The Power Alley: The Relationship

Posted on October 28, 2011


By Patrick Carr

We’ve all been there before; nearing the end of another long season of cheering for a losing team. We start to waiver and ask the question “Why do I pour my heart and soul into this team? All they do is let me down.” Why do I spend my hard-earned money on apparel, buy tickets to the games, pay ridiculous amounts of money to park next to the stadium? The same stadium that is half full every game because half of the town has already made the decision to turn on the team. Will those fans come back when the team is good? Probably so, but does that make it ok? The reason for a team’s struggles can have many variables, bad coaching, bad ownership, injuries, and even father time catching up with veterans. So when is it ok to pull the plug on your team? After 1 year? 2 years? Or is it a set of circumstances such as an owner not spending money to put the best product on the field? It’s tough being a fan, but there is no relationship in the world like the one you have with your team.

The following quotes from the 2005 sports flick “Fever Pitch” makes a great point that is often forgotten by fans. It highlights the relationship a fan has with his team. The true essence of being a fan can be summed up in a simple conversation between two fictional Red Sox fans discussing this very topic. Ben, (played by Jimmie Fallon) gets it; he understands the unique relationship he has with his beloved Red Sox. His friend Troy echoes the sentiments of every heart-broken fan of a franchise starved for a championship.

Troy: “Why do we inflict this on ourselves?”

Ben: “Why? I’ll tell you why, ’cause the Red Sox never let you down.”

Troy: “Huh?”

Ben: “That’s right. I mean – why? Because they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

The back and forth is genius, and one of the best ever exchanges in a sports movie. It highlights the triumphs of a beaten down fan still holding on to hope, and finding the right balance between expectations and sanity. This fan could be you, and probably is if you don’t cheer for a select few franchises that produce championships on a consistent basis.

The NFL has brought this debate to the forefront with the various “Suck for Luck” campaigns being thrown together by fans, radio stations, and, so it seems a few team owners. Is it ok for you, a fan, to root for your team to take a year off and draft the top quarterback prospect since John Elway? Can you even consider yourself a fan if you’re rooting for your team to fail in the short-term for long-term success?

The answer is yes, and the reason is simple. Through thick and thin, good and bad, as long as you don’t turn your back on your team, and walk away for greener pastures you can do whatever you want. Whether that’s cheering for victory, or cheering for your team to tank the rest of the season. That is the beauty of being a fan. No one can tell you the correct way to be a fan. They can’t tell you who to root for, or why you should root for them. You have to establish that relationship yourself, and maintain it the best way you know how. The truth is, you will never have a relationship in your life-like the one you have with your team(s). You will experience your ups and downs just like any relationship, but the partnership will never end; they are consistent and can always be fixed, and best of all they’re loyal. And loyalty is all you can ask for in a relationship….. Right?

Follow Patrick on Twitter @patrickcarr24

Posted in: The Power Alley