I’m a fan. An inveterate sports fan who watches NBA TV, MLB Network, NHL TV, and NFL Network. I have rooted for cursed sports teams. I understand that feeling of being a fan. More after the jump.
When you become a fan, especially one who DOESN’T root for the traditional powers in your chosen sport, the experience is a bit different. It’s a weird perfume of hope, fatalism, and faith.
This is not to imply, of course, that being a fan of the Lakers or Yankees or Steelers or Red Wings is easier. It’s to flat out say it. You lose a big game, it’s a heartbreaker but you live with it. You can understand it and bask in the warmth of your multiple championships and you learn to live with it.
But if you’re a fan of one of those innumerable teams who have never won a championship it’s different. You remember every painful loss, every time you thought this could be different only to be stabbed in the heart again. You, the fans remember Red Right 88 and the Drive I and II. You, the fans, remember Wide Right I and II and then Wide Left. You, the fans, remember Sid Bream being safe. You remember the Shot, and Reggie Miller scoring eight points in 9 seconds. You remember the Canadians doing it to you time and time again, and too many men on the ice by the Bruins.
That’s why I do what I do.
Because no one talks to you like you deserve to be talked to. Everyone assumes that you’re stupid, that you don’t care. The media treats you as though they can tell you anything and you’ll fall for it. But it’s not true is it? You know that Donovan McNabb is held to a higher standard, a different standard, merely because of the color of his skin. And the story with him will now, forever be, what he couldn’t do and instead will never focus on what he did. But you fans, the smart ones amongst you know differently. You were there. You saw it. The days when he was perfect.
I write the way I do because I remember the passion I had, and still have, for sports. I remember what it felt like to be waiting from 7 in the morning to 7 at night for that big playoff game. To be picked up after school by your dad and heading off to the stadium because it was the big playoff game everyone had talked about, and you needed to be there. Because the Celtics were coming, and maybe if you yelled loud enough, Dominique, Dr. J or Isiah could beat them when you were there.
That’s why I do what I do. And thank you for letting me do it.