This week, Bill Littlefield found himself sympathizing with all the teams whose fans are already waiting for next year.
I think today of teams that play without the hope of winning.
For some it has been pretty much that way since the beginning,
And nothing since this season's dawn has altered their dismay.
Pandora's box popped open for them on the Op'ning Day.
Nor did the lid get shut. Perhaps it never will again ...
For none, I fear, can see how they might ever win or when.
Both NFL teams in New York, quite hapless, seek to strive.
Together all the games they've won add up to only five.
How bad is that? Consider this: a team that's semi-great
By this time in the season has piled up some nine or eight
Imposing wins, and though they linger somewhere shy of heaven,
The Packers, Lions, and the Cowboys? Each has managed seven.
The NBA has clubs that couldn't climb without a rope
From those deep cellars wherein they are now inclined to mope.
The Timberwolves are howling there. The Lakers? Levels lower.
And starting out the season, no team has been any slower
Than Philly, home of cheese steaks, Rocky's most unlikely dreams,
And also several really dreary, hopeless roundball teams.
I wonder, maybe you do, too, how teams that lose so much
At any season's start can hope to find, once more, their touch ...
Or, never mind their touch, the will to show up everyday
To work with no real hope at what they once enjoyed as play.
"The money," you will say, and, sure, the money helps, I guess,
But pros arrive with pride and with the season such a mess
That almost from the day it starts it starts to fall apart,
A player's bound to feel it toward the bottom of his heart.
So let us take a moment to consider all the clubs
That flail and fail and fall apart like any luckless schlubs:
The misfits and the malcontents, the clumsy, clueless clowns
Who can't imagine ups for all the overwhelming downs,
For they, just like the winners, have to show up for the game,
Although they know the end result will likely be the same
As it has been, night after night, week after week as well,
Since first the season indicated it was going to smell.
They cannot choose to quit, these teams, they cannot walk away.
Without them, all the other teams would have no one to play.
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