5 Things That Prove The Cincinnati Sports Curse Is Very Real

5 Things That Prove The Cincinnati Sports Curse Is Very Real

How else do we explain this?
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If you talk to any sports fans in Cincinnati, you'll notice one thing about every single one of them...

Disappointment.

Reds, Bengals, Bearcats. All of them breaking sports fans hearts for decades now. Each of them have had spurts of greatness, but other than the Reds, none of them have ever taken hold of their opportunity for championships. Everyone has always said how sad Cincinnati sports are, and how they are seemingly cursed. Surely that isn't true, but when FC Cincinnati was born and was off to such a hot and historic start, and suddenly fell ill to the same destiny as their local sports comrades, I'm starting to believe.

So, Cincinnati fans, let's go on a very sad journey through the worst sporting catastrophe's this wonderful city has ever seen. We have look back at the worst, to understand the present.


1. Bearcats Football Narrowly Misses BCS Championship

When Brian Kelly took over the Bearcats football team he had great success. So much so that in 2009 the team went 12-0 after an epic defeat of Pitt, won the Big East, ranked #3 in the nation, and was a Nebraska win over Texas away from going to the National Championship. Through the strangest events, Texas ended up winning off of a last second field goal sending the Bearcats to play Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer's Gators in the Sugar Bowl. However coward Brian Kelly left the Bearcats just days after their Big East title win and headed for Notre Dame. The headless Bearcats would go on to get destroyed 51-24 by the Gators. UC Football hasn't been great ever since.


2. Carson Palmer's Knee Gets Ripped in Playoff Match

The year was 2005 and the Bengals were recovering from 14 consecutive losing seasons. Carson Palmer got his first starting season and brought the Bengals their first winning season and first playoff game since 1990. They had won the AFC North with a 11-5 record and were facing the Steelers in their historic playoff game. On the Bengals first offensive play of the game Palmer would throw a 66 yard pass to Chris Henry. However, Steelers lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen would fall into Palmer (with rather dirty fashion) and completely take out his knee. Palmer was carted off the field and wouldn't see the field again and wouldn't be the same for a long long time. Despite Jon Kitna's best efforts, the Bengals would lose and wouldn't make it back to playoffs until 2009 where they'd lose to the Jets.


3. Reds Blow 2-0 Lead in Playoffs

In 2012 the Reds were hot and would win 97 games even without Joey Votto for a vast stretch of the season. They dominated the NL Central and faced the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. After winning the first two games in San Francisco, all the Reds needed was to win ONE of the next THREE games at Great American Ballpark here in Cincy. SF would win Game one 2-1. They win Game four 8-3. Down to Game five, a must win for both teams, the Reds would fall 6-4, blowing their 2-0 lead and losing three straight games at home in the Playoffs. They'd go on to lose to Pittsburgh in a Wild Card game the following season in 2013, and the Reds have not returned to the playoffs since, and have gotten considerably worse along the way.



4. Bengals Lose 2015 Wild Card Matchup

After the terrible 2010 season, the Bengals would enter a new era under AJ Green and Andy Dalton. A fierce defense and prolific offense would lead the Bengals to 5 straight playoff appearances. The first, in Dalton and Green's rookie year, would result in a 31-10 loss to the Texans. The second, a rematch against Houston in the first round, but they'd once again fall, this time 19-13. The third year put the Bengals against a totally beatable San Diego Chargers squad at home in Paul Brown Stadium. But Dalton had an abysmal game and they'd lose 27-10. The following year they traveled to Indianapolis to face the Colts, but would lose 26-10.

Then came the 2015 season. The Bengals started out 8-0, they'd falter a little, but still finished atop the AFC North with a 12-4 record with the best Bengals squad in years and Super Bowl hopes high in the Queen City. However in Week 14 against the Steelers, Dalton would leave in the first quarter with a broken thumb, putting AJ McCarron behind center. He was good enough to beat the 49ers, and Ravens, and nearly upset the Broncos in a thriller that went to OT. However, the season came down to a McCarron lead team against the Steelers, in Cincinnati, in the first round of the playoffs.

It was the definition of a hard fought, ugly match. The Bengals would go down 15-0 and Ben Roethlisberger would leave the field injured on a cart. Suddenly the Bengals find life in the 4th quarter and score 16 unanswered points to go up 16-15 with 1:50 left in the game. All Cincinnati needs to do is run the clock out.

Jeremy Hill fumbles the ball. Big Ben comes back in, with less than a minute remaining and after a catastrophe of penalties on Burfict and Jones, the Steelers move into the field goal range and kick the winner. I'm still not sure if Cincinnati or the Bengals have recovered from the loss. Their following season didn't lead to the playoffs, and currently the Bengals are struggling to stay in the playoff race in 2017.


5. FC Cincinnati blows 2-0 lead with 15 minutes remaining

The Orange and Blue started their franchise with a very successful first season. They secured the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference and a home playoff game. They lost 2-1 to the Charleston Battery but the outlook on FCC was still incredibly good. Little did we know what we were in for when it came to their second season. The team went on an incredible US Open Cup run beating hated rivals Louisville FC, then the Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, and NASL best Miami FC. It was an incredibly epic tournament and the Fire game was probably the greatest sporting event I've ever been to.

However they then moved on to playing the New York Red Bulls in the semi-finals, whom no one really expected them to defeat. However, they took a 2-0 lead and were stunning the Red Bulls. But out of nowhere with only 15 minutes remaining, the Red Bulls would pull 2 goals back and tie the game. In extra time they go one to get the winner and end Cincinnati's cinderella run. While much of the fan base looked past the loss, it was still devastating at the time to come so close to beating a 3rd MLS team in a row, only to fall apart at the end.

What might be even worse than losing the semi-final, the team was never the same since that game. They finished the final third of the season pretty badly while still securing a 6th place seed in the Eastern Conference. However FCC's abysmal road form lead to them losing in the first round 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

So... Cincinnati is cursed.

Cincinnati has not advanced past the first round of a league playoff in decades. They've come so incredibly close, but have squandered every chance. I used to just think the Reds and Bengals were real bad, but now that FC Cincinnati has finished two seasons one and done in the playoffs, one can't help but wonder. Perhaps this is just a period of harsh luck for Cincinnati's sports teams, which will be followed by a period of unparalleled greatness. The Reds do not look to be improving anytime soon and the Bengals are stuck in a rut with Marvin Lewis at the helm. FC Cincinnati will be looking to rebuild this offseason so hopefully that yields better results next year. However, all Cincinnati fans can do now is bask in our disappointment.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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How The Warriors Are Controlling The NBA

The Golden State Warriors have started a dynasty and have the rest of the league in a frenzy trying to figure out how to beat them. This has changed the Super Team era.

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The National Basketball Association has been around for over 70 years and has been growing ever since. We have seen teams that have been well put together through the draft and free agency and seen a lot of competition. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have been the star destinations and top title winning organizations as they have won more than any other team by a wide margin. Super teams have become the new reality of the NBA during the last decade. A Super Team is when a team that contains 3 or more All-Stars with other role players filling the spots.

Everyone thinks the Super Team era started in 2010 when Lebron James made the decision to leave his hometown team the Cavaliers to form a team in South Beach with the Miami Heat with fellow stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. They won 2 titles in 4 years until Lebron left to join a new super team with the Cavaliers again. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were the new stars with James, and this group played in 4 championships, but only won one before Lebron made the move to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. I never had a problem with 2-3 guys teaming up as more and more stars started doing it, so you had a good balance. People always blame Lebron for going to Miami to start a Super Team, but people do not realize that these already existed before Lebron formed his. Lebron made the decisions to leave after his contracts to form better teams with players to take down the three current Super Teams. The Celtic drafted and signed players young in Free Agency and had 4 All-Stars during their dominance of the East Conference during the 2000s. The Celtics had Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen. Meanwhile, the Lakers had traded for young players and drafted their own to develop a championship team. The Lakers had Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Pau Gasol. The San Antonio Spurs developed their talent through the draft and signed professional players from overseas. The Spurs team included Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. These teams were formed a little differently, but they were the top 3 teams in the NBA during this time because they all had three All-Stars winning the titles.

The Warriors have dominated the league winning 3 of the last 4 NBA finals. The Warriors drafted Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green and developed these guys during their first few years. The organization then hired former NBA player Steve Kerr who won titles with Michael Jordan in the 80s. The Warriors won a championship together and then lost one to Lebron and company in 2016. This caused the Warriors to recruit one of the best players in the league Kevin Durant to join their team. He played for the Thunder in Oklahoma City on a great team, but they could never win the championships. This caused the Super Team to have 4 All Stars and they all shoot the ball so well. Their such a well-run organization and the team plays together so well, because of their teamwork and shooting ability. I love seeing team basketball and these guys spread the ball around as much as they spread the individual glory as each player has big stat lines in certain games. These guys create so many opportunities for one another and they are a pleasure to watch. Durant Green and Thompson have all been elite defenders over the years and they all including Curry shoot and pass the ball so well. They are a great representation of how to play team basketball, but a lot of people including myself feel it's too hard of a team to beat. Many people realize the Warriors can shoot better than any team in NBA history, but they have 3 Elite All-Star defenders and a few average defenders on the team. I watch them in games communicating and working so well together to stop the opposing team from scoring. They know they will get their points from their excellent shooting, but their defense is a big part of their game that fans don't realize.

As a result, Stars started realizing that the teams they were on without another star or two were not going to be able to take down this now legendary team. Paul George demanded the Indiana Pacers trade him because he would not resign with them when his contract ended. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder before the 2017 season. Kawhi Leonard was a member of the San Antonio Spurs when he demanded out after the team handled his injury differently than he wanted to. He demanded to be traded immediately and refused to play any games next season. This led to him being sent to the Toronto Raptors to play with another All-Star Kyle Lowry. Next, Jimmy Butler wanted out of Minnesota as he played with two young and talented players who were very inconsistent and "lazy" in Butler's eyes. He wanted to go somewhere he could win championships and beat the Warriors. He was traded to Philadelphia after making it public he wanted out to the entire NBA. These players are changing the landscapes because they are forcing their way out to play with other players they have a relationship with. The Rockets have All-Stars and are pushing to sign veteran players to win. Teams are doing everything they can to take down this dynasty who looks unbeatable in a seven-game series.

The Warriors have now added one of the best centers in basketball due to his Achilles injury because nobody jumped on signing him early due to not knowing if he could play well. He is now healthy and playing very well for this team that now has 5 All-Stars and they are beyond the betting favorite. Anthony Davis has now requested a trade to leave his team that has no All-Stars to get somewhere better to win and be able to somehow beat this team. The Warriors have officially taken over the NBA in these last few years because they have become the focus of every team. Teams are trying to match their shooting and grab elite defenders to handle their high field goal percentage. Some teams are loading up on young guys knowing they have no chance of winning and others are trying to get All-Star players and vets that match the Warriors style. The NBA is going through a phase where if your team does not contain three All-Stars and have plenty of high percentages shot makers, then you will not be able to beat the Warriors who are the new NBA standard. Whether you think the competition is fair or not, because it is the reality of the league.

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