There are very few things in life that are more difficult, emotionally, than being a sports fan. The highs and lows that come from giving your heart to a team that can’t possibly live up to the burden of being successful every single game of every single season. Yet, even when equipped with this knowledge we still ignore it when we “think” the team isn’t living up to “our” expectations. We cheer success. We lament defeat. Most importantly, we share these feelings with every other sports fan we know, even if they are not a fan of the same team. It is exhausting, to say the least.
Now, with the explosion of social media, like twitter and Facebook, all the stages of emotion get expressed in real time. Your team just scored? Quick. Grab your phone and show the world, and your “followers” that you were watching. Type the name of the player who scored, in all caps, with a bunch of exclamation points. Better yet, just write GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAL! across your screen. Then sit back and watch all your peeps ‘like’ or retweet your comment. It’s a whole new level of fandom, and we ALL love doing it. It makes us feel like we are all in the same room. Perfect.
However, there is also a negative consequence to all this real time emotion being expressed on social media. The haters will use it against you every chance they get. If you brag when your team is winning, you better hope they don’t blow it or you will take a beating for it. If your team is playing like shit, you better keep it to yourself because if they come back and win, and you celebrate the victory, the criticism will be heavy. Worst offense of all is those peripheral fans, who say anything positive about a team that is having success in the post season. The hater can’t pull the word ‘bandwagon’ out of their back pocket fast enough. Which is the biggest hypocrisy of all. Calling people out for talking too much, but then name calling those who have said very little until the most important time.
In the world of “haterdom”, emotion is apparently not allowed. At least not publicly, because that means you may have to answer for your comments. Ironically, the only people you are answering to are the ones who are too afraid to let their feelings be known. That’s why haters suck so bad. They are not true sports fans. They are like Internet trolls. They definitely don’t practice what they preach. They’re just not going to allow themselves to be called out on the fact that they are thinking exactly the same thing that you are posting. If you haven’t got the balls to put yourself out there, with the rest of the sports fans, than you’re not my kind of fan.
For me, I’ll ride with the ones who wear their hearts on their sleeves……………..publicly. The ones who aren’t afraid to be wrong. The ones who truly get the chance to cheer success, or suffer the pain of failure……TOGETHER! That is the sports fan I am, and the one I want to be associated with.