Posted on: November 13, 2008 3:32 pm

What's a fan to do?

     I used to be a member of sportsline a while back.  There was something I noticed back then.  I encountered so many people that were so fanatic about their teams that you couldn't even talk to them.  There was a Tennessee Titans fan who would cuss people out that didn't agree with him that Steve McNair was the greatest quarterback in the history of the game.  Then there was an Indianapolis Colts fan that would completely flip if anyone pointed out ways that the team could improve.  There were Raiders fan(s) that would appear on message boards, say absolutely filthy things and then change their identities.  I could always tell it was the same person or persons.  And the list goes on.  As the boards became dominated by these people, who were abrasive, insulting and just really really dumb, I had to leave.  Just had to.  The whole thing was becoming such a waste of time.  I and many other members reported these guys and Sportsline didn't seem to want to do anything about it.  What's a fan to do?  I like the Packers in football, other teams in other sports, but I actually love the sports themselves.  I love the history of the sport.  I can read criticisms of my team, my favorite players, etc. without becoming some snarling beast.  I can debate with people, see other points of view, acknowledge when I am wrong and be gracious when I am right.  It seemed to be rare at the time though.  So I left.
     Not too long ago I decided to give it another try.  Its been awhile, so I didn't even remember anyone's name that I made contact with back then.  The boards are actually fun now.  There have been times that there was an agreement to disagree.  What a concept.  I don't feel the need to have everyone agree with me, but judging by the reactions of other people to most of my posts, there is some appreciation for opposing points of view.  Sure, there are always the few who still don't get it, but for the most part the experience is completely different now.  I find that I would like to thank the members now... at least those that have shown tolerance, an ability to understand, and a willingness to actually debate rather than sling insults.  We can still all be fans of our teams without being idiotic about it.  More people now seem to get that.  I know that the word "fan" is actually short for the word "fanatic", but we do all need to know that, even though we are fans of our teams, we need to be fans of the sport.  The sport is much bigger than the team.
     Growing up a Rams fan in LA, I used to hate the 49ers and the Vikings.  Its just the way it was.  But I certainly never would attack a fan of one of those teams.  One of the most disturbing experiences of my life occurred when I was a young adult.  Went to a Raiders game at the LA Coliseum, mostly to see Christian Okoye when he was with the Chiefs.  I don't remember much of the game.  What I do remember was Raiders fans viciously attacking Chiefs fans, Raiders fans attacking other Raiders fans, Raiders fans attacking anything they could attack.  Now, I had heard how Raiders fans are.  I didn't believe it could be so bad.  After that I did.  Those guys only perpetuated the idea that Raiders fans are violent and out of control.  I have been to other NFL games in other venues and can honestly say that I have never experienced anything quite like that anywhere else.  But I will tell you this... the Raiders fans were great to Brett Favre when the Packers played against them the day after his father died.  When it came down to it, the fans realized we are all just people, all fighting the same battles, all feeling the same pains, all thinking the same thoughts.
     My point?  We all want the same thing... we want our teams to win and we want to share in that.  The more enthusiastic we are the more fun it is.  Its hard for people to enjoy themselves, however, if they feel threatened or constantly insulted.  There is never any need for that.  We can all be fans without all the garbage that people can bring in.
     If you are a Raiders fan and you are not violent, I apologize to you... I wasn't saying ALL Raiders fans... I was merely sharing a related experience.  And yes, I am sure there are jerks that are fans of every team in every sport.  I would guess that the Packers have some fans are as unwelcoming as just about anyone else.  That fact, however, does not make me a hypocrite, as I am not one of those.  Thanks for listening.  Well, sort of.

Category: NFL
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