This is about a letter to the editor of the DTH

Fans are not entitled to championships.  Fans of some sporting entities feel that they should not lose and if they do someone should be fired new players should be found.

Fans should be disappointed with losing.  They should be borderline angry when their team does not execute the basics.  That is perfectly reasonable.  Sometimes I forget that fan is a shortened version of fanatic meaning fans are by definition a little irrational.

However, there is a difference between irrational and delusional.  Fans of historically successful teams sometimes forget how hard it is to win and that everyone else is trying to win.  That mental blindness makes them prone to overreaction and panic, and often makes them forget what bad really looks like.

A team with the talent to win if and when if figures itself out and a team that has no hope of winning because of lack talent and coaching are two different things.  The first team usually plays good for a half and bad for a half and loses games like that until they start putting together consistent effort for the whole game.  Those teams are frustrating, but that happens with inexperience.  The second team is just bad.  Think 8-20.  Fans with common sense and a bit of perspective know the difference.

Another thing that happens for fans of ultra-successful teams who forget what bad truly looks like or what losing feels like, is that they forget to enjoy the wins.  Winning is the result of hard work and timing.  It is very hard.  Winning isn’t something that is a given or a birth right.  Therefore it should be enjoyed, but it often spoils the wrong people.  It doesn’t usually spoil the ones actively creating the success (coaches and players) they are too busy working towards it.  It spoils the fans.  They forget winning is a precious thing that must be tended to and respected or it will go away completely.

For coaches to achieve the type of consistent success fans clamor for, requires a borderline insane focus on the task of winning and being successful that most fans can’t begin to imagine. Urban Meyer risked his health for that type of success.  People laugh when Nick Saban wins a national championship and starts worrying about off-season training and recruiting 10 minutes later.  That is how you build something that successful for a long period of time.  The fact that more coaches, particularly in college, don’t go completely off the rails mentally or physically surprises me.

There is some ephemeral line that separates fans demanding success and fans petulantly lashing out at everyone and everything when they don’t win.  I think it is somewhere between the difference of fans being disappointed with loses and angry at bad play and fans impatiently screaming for their next hit of winning and the accompanying superiority.  Winning allows fans to talk crap on Facebook because their team beat their friend’s team.  Of course both contributed to the game by watching on television and drinking beer.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve dropped a lot of things from my fandom.  Chief among them is the moral superiority of my team to yours.  I haven’t lost my love my teams, but I’m not playing so winning or losing really says very little about me.  Therefore, why would I talk smack about a game to an opposing fan?  Somewhere along the line, I have managed to untie my self-worth from my team’s success or failures.  I learned during a very cold February that no matter what befalls you personally, the world will keep spinning.  I think that is even truer when it comes to how good or bad your favorite team is.  My team’s losing may make life a little more annoying, but it will go on regardless.

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