Hope Is Why We Watch Sports

For all my cynical babbling, one of the main reasons we are fans of teams and watch sports is hope.  The idea that things will better this year keeps us coming back no matter what happened last year.

Each new season brings hopes in many forms.  Just a new season in general brings fans hope.  Things can’t be as bad as last year.

A new crop of players brings hope.  Maybe these guys can find the thing that last year’s guys could not.

A new coach/manager brings hope.  Maybe this is the leader this team needs to get to the next level and win championships.

Hope brings us back each year because we need it.  We need to believe that the team will get better, that life will get better if we change this thing over here or that thing over there.  A couple of tweaks was all the team needed.  It needed a new voice at the front of the room or a new young quarterback so we can run that new offense everyone is going to.

Unfortunately, what usually happens is after the hope of the first game or two wears off, fans start to see the team isn’t that much better.  The young players show potential, but they are still too young to save the team.  The new coach/manager who talked about the new era of this, his dream job, in the press conference and how things would be different has shown he may be great at one part of his job, but he is less than great at other parts of his job.

There is very little in the sports world sadder than a fan base who thought this would be the year coming to the realization that this season looks a lot like the last one.  It’s even worse when fan base looks at a roster and says, “There is a lot of talent there.”  Yet, the same familiar outcomes and failures keep occurring.

That is when they start pointing fingers.  First, the players are not playing hard enough.  Then, the coach isn’t putting them in the right position.  Then, the coach doesn’t have the right players.  Then, the coach needs to adapt to the players he has.  From there the arguments become combinations of one or more of the original arguments and then more circular in their illogic.

If you are an opposing fan, it can be quite entertaining to watch as this happens.  You watch as your opponent tries to simultaneously justify and figure out where their hope disappeared to.  Of course, too much jocularity at your rival’s expense can come back at you if this mess of a team screws around and beats yours.  Of course, then you will go into next season hoping to avenge that loss.

Hope brings us back, but what makes us stay?  It is watching your hope come to fruition or watching to see how bad things can truly get.  If you are a true fan you are going to ride it out no matter what.  You will take in all the ups and downs and search for small signs to keep you sane and hope that next season will be just a little better.


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