My mother, who isn't even a sports fan, claims she's unable to watch the Green Bay Packers on television if the point differential is less than 14. I've tried watching games with her; the tighter the score, the more stressed she gets until she finally leaves the room.
So imagine how those of us who actually pay attention to local and statewide sports felt throughout 2014. Our sports teams, from the pros down to the preps, came that close to claiming ultimate victory numerous times.
The biggest heartbreak happened early: The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four in March with a thrilling overtime win against top-seeded Arizona, only to suffer a one-point loss to Kentucky and fail to reach the national title game.
The Badgers kept us in a fragile emotional state a lot this year. Remember the football team's opening statement against LSU at Houston's NRG Stadium? The one in which UW blew a 24-7 lead and launched a season-long quarterback controversy?
We were treated to the stunning performance of running back and Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon, who careened into the college football record books with the fourth-highest single-season rushing total (2,336 yards) in NCAA history as well as setting numerous Big Ten and university records.
But the Badgers' lasting legacy this season will be the one-two punch of a soul-sucking 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game and coach Gary Andersen's abrupt resignation four days later.
The UW volleyball team's march to its final four ended in a regional semifinal match at the hands of reigning national champions Penn State, a team that had also beaten the Badgers earlier in the season.
And let's not forget the Madison Radicals, who lost in the semifinals of the American Ultimate Disc League playoffs to the eventual champions, the San Jose Spiders.
Speaking of coming up short, how about those Milwaukee Brewers? After leading off the season with a 19-8 record, the team remained in first place in the National League Central for 150 days -- only to go 9-22 over their final 31 games, blowing a legitimate shot at the World Series and eroding their fan base. The fact that it's Christmas and Ron Roenicke is still the Brewers' manager surprises me more than the team's colossal collapse.
Meanwhile, the Packers are in a tight fight with the Detroit Lions for NFC North supremacy, and the Milwaukee Bucks' playoff hopes might have bounced off the rim with rookie forward Jabari Parker's recent season-ending ACL tear.
At the high school level, Waunakee fell to Waukesha West in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's Division 2 state football semifinals, and the DeForest girls' basketball team lost to Green Bay's Notre Dame in the Division 2 title game.
Bright spots: At least Sun Prairie won its third straight Division 1 state baseball title, and Madison West's boys' cross-country team ran faster than any other Division 1 team in the state.