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The Waltz of the Sports Fan April 12, 2012

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Intro To, Sports.
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We grow up in a world of unrealized promise, crap shoots, and the benefit of hindsight. Because of this, we live vicariously through our sports heroes. We reminisce of the days when we’d wake up on a Saturday morning only caring that our mom washed our jersey for the game, the smell of the freshly cut grass as we ride up to the field, or the feeling of a newly cut rink under your skates. As we grow older, we lose access to these feelings through: laziness, school, jobs, relationships, etc, and find ourselves pining for what we once had. In lieu of having kids and doing a Joe Jackson on them (in a sports sense), most of us just turn to those guys that make an obscene living off of our reminiscences. We watch them play and think, what-if? What if I had worked harder, what if I were a little taller, what if I grew up in Alabama/California/New York/Canada? We watch them and bring them into our lives, into our homes, into our hearts. We revel in their successes and die with their failures. But because of the way we fully devote ourselves to our teams and their players, coaches, scouts, we also find ourselves despising certain aspects that come with the territory. As a person who started playing soccer and t-ball about as soon as I could walk, and one that has played organized soccer, baseball, football, tennis, hockey, and volleyball in my life, I have some strong feelings about sports teams and their fans.

Fair-Weather Fans – A fan of a sports team who only shows support when the team is doing well. During hard times they usually bandwagon other teams. They basically have no real loyalty to the team, but still manage to get better seats than you at the game! Strangely, they mysteriously vanish at the first sign of trouble. Personally, these are the worst types. Part of what makes a true fan is enjoying the success after suffering through oh-so-many bad seasons. As a Patriots fan, I see/hear these people all the time. They became fans in 2004 and don’t know what it’s like to root for a team that was 1-15. They were Broncos fans before the Pats, and Cowboys fans before that. They think Tom Brady should be traded and Bill Belichick fired. Not winning the Super Bowl means the team failed. Like the definition states, as soon as the team starts losing, they’re gone on to greener pastures. The only thing is, your team doesn’t get these types of “fans” unless they’re pretty good, so while you hate the fans, it’s nice to know why they are even there.

Cross Town Rivals – I’m not as adamant about this one, but for those in New York, I don’t understand how you can root for the Yankees AND the Mets. For one thing, rooting for the Mets is like rooting for the Coyotess. It might seem cute to root for the underdog, but GOD it must be frustrating. That said, I respect you Mets fans. It’s like being a Jets fan, nothing but heartbreak. But if you’ve stuck around, you’re a good one! You embody what it means to be a fan, through thick and thin. It’s like a marriage. But please, reader, stick with me here, this is about fans, not their crappy teams…I think this sentiment comes from High School. When I played school sports, our cross-town rivals were our most bitter of enemies. We would defecate on their tombstones, if they weren’t still spry teenagers with their whole lives ahead of them. We hated them with such fervor that it made our blood boil. So when it came to my pro-teams, the idea of rooting for the cross-town rival just seemed like it went against everything “sports”. It also seems like an entry into fair-weather fanning. Oh, the Cubs are bad, I’ll just root for the White Sox this year…just stop it, folks.

Player Defections – Let me just put a few names out there: Curtis Martin, Johnny Damon, Babe Ruth, that kid from Little Giants. What do all of these people have in common? They were superstars with their first team and left to find something shinier with the rival team. I guess I understand, “Sports is a business” is a line that is used ad nauseum in this country, and I get it. If the Mavs offered you $15M/year and the Spurs only offered $13.75M, that’s $1M+ per year that you’d be leaving on the table! But are you telling me you couldn’t have gotten that from any other team? Or you didn’t want to move out of state? I guess I can buy that…it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It seems like you’re just leaving to spite all of us…

Roy Williams – This could be named after a multitude of athletes. Practice!? We talkin’ about practice!? Not much is more aggravating than being a sports fan that would have loved nothing more than to be a pro athlete, then seeing a guy who was blessed with all the talent in the world have no interest in doing the work that’s necessary to ensure their success. Some guys take a few weeks off at the end of the season and get right back to work, others wait until the season starts to get back into shape. I guess it’s aggravating to see anyone throw away talent and potential due to laziness, but the amount of money involved, the accessibility to the masses, the strong ties to one’s team, and the callousness with which these players act just magnifies the situation. Ok, so you don’t workout in the offseason…DON’T TELL US THAT!!! Do you want us to bring that up every time you miss a shot or drop a pass? Or do you just not care? Whatever the reason, I hope you know we all hate you for it even if you don’t care about us little peons.

So the moral of the story, folks, is that if you’re going to be a sports fan, be a real one. Pick a sport, pick a team, and stick by it through the good and the bad. It’s like I said, it’s a marriage, better or worse, and no matter how lazy or fake a player may be, at the end of the day, they’ve got nothing to play for if the fans aren’t coming to the games.

– Pascal

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Pascal is a regular contributor to Doing Laundry in Heels and the male voice of reason behind life, love and sanity. Check out Who Is DLIH to learn more about Pascal and visit his very own mindless while, while all-together serious, rants at In and Out of Sanity.

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