A Philosophy of Fandom?

If you like reading my posts I appreciate that, and I understand if you don’t. I’m an acquired taste. And, as some have pointed out, I’m overly verbose. I realized at a very young age that the world is complex, dangerous, and difficult to understand, because I was forced to think about it, and that contemplativeness comes through in what I say.

I like psychology; trying to figure out how and why people do what they do. I spend a great deal of my contemplative time thinking about these kinds of things. I was always a nerd trapped in a big body (too rotund these days). I’ve come to own that too. I’m a nerd, a geek, a father, brother, husband, and…wait for it…a Boise State fanatic (go figure).

I like to write about ideas. Here on OBNUG, I like to write about Boise State, but from a philosophical point of view. Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, and the Niece of Theodore Roosevelt. Yup, she and Frankie were cousins. She once quoted The Unknown Sage when she said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.” I don’t presume to be a great mind, but I do love discussing ideas more than events and people.

After I see a game, I think about how it will play into the season. How will Coach Pete work what happened into the lives of the players, and more now than ever, how will Boise State fans process what occurred. Will they see it as one game along the continuum of Boise State’s path, one where they do actually lose a game or two, but triumph in the end? Or, will they view the game in a microcosm, ignoring the ebb and flow of life that came before and the life that will come after? Or, will they focus on a particular player and make him the hero or the goat?

Honestly, I spent a lot of my life in abject pessimism. I didn’t have a lot to be very positive about for a very long time. Since then, I met the most sophisticated, loving, brilliant, and uplifting woman to ever exist; my wife. How a pessimist got so lucky as to find an eternal optimist like my wife will always be my greatest reason to believe that God is real. She gave me the ability to see clearly, and now I do my very best to be an optimist. Although, while her glass is always overflowing, mine still remains just half full.

However, I find myself getting uptight lately. My posts are increasingly negative. Why? Because I’m pissed off. I’m angry with all of the co-dependent little naysayers who can do nothing but vilify players, coaches, etc. I’m not talking about those of us that like to point out where things went wrong and discuss how to fix them, or to indicate a busted play. It’s part of life to analyze things and make corrections so as to move forward; which is why I like Coach Pete so much.

He provides critique without being critical. He doesn’t gloss over mistakes, but doesn’t condemn them either, or the person who made them. He makes players accountable, and only those who excel get to play. But, he is brilliant in his ability to do all this with an optimistic flare that the players love. And, so do I. No, my anger is with the guy (unisex) who likes to sit back and lob complaints, not to lead into a proposed remedy, but to sound knowledgeable. I am at war with poor fandomship (is that better?).

Somehow, the majority of sports fans have let the Jim Rome version of sports fandom become the norm. I’ll never forget Jim Rome’s supposed interview with Jim Everett. Rome purposely kept calling him Chris Everett (then a popular female tennis player) in some chauvinistic attempt to make Jim Everett feel bad. Everett kept asking him to stop saying it. Rome wouldn’t. Everett said if he didn’t he would kick his ass. Rome said it again, like a child on the playground. And…Everett kicked his ass right there on TV.

The very fact that the sports world has degraded into name calling and ridicule is what, I believe, makes me love Boise State so much. In large, our fans aren’t like that. We’re positive, knowledgeable, and know how to be good fans. I admit that I can be hot headed at times. Nothing brings on my ire more than someone who finds value in their life as a fan, only when they can prove to those around them how much they know about a sport via the quantity of negativity that they can spew about the players, coaches, and games.

I’m not talking about the passionate fan that curses when the ref makes a bad call, or pulls their hair out when a player screws up. I’m not even talking about the fan that voices her opinion in favor of one player over another, or notices something we might do to be better. In general, I’m not talking about what is said, but how it is said and for what purpose.

I for one didn’t think Joe Southwick played that well at all. I do trust Coach Pete that he’ll figure it out and that he believes that Joe is our best bet right now. But I detest the fan that says. Southwick’s got to go by simply saying, “He sucks. What an idiot.” To me it’s the difference between a parent saying, “son that was wrong, I don’t ever want to see you do that again.” And a parent who says, “Why would you do something so stupid? Are you stupid?” It’s what’s in the heart that counts and, in my opinion, makes the difference between a good, passionate fan, and poor fandomship.

This is why I feel at war with poor fandomship. I’ve been around sports my whole life, and although I’ve been skewered for saying this, the poor fandomship is usually committed by those who don’t know how hard it is to be an athlete; that are more in it for what they get out of it, and have a detached grasp on sports reality.

This isn’t meant to be a hit on those who have not played the sport. Most Nuggies are great fans. It’s just that there is nothing more demoralizing than to put your blood, sweat, and tears on the turf then have someone treat you like a piece of garbage for making a mistake. They don’t know how it feels, and if they do know how it feels, I’m convinced they are disturbed people.

To quote Eleanor again, “A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally; who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, but walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life.”

I love sports for what they teach kids. They have to commit to something, to others around them. They have to work hard. And, if coached well, they learn how to expect a lot of themselves without being critical of themselves. But, more than any of these things, athletes learn to rely on each other, forget the last play, and move forward; in my opinion, the greatest trait a person can have.

So…I’m at war with poor fandomship (Thanks BB).

Cheers to all the many wonderful and great fans we have out there in Bronco Nation! I tip the rim of my half full glass of beer in your direction.

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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