Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Fandom at its Worst
The other day I was talking to someone I work with about the Patriots' 30-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. A solid win that the team needed but what got me thinking wasn't the game itself. It was a comment from him: "Yeah it was great win after that loss to Miami. If they kept on losing, I'm not sure I could watch this season."
I'm sorry, but...WHAT?? Let's inject some perspective here. Imagine life as a Lions fan. This is one of the worst teams I have seen years and it'll take years to undo the catastrophe Matt Millen created (a la Rick >Pitino's mess in Boston). How about wearing a Bengals jersey? The days of Corey Dillon and Akili Smith must seem not all that bad in comparison to this current crop of Bungles. Even in those two instances, I'm just talking about the very bottom. There are plenty of instances where teams have been mulling in mediocrity for years.
Now take into account that while our Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl in four years, they have won 22 of their past 23 regular season games. I'm not sure fans realize how hard that is to do or what it takes to be that consistent. For example, the Dallas Cowboys became the darlings of the NFL after Brady went down. There was talk of a dominant season and Jerry Jones mentioned a repeat of the 16-0 mark the Patriots posted in 2007. A loss to Washington and an ugly win against Cincinati later, it's clear they have flaws. Not to say the '07 Patriots didn't have flaws but they fought through them to have a perfect regular season (Super Bowl notwithstanding).
OK, back to that guy from work. When you take into account the lack of stability and wins in general for the also-rans of the league as well as the degree of success for the Patriots, he should be keeping his mouth shut and if he was a real fan he would watch all of the games regardless of wins or losses. This brings me to the point of this post. If any fan stops watching a team mid season because it isn't doing as well as expected, they should be sentenced a year to sports purgatory the next time their team has a deep run in the playoffs or exceeds expectations. They shouldn't be able to root for that team after abandoning it.
Obviously there are exceptions to this. If you have gone through the turmoil that is associated with being a Kansas City Royals fan, by all means do what you need to do. Stop watching. Punch a TV. Jump out of a window.
What I'm saying should be taken in context and is mainly directed at pseudo-fans (see: post-Cowboy Up era in Boston). It took some will power, some sound decision making and sobriety not to punch that guy who said he would stop watching the Pats with Matt Cassel at the helm. I wanted to collect all of his Patriots paraphernalia and distribute it to people who stayed for the entire Miami game a few weeks ago. I'm not just speaking as a Patriots fan here. I was offended as a sports fan. Rule #1: Support your team through thick and thin. Doesn't that make celebrating all that much more enjoyable?