Fans & Expectations (Plus sleepless nights)

It has been a while since I’ve written anything about sports on this blog, as a matter of fact, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything at all on this blog, but that’s not really the point here. If you’ve followed this blog before you know it happens quite frequently where I go into long hiatuses followed by frequent, random bursts of words. Anyway, let’s get back to sports (those words may have told you to close the window if you couldn’t care less about sports – lol). Then again this post isn’t about any specific sport, or team, it’s just about being a fan. Being a fan is hard, or maybe stressful is a better word. When a new season begins, expectations are high. It’s tough to sleep when your team struggles early on. When the dust settles things. become clear as do your expectations for your team, and you might even be able to sleep a little better. But no matter how high or low these expectations are, letdown/stress/frustration is always right around the corner. That might sound like a pessimistic way to look at things, but think about it. Only one team finishes the season as the champion. Every other team “failed”. Even the champion didn’t just coast through the season not having caused any stress for their fans. There are ups and downs to every season for every team. That’s something all fans realize and deal with each year, but it’s the years where our teams try to convince us that our expectations should be higher than what they are. Prime example — the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals (yes, we all knew this was coming back to one of my favorite teams). They entered the season with questions all over the diamond, but they managed to hang around for half of the year. The second half came, and they slowly declined to a position where everyone thought they would be. Meanwhile, the fans (aka me) understood that this year wasn’t their year. I was okay with that since my expectations were not that great to begin with. The Cardinals had a lot of issues, and they were finally catching up to them. Fair enough; we all knew this was their fate, or so we thought. I’d go to bed quietly at night thinking about football and worrying more about my fantasy baseball team than the actual one I followed. The results of the games didn’t really matter to me anymore because the expectations were now nonexistent.

But wait a second…Atlanta collpased, and STL played out of their asses and snuck into the playoffs. We thought, “Wow, that was impressive.” What-if’s began to creep into our heads until we realized STL had to beat the Philadelphia Phillies (the best team in all of a baseball I might add) three games before they could do it to us. That wasn’t going to happen was the consensus. Once again, zero expectations. Anything that happens now is just icing on the cake was the mentality. Five games later, STL prevailed by somehow managing to take the series from the Phillies. Holy shit – maybe this really isn’t a fluke!! Now it is starting all over again, expectations are through the roof. The Cardinals didn’t make it this far by chance; they actually have a good baseball team. They can win now and could play in the World Series.

Shit! Now I’m back to sleepless night, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is exactly why we root for our teams in the first place.


Cross It Off

I think it is quite obvious I am a huge sports fan seeing as 95% of the posts on this blog focus on sports, but there are a number of things holding me back from taking that next step up the sports fan ladder. One thing that separates fans is how many sporting venues they have attended, but not only that, it’s how historic the venues really are (Wrigley, Madison Square Garden, Fenway, Lambeau, Augusta National, etc). Another important thing is thecaliber of events they’ve been to. The World Series, Super Bowl, Final Four, the PGA majors, the list goes on. Those are the events we always remember regardless of who played or what happened because it’s just special being there. It might truly be a once and a lifetime experience.

I have been to my fair share of sporting events, but when it really comes down to it, the big games and venues are what is missing from my list. So in the past six months I’ve made it a point to get to a couple of famous stadiums and events. I finally attended a baseball game at Wrigley field (and it was against the STL Cardinals – they won) and sat in the bleachers. it was incredible. There were about 15 of us wearing our Cardinal red and cheering loudly. I was also able to attend the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. I will say golf events are not one of my favorite sports to see live, but the course itself was truly amazing to see in person. And one more that I plan on crossing off this weekend is seeing my dreadful Dallas Cowboys play at Lambeau. It would probably be more exciting if the Cowboys weren’t 1-6 and underdogs by 9.5 points, but hell, the experience will be awesome and to boot, it is the Sunday night game on NBC. We plan on tailgating with the best of ’em and trying to stay warm.

I am going to put together a list of events/venues that I need to attend – sort of my sports fan bucket list if you will – and continue to make an effort to cross them off.

Go Cowboys!