Thought Bubble: I rooted against my team because dynasties are exhausting


Rob Le Cates

Nicholas Bays is a fifth year sports media relations major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Nick Bays, Columnist

Nick is talking about German soccer? Must be a day that ends in “y”. But let me cook, please, because I swear I have a point.Bayern Munich are a massive soccer team in Germany that play in the top German league: The Bundesliga. And Bayern Munich is my favorite club. Yet despite my love for the Bavarian club, I found myself wanting them to lose the Bundesliga title race this past weekend. Why?
Because too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
What is a dynasty? In a historical context, it might refer to a ruling family/group that maintains their status as the dominant social power of a country and/or area over an extended period of time. Similarly, a sports dynasty is a team that maintains an impressive run of winning or top level competition over a multi-year stretch.
Notable sports dynasties include, and are not limited to: The New England Patriots of the 2000s and 2010s in the NFL (minus Joe Gisondi’s New York Giants having something to say about that), The Chicago Bulls of the 1990s in the NBA, the United States Women’s National Team since the birth of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and so on.
What makes a dynasty so fun to love? They’re a display of good management and coaching, high level talent, team chemistry, and more. Normally, a dynasty signifies a team that has “gotten it right.”
But what makes a dynasty so fun to hate? They stop your favorite team from winning. They make things repetitive. They present a villain for an underdog hero to slay (or maybe I’m just getting too poetic).
One can make the argument that dynasties are healthy. Personally, I believe that dynasties in small doses are actually incredibly fun to watch.
For example: the Golden State Warriors over the past eight years. They have won an impressive four NBA championships in that time and continue to be a competitive team.
What made them so “fun”? Well, for starters, Steph Curry pretty much ushered in a new era of 3-point centric basketball that has revolutionized how we play the game. However, what also made this dynasty intriguing, in my opinion, was that it was not eight years of winning things in a row.
They would win one or two, take a minor step back, win again, step back, you get the point. There was fluctuation with them being somewhat of a constant while not dismissing the entire league for a decade.
And speaking of the word “decade”, that leads me into my discussion of FC Bayern München (or Bayern Munich for short).
Bayern have been on an “impressive” run over the past 10 years having won the Bundesliga 10 years in a row. That also includes two UEFA Champions League titles, but we’re not talking about that. . . yet. . .
And it made me exhausted.
I started watching Bayern a little over three years ago when that one thing that kept us all inside was really catching wind. With no other mainstream sports on at the time, I turned to soccer after someone recommended Bayern to me.
And let me tell you, folks, I was hooked.
With impressive attacking play that looked to dominate other teams and crush any hopes of success, it was like watching a shark devour its prey. It was malicious, miraculous, even beautiful.
That season, Bayern won their eighth title in a row, but I didn’t care. This was my first title. And it meant the world to me. Jerseys, scarves, sweatshirts, even a flag that hangs on my bedroom wall, I was entirely bought in.
Fast forward to May 2023. I’ve seen Bayern lift the Bundesliga “Meisterschale” trophy three years in a row now with little to no resistance. At first, seeing them do it again was special. But then after my personal third, I started to grow tired. I wonder how it felt for those who had watched Bayern win 10 in a row.
You see, I started not just watching Bayern, but the Bundesliga as a whole. I started caring about the health of the other teams, the health of the league, and the health of German soccer as a whole.
And when I became a fan of the league, it truly hit me: my desire to see Bayern continue to win is diametrically opposed to seeing the league win.
Oh, what a conundrum.
It became such a frustrating internal conflict that I actually started watching other teams more in the Bundesliga and starting to tune out Bayern in the league. Yes, I still watched them in the Champions League (and I’m still mad about Manchester City beating us but that’s not the point), but I no longer had enjoyment from watching them play in the Bundesliga.
But then a cross-country rival, Borussia Dortmund ironically felt my apathy. The second largest club in Germany, Dortmund have had an inconsistent season. However, they came into form near the end of the season as Bayern began to stumble.
And before you knew it, after the second to last match day, Dortmund were in first place in the league with 70 points compared to Bayern’s 68.
Was this the break in the pattern? For once, would the cycle be halted? And at that point, I really started to care again. Now things were really getting interesting.
Dortmund and Bayern both kicked off at the same time against different teams. A win would ensure Dortmund’s title. Bayern had to win to even have a chance at competing.
And at first, Dortmund looked like they might have a chance as they played with a competitive edge early on. However, two goals in the middle of the first half proved too costly, and while they got a goal back in the second half, it wasn’t enough.
Dortmund lost.
Bayern won.
And yet again, the cycle continues.
I watched as Bayern, my team, celebrated holding the Meisterschale once again; a trophy they’re so accustomed to holding that it probably weighs nothing to them anymore as they hoist it high into the southern German sky.
I watch through a forced smile as I try to act mildly pleased with this outcome. “Mia San Mia” I say as I reluctantly belt the echoing slogan of the mighty Bayern Munich.
I ranted to friends, complained on social media, and vented my frustrations to a plethora of people who could not care any less. And what did that get me?
See, this is why dynasties are exhausting.
In moderation, they are fun and exciting. They provide definable eras in sports that we can root and/or hate in the moment and then reflect nostalgically on.
They give us heroes, villains, and stories that are so beautiful you could swear they were written by the likes of Homer, Shakespeare, and more.
However, when a dynasty lasts too long, it becomes a tv show that feels like it’s running out of ideas and material and has to continue to refer back to old bits and storylines that made it successful in the first place.
And now these storylines and bits are stale, overused, and offer nothing more than a simple yet heart breaking question: “Why do I even care anymore?”
I want to stop watching the Bayern show, but I love it for what it gave me in the past. I want to unsubscribe from this repetitive streaming service, but this is my team.
Dynasties that drag on too long, that overstay their welcome, become cliches that no longer invite interest. They call the Bundesliga the “Bayernliga” online because no team seems to be able to compete anymore.
In what world would that be healthy for any league?
Let dynasties reign, but let them be conquered. Let kings and emperors define eras in history and become demi-gods, but let them be slain by heroes and villains alike.
Let teams rise, and then let them fall.
As a Bayern fan, yippee, I guess. As a Bundesliga fan, I become hopeless and uninvested.
Call this a rant, call it a point, call it whatever you want. Just know that I am beyond disappointed.
Thank you for reading this week’s edition of Thought Bubble. Thought Bubble is a weekly reoccurring sports column that is designed to humorously discuss sporting ideas that, while perhaps ridiculous, are intriguing, nonetheless.