What Goes Down, Must Come Up
We become fans for a variety of reasons in our life. Sometimes we root for our teams because we have a deep emotional tie…like attending school or living in an area. Sometimes we have some special keepsake as a child that pulls us toward a team. Sometimes…well sometimes we just pick a team because we like their uniforms.
But make no mistake about it, there are certain teams that pull no bandwagon. There are certain teams out there that are so far off the radar, so far out of the norm…that they breed a special type of fan.
I’ve spent the better part of three years telling you…Husker fan…just what a complete idiot most of you are. Most of you have been trained since birth to expect winning. Your team has been a staple of the college football landscape for three generations. You regale your past glories…you stockpile collectables and memories that define you as a person.
Then there are teams such as my own that have no such history. Wins are few and far between over the years. Conversations rarely include them, unless they are part of some highlight reel that showcases the talents of an opposing player. Rest assured however…for every team like that…for every second-thought, second-rate, also-ran has been that ever flashes on your screen for a millisecond on Saturday afternoon…there are fans like me.
Make no mistake about it…fans are fans are fans. No single individual fan is better than anybody else because of any of these reasons. I’m not any smarter now because of what my team has accomplished. I don’t have any more insight on things because I’ve read every article from the KC Star to the Moscow Times this morning. There is absolutely no difference between me and any other fan of any other team this Sunday morning.
With that being said however, let me also point out that sports are personal. We take on personas and latch onto particular teams or regions as parts of our own identity. We stand behind them during arguments, we oftentimes invest time, money and tears into their accomplishments.
Most importantly…we invest our emotions into our teams. This is an area where you and I are the same. And on this day, I am every bit as happy at my team’s fortunes last night, as you are pissed off that your coach screwed you over and you’re left at square -3.
As I’m sure you are already have realized by now…my best day ever came on the exact same day as one of your worst days ever. On the same day your “Athletic Director” announced that your program is in such disarray that you must start over from scratch, my team is being hailed as not one of the best team in the country…but probably THE best team in the country. On a day where Bill Callahan drove off with 3 million bucks of your money, my team has slayed the daemons that have haunted literally generations.
I would now like to take this time to use this platform as an acceptance speech, as I’m sure I speak for not only every Missouri fan..but every fan of every team that has ever been kicked around, spit on and left for dead for the better part of ½ a century. (or more)
Blow me. Every single one of you, from Scottsbluff to 10th street. Every single one of you can kiss my black and gold ass. From the day I stepped foot out of my parents van in 1986, I’ve heard nothing but how great you are, both as fans and as people. On this day 21 years later, I simply must say it has been a pleasure watching you crumble to absolute nothing, as my pathetic little team rises to the top of college football.
To all of you who have walked past me and said to yourself, “Why would somebody want to root for that shitty team”…you can stick it up your ass. It may have taken a better part of my life, but finally…through heartache, pain and agony that would have killed even the most hardened fan…I now stand not just above you, but miles above you.
Myself and my fellow fans hold now what you most hold dear. Whether or not you accept that, or whether or not you simply roll your eyes at a “one hit wonder” is of no concern to me. Throughout those horrible years, throughout the Tyus Edney’s, throughout the Eric Crouch 99 yard runs, throughout the Matt Davison’s, Charles Johnson’s and Roy Williams’s…I stuck with my team. And to those who stick through adversity, they alone have earned the ultimate payback to those who have tormented them.
This is no longer JUST about me living among you, pointing out your ironies, idiocies and delirium. This is now me being able to look down my nose at you. This is now about me being able to roll MY EYES at you as you stroll down my sidewalk in a 1994 National Championship sweatshirt that is so faded, it looks like something out of a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon. This is now about me being able to chuckle and snicker as you talk about your special bowl trip to Shreveport next year. (if you get that far).
Through all of this…I can now…finally put to rest the ghosts of the past. With this season, an entire fan base can end the age old, “Oh no..here we go again” routine when things go bad. Sometimes we don’t know why things happen the way they do…but when they do happen, it is best we enjoy them as best we can, and take that wonderful and magical ride for as long as we can.
Go to hell Husker fans. No matter how hard you try…no matter how legit you think any of this incredible year is…you will never…ever…ever take this away from fans like me. I’ve been through too much, gone down a road too long to let people who don’t appreciate it bring me down.
Enjoy the coaching search. Let me know if you want any advice on what to do…
I’ve become quite the expert over the years.