Column: When the agony of defeat goes viral

In this Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, photo, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, left, argues with home plate umpire Mark Wegner, right, during the second inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Houston Astros in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A heartbreaking, season-ending loss for your favorite team is gut-wrenching. We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again.

But not all of our reactions go viral like the poor Boston Red Sox fan in my stats class.

After the Red Sox lost to the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the ALDS, I recorded my classmate’s reaction as he watched it unfold during a lecture.

His silent agony was the perfect depiction of defeat. Without saying a word, he managed to put a whole season of hope into a 15-second video of pain, complete with his look of despair when he saw Dustin Pedroia hit a routine ground ball to second base, the anger of the inevitable final out and the disappointment in realizing his season is over.

I’m going to backtrack to give the full story of this video. And I’m going to try not to brag about the endless retweets and social media exposure that the video got (sick brag).

Before class started, I was watching the game and I noticed two other guys in the room also had it on their laptop screens. The guy in the video, I’ll refer to him as Jonathan (I have no idea what his name is), mentioned that he was a Red Sox fan, along with the third person.

Being a Yankees fan, I told them I’d keep my mouth shut. But they probably know I thoroughly enjoyed the result of the game.

Stats class went on and the ups-and-downs of the game were reacted to accordingly. Jonathan was showing his emotions throughout the game, and I was happily looking forward to his reaction if the Astros could hold on for the win.

When Rafael Devers hit an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jonathan was visibly excited and full of hope, hanging on to the chance that the Red Sox would get just one more run to tie the game and extend their playoff run at least another inning.

Fortunately, my stream of the game was a few seconds ahead of Jonathan’s, meaning that I would see the game end before he did. I was also in the perfect position to record a sneaky video without him noticing.

Pedroia grounded out, and Jonathan’s reaction was priceless.

An SB Nation post about the video said it best: “He throws his head back in pain, letting the emotion run over him.”

When the video began to spread more, I started to feel kind of bad for Jonathan. Everyone was laughing at his disappointment and saying things like, “This made my day.”

But then I quickly snapped out of it and remembered why the video is so great: It’s because Boston fans like Jonathan don’t get to experience the agony of defeat as much as the rest of us.

I truly believe that if the same video was recorded after an Astros loss, it would not be nearly as viral as this video. Boston sports fans are notoriously spoiled by their recent glory, and the Internet likes to take the chance to laugh at them when we can.

While we all have our own “Jonathan moments,” they aren’t as fun to watch. Countless people replied to the tweet with “I know the feeling” or “This was me when [insert heartbreaking loss].” Jonathan’s relatable reaction is one that every sports fan is all too familiar with.

Everyone goes through the agony of defeat. It was a combination of Boston hatred and an I-know-the-feeling sentiment that brought Jonathan onto the screens of millions of Americans. Even in the worst times, sports bring people together for a common good.

And Jonathan, I hope bathing in all your titles from the last 15 years can make up for the tough loss.


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.