I have two teams. My local team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and my NFL team, the New Orleans Saints. They are both filled with wonderfully talented and athletic people and are both kind of, well, not doing so good this year.
The Bombers have had a rough year. They did not win many games, they saw their coach get fired mid-year, they are under the rule of a GM who does not seem to really have a plan or a single good idea and they essentially have fallen apart in a glorious fashion. Their number one quarterback is not-entirely-lovingly referred to as “the Glass Quarterback” and his main skill on the field seems to be getting hurt. He knows what to do, when to do it, and HOW to do it. But instead of executing those three things, he just seems to take on the role of the tackling dummy, only its game time. And he is supposed to throw the ball. Not get hit with it still in his hands. The nubmer two QB is a firecracker that looks like he has what it takes to be great but he is young and full of too much pep and just wings it out there, forgetting that there is a playbook for a reason. He handles the ball beautifully but oftentimes it looks like he just closes his eyes and wills himself to throw the ball as far and as hard as he can and hope that someone catches it. Suffice it to say, he has become our short yardage master, putting his body through hell for the good of the team. The number three QB has shown a decent level of patience, a decent level of skill, a decent level of ability to learn but an odd penchant for throwing the ball to people in jerseys that do not etirely resemble ours at incredibly inopportune times. Like when we are toe to toe with the end zone.
Our defence grew to be quite famous last year, they created a movement and exuded pride and confidence. And they are trying this year. I believe that. But when only 10% of your team is giving that hard, it doesn’t add up to a winning mathematical equation. The GM/coach combo let go of some amazing players this year, whether it be due to money or not, and the retiring of some of our key players hurt us on the field but you think would help us in the pocketbook. Which in turn, should have helped us retain some of our key guys. But it didn’t. The office/strategy part of the year was a messy messy pile of poo that left nearly everyone in the city calling for their heads. The new coach was thrown into the mix and considering what was crapped into his lap, he’s done ok. They’ve won a couple, lost a few, and blew their last hope for a playoff bid. But all in all, I think he’ll be a decent coach once he is given some solid players to work with and some sense of permanence with what he has in front of him.
But on Saturday afternoon, watching their playoff hopes slip away, I thought not of what it felt like as a fan and tried instead to think of what it would feel like as a player who has made it through all of their turmoil this year. And tried to think of the level of expectation everyone had of them despite all of that turmoil. And I knew that I would cheer for them till the last second of the game and when they take the field for the first time next year I will be there, cheering just as loud. Of COURSE I will be.
After every weekend, people at work always bug me for still being a fan. I don’t understand these people. If you’re a fan, you’re a fan. No? If you only cheer for them when they win, then you’re not a fan. If you decide they SUCK when they lose, then you’re not a fan. If you can’t believe you even wasted your precious time going to the game, then you’re not a fan. If you badmouth them publicly and ridicule them for even trying, then you’re definitely not a fan.
Some people say its their JOB to win, they get PAID to win. Yes, true enough, they are paid to go out there and do their best and as a result, bring home a win. But tell me this, people who say that. Have you never had a bad day? Have you never failed at work, even once? Have you never sucked at something you tried to do, even though you put your whole heart into it? Thats what I thought. Only guess what, YOU don’t have the whole city shitting on you all at once when it happens to you.
Some people call me crazy. I prefer die hard.