Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Putting the "fan" and "tic" in "fanatic"

I follow a number of New Orleans Saints players on Twitter. Following the Saints’ losses to both Arizona and Cleveland, players were posting thoughts about how the loss was bad/sad/WTF/etc., but it’s OK and time to move on. I don’t know how they go through the five stages of grief so fast (though I suspect extra zeroes on the paychecks greases the conveyor belt a bit), but good for them for staying at least outwardly positive. As a superfan who’s as competitive in my own endeavors as when I’m watching football, I have a hard time being the same way. These guys (along with my sister) are good signposts for keeping my head clear.

On the other hand, one of my favorite players took a more competitive tack, expressing a sentiment that applies to politics as well as sports. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma apparently received several tweets from fans spewing disgust over the Browns game, and accused them of being fairweather fans. He later tweeted something like, the bandwagon’s a lot lighter now. On one level, I agree — easy come, easy go. On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with a true fan being unhappy with their team, especially when they feel their chosen team has more potential. Maybe they shouldn’t mouth off to players while the anger’s still fresh, but being critical is not the same as turning your back on the team. I’ve always said a real fan loves their team even when they’re losing (as all Saints fans live by, even though I sometimes state otherwise), but will still be there in the end no matter what happens.

That’s also how I define patriotism. Not to be confused with the Patriots, who can (with all due respect) suck it.

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