THE BACK NINE

Some fans are spoiled sports, but they earned it


Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.

In New England, they are upset with their football coach. The one with all the rings.

In Gainesville, they are questioning their basketball coach. The one with all the rings.

In Baton Rouge, they are thrilled to have retained their football coach. Until he loses again.

In Miami, they are less than thrilled with their NBA coach. Until he wins again.

They, of course, are the fans of these teams. They are joined by fans all around the country who second-guess their coaches and fail simple sports math on a weekly basis. Because there is one mathematical equation that is the basis for all of sports.




One plus one equals one.

One team plays one team and there can only be one winner. That means a loser is created on a daily basis around this country. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. But nobody likes to lose and they take it personally (unless they are Cubs fans and then it's part of the legend).

They celebrate victories as if they had something to do with them and suffer defeats as if the coaches and players had it in for them. And they've never had so many ways to express their anger and pain. They can text, e-mail, tweet, post and on rare occasions even talk to someone about how they feel.

They don't care what you have done in the past. What have you done for me today, Ben Howland? You're 11-6. Your offense is antiquated. What have you done for me today, Mack Brown? Mark Richt? That regular-season record was fine and all, but why are we not playing this weekend, Bill Belichick?

Here at Florida, the same fans who celebrated two football national titles in three seasons will tell you how miserable the next season was when the Gators went 13-1. Don't get them started on 2010. You'll wonder why Urban Meyer is still living in Gainesville.

They are the fans of America. They are spoiled. They feel entitled.

And you know what?

They're right to feel that way.

They are the ones who are asked to spend money on personal seat licenses and throwback jerseys. They are the ones who don't get police escorts to games or are ever asked to endorse anything. They are the ones who paid for their Tennessee Volunteer gear and Air Jordans. They are the ones who don't get deferred prosecution and don't complain about free food.

Fans are the reason players play for money. If there were no fans, there would be no stadiums, no arenas, no skyboxes. Wrigley would just be a field, Fenway a park, the Swamp a swamp. There would be no roar at Augusta, no seismic readings when home runs are hit, no reason for a quarterback to raise his hands and ask for quiet.

Fans are taken for granted until ticket prices are raised or noise is needed. Can they help it if they demand the best?

Being spoiled is part of being a fan. Once you've tasted the nectar of winning big, it makes the taste of losing all that more sour. You don't want championships, you need them. And despite the fact that the other team puts millions of dollars into its team or has as many scholarship players as you do (in some cases, both), you don't understand how it could possibly beat your team.

I've said this before, SEC football fans will fight you if you say there is any conference close to being as difficult to play in as theirs and then are stunned when they actually lose a game to one of these SEC teams.

It's part of the game. It's what you coaches signed up for. It comes with the big salaries. It comes with the bonuses you get for students doing their classwork and the extensions you get to help your recruiting.

And no matter how personal it might get, coach, don't take it personally. Just because I might think "Little Fockers" is a rip-off and an insult to my intelligence doesn't mean I think Robert DeNiro is a terrible actor. I saw "The Deer Hunter." I saw "Goodfellas." They were his national championships. With this movie, he went 5-7.

I am one of these spoiled fans. I'm the kind of guy who complains about a national championship game with so many big plays it gave me stuff to talk about for weeks. But it wasn't 54-51. That's what I wanted. So I complain. I complain when there are too many birdies at the U.S. Open and not enough goals in the World Cup. I complain about shot selections and the BCS. I complain about NCAA hypocrisy and superstar pomposity. And I still complain about the hanging slider Mark Wohlers threw Jim Leyritz in 1996.

It's what we do. We pay for it through the nose whether it be season tickets or cable bills. We complain when there is a college or pro football game on every night but Tuesday because there isn't a game on Tuesday. We complain about something Lou Holtz said on GameDay and yet we are taping it.

It's what we are. It's what so many of you are.

Spoiled fans? Sure we are. But it beats having no fans.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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