Eleven is the best age to be a sports fan — old enough to appreciate what is going on, young enough not to be distracted by cynicism or hormones.
Our sports teams and heroes are trapped in amber around then, forever in our hearts and minds. (Yes, I am talking to you, Tom Seaver.)
So enjoy it, metropolitan-area 11-year-olds. This life stage comes around only once!
Except . . . There is a problem, one not experienced by any prepubescent New York sports fans since 1921, meaning people who currently are 108 years old, give or take.
When Saturday dawns, it will have been 2,281 sunrises since the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, one day longer than the stretch between the Yankees winning the 1962 World Series and the Jets winning Super Bowl III.
Until now, that mid-’60s drought had been the longest without a New York-area winner in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB since the baseball Giants went 16 years between World Series titles, in 1905 and ’21.
That was the last time a pre-teen sports fan around here would have no clear memory of a local championship, so no doubt there was extra excitement as Art Nehf four-hit the Yankees in Game 8 to end the best-of-nine World Series.
The Giants repeated in ’22, then the Yankees won it all the next year and away we went, for nearly a century.
This is the point at which fans in other cities roll their eyes and scoff at the notion that a six-plus-year dry spell can even be called a drought. But we don’t care about them. Other than Buffalo. We feel bad for Buffalo.
It is our drought, and we will cry if we want to.
The question now is whether this will be resolved by 2028, when that 1905-21 stretch is challenged, at which point Aaron Judge will be near retirement and today’s 11-year-olds will be old enough to drink legally to drown their sports sorrows.
So let us examine which of the nine area teams is most likely to win it all first, in order of probability, shall we?
This is easy. It almost happened last year, ahead of schedule. Now it is late October or bust. Starting pitching is key.
Taylor Hall is in his prime at 26. There is cap room and talent. Shout-out to goalie Keith Kinkaid, Sachem East’s own!
Assuming the fragile starting rotation and/or other injuries do not derail them, they should be in contention to the end.
Too optimistic for a 3-13 team? Maybe, but having made a big bet on a 37-year-old quarterback, they’d better be ready to win now.
After a decade of success but no Cup, the Blueshirts retooled smartly. But how much does King Henrik have left?
Assuming John Tavares re-signs and Mathew Barzal continues to develop, there is enough talent here to make a run.
If all of the above fail to win a title in the next three years, maybe Sam Darnold will be ready to jump to the head of the line.
At last the franchise is in calm, steady hands in the front office, but Kristaps Porzingis’ status has everyone in limbo.
The Nets have a smart combo in general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson — Northport’s own! — but years of lost draft picks make this a steep hill to climb.
Then again, modern 11-year-olds do not turn up their noses at soccer the way many older Americans do.
NYCFC and the Red Bulls both made the MLS Cup playoffs last season. Hmm.