a 14-man Wales team, don't give hope an inch.
If Sunday evening comes and an Englishman is leading at Augusta by 5 shots, don't start celebrating until that Green Jacket is wrapped around him like a blanket
And on the 11th June this year, when we beat France and only have to get past Sweden and Ukraine in order to progress, don't let yourself believe.
There's nothing that will make you sick to the stomach like abandoning your inherently British pessimism and starting to hope against all hope, only for the result to be even worse than you'd ever imagined to start with.