Monday, October 15, 2007

Who is more foolish? The fool, or the person who follows the fool?

I'm feeling a little philosophical after watching my beloved Hawks get pantsted on national TV. As much as I may have predicted this possibility, I never expected them to look so inept. It's not often that you can lose 21-0 and then look significantly worse the following week. We managed.

This is not new territory. Seattle sports fans are used to being the butt of jokes or just ignored. So why do we continue to cheer for these teams? My buddy's wife gets so angry at him when he screams at the TV that she will yell, "Why don't you just cheer for the other team then?!!"

When he told me that story yesterday, I burst out laughing. It still makes me chuckle. The idea of just deciding I would cheer for the team that was winning seems so absurd. Then again, nothing is stopping us from doing just that.

I have friends that are Yankees fans or Laker fans or even just the flavor-of-the-year fans. These are lower quality fans, right? Picking a team because they always win isn't what sports is about. Without experiencing the humiliation of showing up at school or work the day after the team everyone knows you love loses in some dreadful way, how can you truly appreciate the highs of winning a division, a conference, a championship?

Is that sports fan high horse really worth it? If I started to teach my sons to be Yankees fans, maybe they would have fewer depressing days. The unibomber is friendlier than me after a loss. I'm not sure I would wish that anguish on the ones I love the most.

With the Internet and satellite TV/radio, it would be much easier now to grow up being a fan of a team outside your hometown. I can't even remember when I decided to be a fan of my favorite teams. My parents were not big pro sports fans. It just sort of happened.

And yet, I wouldn't trade it for the shallow experience of just being able to be the fan of a consistent winner. My NFC championship glass means more to me than most Yankees fan's world series pennants. I certainly had to suffer more to get it.

It's a little like the slots in Vegas, where every loss adds to the pot. If you keep hitting the jackpot every few turns, it's hard to get excited about those small returns. But when you've been pulling that handle for 30 years, watching that pot grown, you just know that jackpot is going to be unreal.

The jury is still out on whether the Seahawks are going to be adding to that pot this year. I know I'll still be pulling the handle each week.

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