Wisconsin and a Decade Plus of Sports Heartbreak


“Help me Giannis Antetokounmpo you are my only hope” 


Well maybe that’s a little melodramatic but it certainly feels that way at the moment. 


In a few weeks it’ll be 10 years since the last major Wisconsin team won a title. (Apologies to Whitewater and Oshkosh) In the meantime there has been heartbreak a plenty, with each team coming close to the pinnacle of the sport only to lose a soul crushing loss. So let’s revisit the pain. 


The Packers have reached the NFC championship three times since 2010 but never been able to make that elusive Super Bowl. The 2016 and 2020 losses were bad but the 2014 heartbreak will live on forever. 


The Badgers football team has been on the precipice of the college football playoff a few times this decade only to fall short in the Big Ten Championship game. They are consistently a top 10 team, but never making that final four is so painful. 


The Badgers basketball team is even more painful as they were so close in 2014 and 2015 before losing two different games that they had full potential of winning. As random as the tournament is, you couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the Badgers were the best team in the Final Four both seasons.


The Marquette basketball team has been a little less painful as they haven’t really gotten close in recent history. The elite 8 loss didn’t feel like heartbreak because you really didn’t expect to make it that far. 


The Brewers have made the NLCS twice, with the most recent in 2018 being a particularly devastating loss to the Dodgers in 7 games. The Brewers have had a great decade with multiple playoff appearances, but one of these years it would be great to get over that hump like Kansas City was able to. 


The Bucks were objectively bad this decade, bottoming out with Larry Drew and being a fringe playoff team every season under Kidd. Which is sad, and not what you want as a fan, but the most heart breaking year was by far last season’s ECF loss to the Raptors. 


As much as all of the aforementioned suck and wear on our faith in our Wisconsin teams. There is always a little hope, as the Packers season comes to an end we are filled with optimism about the Bucks who are 38-6 and perhaps not the title favorite but definitely in the top 3. 


Wisconsin has had a decade now where they were perpetually a bridesmaid, but never the bride. It seems like Giannis is our best chance at landing a title in the near future. A young Greek man came to this franchise that seemed locked into a perpetual 8th seed and he has evolved into the best player in the NBA. 


As the Bucks sit a top the league with best record and perhaps more importantly net rating. You can’t help but wonder if this will be the team that finally breaks through. If this will be the team that brings a championship parade to Milwaukee. If this will break the Bucks nearly 50 year title drought. If this 6’11” freak of nature can put this Bucks team on his back and power through the beasts in LA. 


Maybe the Bucks will be the team to end it. And how special would that be? Considering they’ve probably been the worst of the big 6 over the last 20 or so years. Beating either a top two player of all time in Lebron or exorcising their demons with Kawhi, that finals win would feel really sweet this year. 


It would mean so much to the community, city, and state. This isn’t Cleveland. Cleveland had their own drought and set of problems. This one is for Wisconsin, the state that has been perpetually good but not good enough. 


As a fan base we are here every year and loyal to a fault. Who else would keep coming back to these lovable losers year after year. The last few years on Twitter have introduced me to plenty of fans who share one team with me, but I’m Wisconsin through and through: Packers, Bucks, Brewers, Marquette and Wisconsin. And for those of us who have been suffering with our boys in each sport. Whichever team breaks through first will be so special. That team will forever hold a spot inside our hearts. 


How many Packers can you name from Super Bowl 45?


 How many Bucks can you name from 1971? 


Now compare that with any other year in the last 50. Title teams live forever, the first team to bring a title to Milwaukee this century will deserve statues outside their respective stadium. (Giannis might already deserve one) So here is to the 2020s let them be more prosperous for our state than the rest of the 2000/2010s have been. 


“Help me Giannis Antetokounmpo you are my only hope” 


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