In every great movie, there is a great villain. Creating adversity, personified via a single entity, for the protagonist to overcome is the most time-honored of all storytelling techniques. Bruce Willis struggles, sacrifices, suffers and eventually triumphs. We cheer and begin the countdown until when we can hand over 20 dollars to watch him do it again.
But what if Willis didn't save the day? What if John McClane's last words were "yippie-ki-yay" and he was shot in the back of the head before he could complete his sentence? Would we still love movies as much if the bad guys always won?
That's what is going on in sports right now. It has been a horrendous year for haters. The powerhouse teams, the ones fans love to loathe, have spent the last 12 months racking up title after title. Their bandwagons have transformed into monster trucks and all other teams are just the junkers getting crushed by their tires.
First the Lakers, the NBA's glamour franchise and a team whose sustained run of success in the 1980s and 2000s created multiple generations of fair-weather fans, take home the hardware. No neutral fan was rooting for them.
Then, the Yankees win the World Series in a year when their star player admitted to using steroids and their payroll ballooned to $208 million, $63 million more than any other team. While the team's defenders may say "Don't hate the player, hate the game," in this case fans have compromised and decided to hate both.
Now Duke spoils one of the great underdog stories in recent history and earns the right to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.
What's next? France winning the World Cup after cheating to get in? Brett Favre coming out of retirement to lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl title? Learning a hot tub time machine was utilized to change the headline from "Miracle on Ice" to "Soviets Destroy America?"
The only bright spot in the last year for those fans that root against overdogs (other than the Saints bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Bourbon Street) was the downfall of Tiger Woods. But now he's back and is the favorite to win the Masters. Given the current trend, it seems inevitable that he'll be wearing the Green Jacket come Sunday. All haters can do to avoid watching it happen is to head to the movies, where thankfully, the villains still lose in the end.