Sports Fan-itis: My current sojourn into the wacky world of the pro sports fan (St. Louis Cardinals Nation) has shed new light on a subject I thought I had maxed out in understanding – The Obsessive Addiction of Sports Fan-itis.
Is there a noticeable difference in being a “real fan”(?) of a pro sports team versus being a “real fan” of a major college sports team?
Absolutely I am concluding. Not a qualitative better / worse difference, simply a difference.
If one MUST be one or the other I think I may be leaning towards the “pro” side. There is a 3rd option – “being both” and a 4th option – “not being either”.
As you gather from our recent discussion of sports spectator proclivities or lack of, I am rapidly approaching #4.
I am “a fan” of the sport of Baseball. I manifest that through the daily trials and tribulations of the currently hapless St. Louis Cardinals. It is the elements of “the sport” I enjoy and not the “we won” = happy / “we lost” = sad emotional ying and yang.
As I am seeing it… with “real fans” (define that however you please. It is not intended as complimentary) of a professional team the emphasis is on how “my team” of choice (emphasis on the possessive “my”) is doing relative to all the other teams. Is “the team” and therefore vicariously “me” succeeding for all to see.
The impediment to this success is NOT some imaginary “rival” but rather the stumblebums who have the day-to-day stewardship of “my/our team”… i.e. the owner (usually the dreaded “rich old white guy”) and the incompetent yahoos he keeps employing as GM and Coach/Manager and finally the overpaid field hands who’s physical incompetent indifference is so obvious to one and all.
If “rich old white guy” would spend A LOT more of his ill-gotten capitalist plunder for this week’s flavor-of-the-month “phenom” I could call my cuzzin LeRoy in Boston / Chicago / LA / Atlanta / Dallas and razz him.
Dear Mr. DeWitt:
Please give that 18 y/o Cuban kid $50,000,000 so’s I can razz LeRoy.
Sincerely, Crazy Harry in Hannibal
I am currently tied for 4th in our water cooler fantasy league. I have a real talent for evaluating phenoms. I actually know what WHIP and OPS stands for, I think. I have tweeted suggestions but Noooo, all that “rich old white guy” is interested in is adding on more VIP suites. He doesn’t care about winning like us “real fans” do.
There are “hated rivals” as in Cardinals / Cubs… Red Sox/Yankees… Dodgers/Giants but except in rare cases the “they” does not have a name / face. It’s just “those people” who are “all a buncha….”
The villain for the pro fan is the owner / management of his team of choice. No matter how successful they are, they would be oh so much so IF they took my suggestion… as in:
Dear Coach Belichek:
You should run more Statue of Liberty plays.
Sincerely, Willie In Worcester
Except in Green Bay where the community actually DOES “own the team”… The “it’s really OUR TEAM not yours … and don’t you ever forget it; you evil rich old white guy” is the guiding principle in professional sports fandom.
Switching over to Rah Rah Siss Boom Bah Dear Old Alma Mater be she a for-real diplomaed one or a “bought at Wal-Mart” one…
The college version of a General Manager – the AD – is still incompetent of course. He (or the more dreaded “she”) is a hapless dolt. The popularity timeline for an AD is “the first three months” of their hire.
The fan base’s euphoria in getting rid of the incompetent predecessor is a wave that an incoming AD can ride for about 90 days. It’s downhill from that point. For a “new coach” that popularity wave is his first 2-3 games… or in some extreme cases “his first 3 & out” in early September.
Pure and simple… in major college sports it is ALL about “hated rivals”. The current players (on our team) are ALL incredibly outstanding young men even the ones with “prison tatts” and 2 or 3 kids by 2/3 baby mammas.
The rules are simple – (1) Don’t get arrested in-season; and (2) Don’t even think about hooking up with MY DAUGHTER… (3) Reread #2.
Every college sports fan has “hated rivals” as many as 3-4 in some cases but one is always more hateable than the rest. The intensity comes when fans of that/those hated rivals live in your cul-de-sac… work in the adjoining cubicle… or marry your sister.
Every “sports fan” agrees that referees / umpires are crooked and incompetent. Any/all such authority figures are. But for college sports fans those crooked incompetents are in league / cahoots with “the hated rival” in various subterfugic (?) fashion.
In a strange Kubuki dance, fans of college teams within a specific conference unite in a “pride” that our game officials are more crooked / incompetent than any other conferences’. One does not see that on sports leagues… “MLB umpires are more stoopid tha NFL referees” ??
That is the equivalent of displaying a bumpersticker Proud Parents of a son who flunked out of NC State AND Wake Tech. Why would anyone do that?
Regardless of how much crime, economic malaise, governmental corruption, traffic gridlock, and assorted unsolvable socio-plagues infest a city / metro area… if their pro sports team wins a World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup etc they get to enjoy a street riot and hold up foam fingers declaring they are #1.
The next day they go back to complaining about all the muck and mire of living in any “major city” especially theirs.
If your college sports team of choice simply beats the team of “the hated rival” regardless of how narrowly or controversially (it is ALWAYS controversially) then you get to blare out your “fight song” so its heard three blocks over… display an obnoxiously large flag… and send a snarky email to all the “hated rival” jackasses you know with some pithy insult… and/or insulting .gif.
Three days later you go back to worrying what if “we” lose to “that buncha _____ next year”?
CONCLUSION: If your pro team “misses the playoffs” (NOOOO!) you are in a funk for 48 hours. Otherwise no real personal consequences.
If your college team loses to your “hated rival” (NOOOO!) you spend the next twelve months “in a living hell” avoiding all those arrogant obnoxious sumbitches / farm boys / frat boys.
Oh Oh …. and there is this… pretty much any college coed is better “eye candy” than “a 50 year old 250 lb Green Bay Frau with a mustache waving a Marry Me Aaron Rogers sign”.
GOTTA Share this: I submitted a Cardinals column this AM about “nutjob fans” … my all-time favorite punching bag – “board monkeys”. With RedbirdRants I do have “an Editor”. A “good guy” in Memphis. We’ll see how that works out.
So he texts me with “a concern” about my last paragraph. He suggests either an Editors Note or that I revise it. Here is the original text with his Editors Note. Without intending to… he amped up the YEEE HAA Factor by at least 20%.
Do you want to be a twittering whack-a-doodle? Easy. (1) Press CAPSLOCK… (2) pour some lighter fluid on your head… (3) fire up a blow torch; and… (4) VOILA. <Editor’s note: do not try this at home; RedbirdRants is not responsible for your individual actions.> You too can be “a real fan” who “isn’t going to take this anymore.” May God have mercy on your tortured soul.
LIFE IS GOOD!… say good night, Gracie.