The above picture is what the stereotypical “sports fan” looks like. And that’s why I’m not one.
Earlier this morning, I posted on Puck Daddy that the belief that the Blackhawks are “more than equipped” to deal with Marian Hossa’s prolonged absence due to injury was certifiably insane. And now I’ve been accused of “sour grapes” because Calgary lost to Chicago in the playoffs.
That’s just crazy talk, and I realized that it’s because I barely like my favorite teams. This is a direct quote from my introduction post here at FN:
“I am not, however, one of those rah-rah “omg i luv Andre Roy”-type fans. On the contrary, being my favorite team in any sport comes with the great burden of my being hyper-critical and generally unaccepting of the team’s moves, or at least whatever seems popular within the general fanbase.”
This can be seen in posts like this one from Puck Daddy, where I said it was “off the charts stupid” to pick anything less than a Chicago sweep, or this one from TLP wherein I actually predict a sweep. So sour grapes it was not. It was, I think you’ll find, an objective outside opinion.
The reason I’m not a “good fan,” I think, is because I eschew blatant homerism and settle, instead, for a remarkable amount of what you’d likely call pessimism but I’d call realism. And that’s the thing most sports fans seem to forget: you can support a team, and want it to do well, without just blindly giving a thumbs up and drooling a bit on your shirt when someone asks you how you feel about Free Agent Signing X.
Actually, my feeling is that the entire POINT of sports is to be unhappy. That’s why 29 teams don’t win jack at the end of every season. What good would winning be if everyone got a trophy just for the hell of it? Y’know who’s had it pretty easy the last few years? Red Wings fans. And have you ever sat down and actually read the things they talked about this season? It typically fell into three categories: 1) Bitching that no one is giving them their due respect; 2) How brilliant their management is; 3) How their No. 6-7 defenseman was ruining their chances to repeat. Do you really want to be like that? Of course not.
And besides, the term “fan” is, as some people are wont to point out at the slightest provocation, short for fanatic, a person who, according to Winston Churchill, “can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Fanaticism is best left to ideological and religious kooks.
That’s why I’m not a “fan” of the Calgary Flames, Boston Red Sox or Liverpool Football Club. Instead, I am simply a supporter. Supporters, unlike fans, can (and should) be rational, and as such considerably more tolerable. I will, more often than not, back my team up, but not to the point of having disproportionately high standards for them or, indeed, the desire to harangue those that do not share my viewpoint. Would that more people were like this.
The sports world would be a lot better off.