As a good Catholic, I will have to venture to confession this weekend, as Sunday gave me a serious case of Schadenfreude. For those of you not familiar with this term, it is pleasure that one derives from the misfortunes of others. Strangely, I gain this joy only from watching the defeats and poor decision by athletes I cannot stand.
Sunday gave me a trio of triumphs. My 7 a.m. viewing of ESPN let me know that Tiger Woods owned a four-shot lead going into the final round of the Chevron World Challenge in California. My devilish attitude towards Woods, which I had established long before his infidelity became public, led me to wish he would blow the lead.
Courtesy of the accurate putter of Graeme McDowell, this year’s U.S. Open champion, Woods had to contend a playoff. McDowell’s clutch birdie putt on the first extra hole and Woods’ failure to convert his own denied the marital miscreant a victory. The defeat means that Woods will finish 2010 without any tour wins and marks the first time he has lost after leading by at least 3 shots going into the final round. I hope this offseason gives him many moments to reflect on his off-season.
I also hope Jayson Werth enjoys owning 13 postseason home runs because adding to his total seems unlikely. Sunday he signed a 7-year contract worth $126 million to play for the Washington Nationals, who could serve as a holiday doormat for those who will host friends and relatives this Christmas. Here’s to watching Roy Halladay’s array of pitches baffle the bearded one next season.
My joy became elevated when I saw that the lowly Dallas Cowboys had defeated the overrated Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning, their suddenly interception-prone quarterback. I have always disliked Manning. I would delight in his futile college attempts to defeat the University of Florida and loved that the New Orleans Saints’ upset victory in this year’s Super Bowl leaves Manning with one title. Surely I would like to have led a Super Bowl-winning team, but that I never will does not make me envy him.
In fact, it makes me admire the Saints even more. Manning has looked off this season, and each pick that opponents take back for six points leads me to believe that defenses are finally starting to up the pressure on him. He will likely go down as the greatest statistical quarterback ever, but if he adds to his collection of errant throws, he and Brett Favre, another of my targets for vitriol, will go to Canton with only two Super Bowls between them.
Santa, can you help a loyal believer?