The Goose/Maverick Tailspin
Level II: The Goose/Maverick Tailspin
Definition: Cruising happily through the baseball regular season, a potential playoff team suddenly and inexplicably goes into a tailspin, can’t bounce out of it and ends up crashing for the season. In “Top Gun,” the entire scene lasted for 30 seconds and we immediately moved to a couple of scenes in which Tom Cruise tried to make himself cry on camera but couldn’t quite pull it off. In sports, the Goose/Maverick Tailspin could last for two weeks, four weeks, maybe even two months, but as long as it’s happening, you feel like your entire world is collapsing. It’s like an ongoing Stomach Punch Game. And when it finally ends, you spend the rest of your life reliving it every time a TV network shows a montage of the worst collapses in sports history. Other than that, it’s no big deal.
Best Example: The incredible collapse of the 2007 Mets. I have three buddies who root for them, so I was able to witness the emotional devastation firsthand: in five days, they went from planning for the playoffs to planning for a potential nightmare. Just when it looked like the ship had been righted, they were swept at home by the lowly Nationals, passed by the Phillies, given a second life on Saturday with a Phillies loss and Maine’s one-hitter and then, just as abruptly, everything ended when Tom Glavine got shelled by the Marlins. Win or lose on Sunday, the damage had already been done to the psyche of Mets fans. On Friday night, as Cole Hamels was pitching Philly to victory, my friend Paul Raff (a Mets fan) sent me the following e-mail: “Honestly, it’s such a betrayal by the team. They have ruined us fans this season and last October. I hate this sport now. They’ve violated and befouled every [expletive] nuance of the game, playoffs or no playoffs.” Now that’s a baseball fan with some healing to do.
The Levels of Losing 2.0