Seven. Fifty-Nine. One Hundred and Six. Twenty-Three. To most people, these numbers have no meaning, just random digits that could stand for anything – a weather report, bingo numbers, answers to a child’s math quiz. To those that can decipher these numbers, they create a more visceral reaction, as they stand for shame and humiliation, a permanent stain forever associated with part of their identity. Or, for those outside its sphere of relevance, as a source for ridicule, derision, and perhaps misguided feelings of superiority.
I don’t expect or seek any sympathy. In fact, I choose not to look at these numbers negatively. I can’t allow myself to. With the national media continuously hammering on the Charlotte Bobcats, and commentators in the social media universe having fun at our expense, it can take a toll, and may even force the less hardened and resilient among us to just walk away from the catastrophe.
But here is where I flip it on them – I’m taking ownership of the numbers. I look at those numbers as a source of pride, not because of any hidden accomplishment or a sudden adoption of a masochistic lifestyle. For me, they stand as an affirmation of my loyalty and devotion to the team, however blind it may seem to outsiders.