The Reactionary Nature of Fandom

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Stupid Dolphins. How could you lose to the Bills Miami?  I'm done.  That's it.  Decades of being a fan, following horrible season after horrible season, and it's finally over.  I'm really going to leave this time.  Honestly, I swear it. 

Sound familiar?  Get a little feeling of empathy as you hear this familiar degradation of a favorite team?  That's because there's a camaraderie of fandom that exists between all fans of losing teams.  I recently wrote an article about how the Pittsburgh Pirates' season was something that all fans of losing teams felt.  As the Pirates went down, ending a season that broke a more than two decade playoff draught, there was a collective despair that fell upon all of us who root for bad teams.

I root for the Portland Trailblazers, the Oregon State Beavers, the Miami Dolphins, and the Seattle Mariners.  While I've been close a few times, and often have had things to get excited about, my teams have always come up short during my lifetime.  Similarly, Dwayne's Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets and Carolina Panthers love has been trying at times.  Dwayne has already stated at least once this season that he's broken up with the Panthers.

This might be why we get so reactionary.  When Ryan Tannehill throws a touchdown pass, for a moment my mind flashes a Tannehill career that puts him in the same discussion as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the best QB of his generation.  When he throws an interception?  That's when the endless supply of poor draft picks from the Dolphins come flashing through my head.  This week, after a loss to the Bills at home, my mind is obviously doing the later. 

Philadelphia fans are perhaps the most notable example of this.  I've had a Philly fan tell me that DeSean Jackson was both the best WR in the league and a terrible player in the same conversation.  Last week, Nick Foles was the quarterback of the future.  This week?  He sucks.  He's terrible.  He'll never amount to anything.  Cut him.  Such is life as a fan.

Of course, we love our teams and our cities, and perhaps this is why sports is so personal for us.  Sports is heavily woven into the fabric of society.  It brings community pride and togetherness for the hundreds of millions of fans around the world.  It isn't surprising that we take it seriously and that we go to bed with a sinking feeling in our hearts after a tough loss.

This week, I'm simultaneously on a temporary break with the Dolphins, engaging in unrealistic optimism about the Blazers, and am touting Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion as a legit NFL prospect.  Next week, any of all of those things can change.  I suppose aside from hoping to root for a winner one of these days, I wouldn't have it any other way.