|Let fans be fans. (Getty Images)|
When a young man elected to give his favorite team some encouraging words after they lost a demoralizing needed win at home in the Eastern Conference Finals, anyone who saw it, let's face it, laughed. Laughed heartily. They just lost the most important game of their lives (or at least since last June), are faced with the reality that all their pomp and circumstance are nothing but cheap tricks, and that they are not the super-team they or anyone made them out to be. How can you applaud "good effort" when a bunch of old guys and Rondo smoke you at home?
Some even thought he was insincere. That the kid was making fun of the team for having failed so spectacularly. I mean, that's what we all did, right? I was cracking jokes on Twitter like everyone else at the Heat's expense. Before I watched the video, I assumed the kid was saying it in the same voice as Christian Bale when he freaked out on set. "Oh, good for you!"
But he wasn't. Because NBC Miami found him and checked in with the kid, whose name is Jack Meyer:
Jack has been a Heat fan since he was 3 or 4. He loves to play ball with his dad, and enjoys collecting the team's memorabilia in his room. His Heat-themed bed is “super cozy,” he says.Via NBCMiami.
So when people have the audacity to question whether the young Coral Gables hoops fan was mocking the Heat, the passion in his voice makes it obvious where he stands.
Jack, who was at the game with his father James, hopes his cheers will encourage the team for Game 6.
“You can't give up this easily,” he said. “You know there's always got to be a second chance for you. You always have the power to win.”
Seriously, pure sugar right there. Look, your team is going to lose from time to time, and caring about that is a good thing, it's part of sports. And there's no denying that the Heat's behavior in 2010 set them up for this massive dose of glee from the masses at their outright failure.
But that kid? He's just a fan, whose favorite team happened to put together these superstars, which gave him something to be excited about. He wanted to tell them that even if they lost, he appreciated what they did on the court. They're in the Eastern Conference Finals, for crying out loud. That's a pretty good job for most teams. Not the Heat, and that's fine, but I'm not going to begrudge the kid wanting to tell his heroes that. What should he do? Tell his heroes they're terrible and he hates them? They're his heroes.
Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes about the episode, admitting he laughed at first, too:
But then I watched the video again. And again. Watched closer, thought a little bit more, and you know what?
I actually think it's pretty cool.
Because we all used to be that kid once, didn't we? We all used to be innocent sports fans, unburdened by the requisite cynicism it takes now in a world of fake Twitter handles, anonymous cyber tough guys and talk radio shouting.
If you open your mind, there's something much better than a laugh in that video. There's something more special, something much more rare, something worth treasuring.
That's innocence. Optimism. Empathy. A reluctance to judge, restraint from belittlement.
via Good job, good effort, and sincerity | Don't Kill the Mellinger.
Eight months ago, we didn't have professional basketball. We didn't have a season. No playoff seeds or rookie campaigns. We had the lockout, cold, dark, cynical, and brutal. Instead, we get this. Four great teams who have battled their way to this moment against terrific competition, overcoming adversity and competing at the highest level for the prize they've worked their entire careers for.
So yeah, good job. Good effort. I'm as brutal as they come on Twitter. Maybe today I'll try and remember what it was like to just be a pure fan.
(Note: I will not do this, I will continue making fun of people on Twitter. It's too late for me. Save yourselves!)