Many are annoyed this morning, but likely a majority are simply embarrassed. One or two years can be forgiven but this has clearly reached a tipping point and changes are supposedly coming soon. What's interesting though is that just six months ago entire city enjoyed a month-long party as the Pirates enjoyed a final-game loss in their second round of playoffs. You'd hardly even be able to tell the Pirates had any postseason difficulty, in fact you'd be forgiven if you thought the team actually managed to win the World Series last fall based on the fan reaction. So what's the difference?
Really it's a matter of talent and expectations. The Pirates are underfunded, under-talented, and playing before an unspoiled fan base. As long as the games are close and the team tries hard and stays competitive, it's hard to complain. The Penguins, however, play before sell-out crowds who have a keen memory on what a long playoff run looks like, as well as 15 game win streaks and MVPs. It's old news, and with the talent on the team, it's expected. The best the Penguins can hope is to break even with a heartbreaking Stanley Cup loss, or actually impress with a Cup win.
In many ways, I see this in school everyday. There are students who are better readers/writers than me, and there are some who make me question how they made to their senior year. I don't value a student more or less based on their pre-set intelligence, but I do judge them heavily based on their effort. A slower student who consistently tries and asks questions is infinitely better than a brilliant student performing at an average level. Most outsiders would assume the most frustrating kid would be the one who talks constantly and disrupts the class, but I don't find that to be true. Usually it's the student sitting on centuries of good genes, a childhood full of inherent wisdom, a memory of diverse content...with no ambition, direction, or drive who disappoints the most. Even Jesus himself once said "To whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48). The Penguins should learn that lesson soon....and I'm hoping some of my students learn this quickly. Life will certainly find space for a smart, average, underachieving person...but what a waste. There's too many unsolved problems to allow for that much untapped talent.