Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool Me Since 1990…

15 09 2008

Fair-weather sports fans –  I can’t stand them.  I don’t even like them when they are pulling for one of my  teams that is playing well in a particular year.(I realize using the word “my” is not really correct and just goes to show how sick sports fans can be – thinking a team is “theirs” in any capacity.)   Take this year, for instance.  There are Chicago Cubs shirts, hats, bumper stickers, eye patches and band-aids coming out of the woodwork.  I’m going to guess that some poor suckers around here decided to get a Cubs tattoo in the past couple of months.  When the Cubs fall flat in the post-season yet again, they can commiserate with the fools who got Cubs tattoos in 1984 or 2003 and are still waiting.  Personally, I can’t stand the Cubs, but I am especially annoyed by those who are suddenly Cubs fans this year now that the team is (it kills me to say it) winning.  I at least have an ounce of respect for real Cubs fans who are there year in and year out.  (Not like, but respect.)  Those people have provided some real humor to my life as they continue to believe “this is the year” every year until the Cubs blow it yet again (something that will likely occur again in the next month or so).

However, I can only laugh at them so heartily.  Why?  Because I’m just like them.  I realized it yesterday afternoon somewhere in the 3rd quarter of the Cincinnati Bengals football game I sat through despite near hurricane force wins and another pitiful performance by the team.  I have never been one of those fair-weather fans.  I stick by my (there’s that sad word again) teams no matter what.  I don’t throw away a hat or a shirt when they are losing.  I don’t lie about who I like when I talk sports with someone, no matter how embarrassing it might be to say, “I like the Bengals.”  I have been a loyal fan.

I’m not sure that can continue.  For those of you who don’t know, the Bengals were good during most of the 80s and went to two Super Bowls.  The 90s were, umm, a different story.  They stunk.  Yes, for a whole decade, they stunk.  The early part of the 2000s were similar.  Then, Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and Marvin Lewis came along, and in 2005, they were very good.  Looking back, I almost wish that year had not happened.  It was sort of like 2003 for Chicago Cubs fans.  It was one of those so close years that convince you the team is almost there.  Things have gone down hill for the Bengals since that year.  Yesterday, I saw a team in disarray.  I saw a team that looks like it’s the worst-coached team in football.  I saw a team whose players, for the most part, look defeated and lost.  I saw a crowd that found the perfect opportunity to boo loudly when it was announced that this game was the (I think) thirty-somethingish straight sell-out.  The fans were booing the team, the owner, and I think, themselves for the product they were witnessing despite their loyal support.  They were collectively thinking, “Why are we selling this place out?”  I think that streak will be in jeopardy (but not this season because the seats are already sold).

I actually find myself considering “dropping” one of my teams until they prove they are better.  I know I have the full support of my wife, who puts professional sports right up there with laundry lint in importance.  You can bash me all you want.  However, if you do, keep in mind you are bashing someone who never, never even considered “dropping” a team in the thirty years or so that I’ve followed sports.

Steelers and Browns fans can leave comments about what a joke the Bengals are if they wish.  I want you to know, though, that it won’t affect me one bit as I could not be any lower on this team.

We’ll call this a trial separation.  You guys can keep your cool stadium and your “roar” sound effects.  I’ll keep my Bengals hat and sweatshirt just in case I need them in the future.  Show me some wins, and I’ll considere being a fair-weather fan for the first time in my life.  For now, I won’t put myself back on the market.  I’m not going to start liking the Cowboys or the Patriots.  Not yet, anyway.

Mike Brown, Marvin Lewis and the rest of the Bengals organization:  You will have to earn me back if you care.  I have a feeling that you will care if many others like me adopt the same stance.  I hope they will.

In the meantime, the only thing good about the Bengals?  Probably this.  I think the cheerleaders could beat the team in a football game right now.  I’m not kidding.

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16 responses

15 09 2008
Luke

They said it was their 37th straight sell-out. I checked out the link in your last paragraph, and promptly decided that I will be taking your place as a fan.

You place-stealer.

16 09 2008
jenefur

I think I’m a NO-weather sports fan. I’m not into any sport, any time of year!

Consider yourself lucky!

16 09 2008
Harfax Johnson

You know what they say…at least you’ll always have the cheerleaders.

I’m not sure anyone says that, but they should.

16 09 2008
Sarah

Don’t give up yet. My husband is a die hard Raiders fan, and despite their continued suckiness, he continues to proudly wear Raiders t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, jackets and polos. They are his team. No one can change his mind.

Every year I make fun of him, and then cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Raiders, Chiefs and Bengals. We may have to all get together for a “suffering together” party.

16 09 2008
Taoist Biker

I used to be a lot more of a rabid sports fan than I am now (and I’m still fairly strongly a fan) but I realized that I was pinning a lot more of my happiness on something I have no control over than a reasonable person should. So I still have my favorite teams that I’ll always support (I declared myself a Panthers fan from the moment they announced the expansion into Carolina), but I don’t peak or crash with them anymore.

I think it’s always a good thing to overcome rabies.

16 09 2008
morethananelectrician

I am a “homer” fan from Michigan. The Detroit Lions are the worst franchise on the planet…they don’t have anything like the Ben-Gals! I still hold out hope every year…for the team, not the girls (that is a whole different dream).

Bad, and no cheerleaders…ouch!

16 09 2008
Alan

A Bengals “fan”? I had no idea. If you saw that graphic up on the endzone board…I created it! At least SOMEONE is noticing my work! LOL

Go Bengals! (even if they do suck…)

I have indeed seen it…nice!

17 09 2008
aliasmother

I totally get where you are coming from. It’s not that they are bad, it’s like they aren’t even trying. And that’s hard to swallow.

I will say this though: when they get good again (and they will…eventually), it will be quite a badge of honor to say that you were with them through this. That way you can sneer at the newcomers with proper authority. At least, that’s what all my friends in Boston tell me.

I’ll believe it when I see it. I like the idea of sneering at people.

17 09 2008
Nevis

I’m a Chargers fan. And I can’t even remember a time when the Chargers did well.

At least they have lightning symbols. Seems good.

17 09 2008
Tim

My wife is a Dallas Cowboys fan. She proudly proclaims, “Even when they were 1-15, I was still a fan… win, lose, or drug conviction, I’m a fan.”

I’m not nearly that loyal to any team. – Tim

Don’t come on here talking about convictions. Everyone knows the Bengals are way ahead of the Cowboys in that department. Rookie…

19 09 2008
duffboy

Did you ever hear that Hootie & The Blowfish song “Fairweather Johnson”: “I like the Steelers in ’75, I only like the Broncos when they come alive. Like the Redskins in ’83, and if the Dolphins are playing well, they’re the team for me, ’cause I’m Fairweather Johnson”. Sorry the Bengals have dissappointed you so. Here in Guatemala people are religiously stupid when it comes to soccer. They’ve been wanting for our national team to classify for the World Cup that is held every 4 years… and, you know what? That has never happened, and it never will, not in our lifetime anyway. Try telling them that, they’d call you Benedict Arnold if they knew who he was.

21 09 2008
sheila

Browns fan here. Life long losin’ fan. Can’t mock ya dude, did you see us play this week? Pathetic. BUT….never bash the team. It’s like sellin out your brother! We have this problem in Cleveland all the time…..Maybe ‘next year’. I’m beginning to wonder.

7 10 2008
Adam

Honestly, I don’t pay much attention, but I was born & raised a Seahawks fan, I think simply because they’re the closest team, geographically speaking. …I can’t see any other reason for it.

My brother, a much more avid sports fan than I, recently replaced all his Seahawks memorabilia with Steelers merchandise. I was totally shocked, to say the least.

Still, while loyalty is a very virtuous

7 10 2008
Adam

quality, I suppose good judgment & a fair appraisal have their place too.

7 10 2008
Adam

Uh oh, a split comment. That sucks.

10 10 2008
iamheatherjo

Aaahh Matt. I came her to check in with you and find this. It just breaks my heart, but I’m used to it. See, I’m a lifelong, die-hard Cubs fan (with a healthy sense of humor) and we’re used to getting our hearts broken. I, personally, have never cared what anyone thinks about my team or why I continue to support them whether they win or lose. Something major would have to happen, something like the Black Sox of 1919, for me to turn my back on my team.

Fair weathered fans of all kinds bug me because they usually get the good seats before I do!!

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