The Die-Hard Fan

In my morning routine before work, I always have a local sports station, 1310 The Ticket, on as I get ready. As a P1 of the station (in “Ticket-lingo”, a P1 is a constant listener, and tiers down to P2 and P3), I often hear many different news stories that are beyond the usual headlines sports or otherwise.

This morning, such a bit of news was brought to my attention. Norm Hitzges, the usual 10am-12pm host, was subbing in for the morning drive show whom are on vacation. For the usual “Observation Deck” segment which is usually a segment done by morning show yuk-monkey (the comedic touch on a show), Gordon Keith, tends to highlight something random that he found on the Internet, a TV show, or even an email. This morning though, Norm found a rather interesting excerpt from a blog post written by fellow Ticket host, Bob Sturm, regarding the Die-Hard Fan.:

As I was leaving a frigid Texas Stadium after the game, I was walking right behind a Dad and his boy. The boy must have been 7 or 8 years old and was crying about the result. Some people might roll their eyes, but I knew how the boy felt. When you are young, and you love a sports team, you believe the games and the seasons will all have the happy endings of the Disney movies that you watch. Guess what, son, if you are going to pledge allegiance to a team as it appears you have with the Dallas Cowboys, I want to welcome you to the fellowship of the die-hards. Understand, that once you do, you are not allowed out of this commitment, and you should also understand that most seasons are going to end in tears. A favorite team is the only thing a male human feels the same about when he is 5 and when he is 45 and when he is 75. You will change your mind on everything else. Girls, money, hobbies. But, you will always still feel the adrenaline rush of a win, and the gutting sadness of a horrible loss. I didn’t say anything to the boy, as his Dad was handling it (and he might not have welcomed my advice) but I felt for him. Welcome to sports, young man. Someday, you may live to see a championship or five, but most years will end with your guts spilling onto the floor.

How true this is.

Being a die-hard fan is something very hard to describe to anyone on the outside looking in. We may not always have the sports cry like the young boy did, but the general emotion is the same. We turn to blogs, message boards, forums, Facebook status messages, and just about any form of public outlet that we can find if our guts have been spilled. Often times people wonder how we get so “worked up” and why we can’t “get over it”.

We can’t just “get over it”, such a stomach punch can ruin our day/night/week/month/year depending on the severity. As Sturm said, we can’t turn our backs on it. We are committed. We never hopped on the bandwagon, we strapped ourselves down, padlocked ourselves and threw away the key from the beginning. There is no jumping off. If the wagon crash and burns, we all go down with it. Having our die-hard ties cut would be a hypocrisy equivalent to the Pope saying he is now an atheist (ok…maybe that analogy is slightly overboard).

Personally, I don’t think I could ever cut my die hard ties. No matter how bad the ND season gets, I still tune in (and will do once again tomorrow night). The Rangers may perpetually suck and never win a playoff series before I die, but I will always be following them. The Cowboys may make me pull my hair out, but I am still glued to the game every week. The Mavericks broke my heart when they lost in the NBA finals, but I still cheer for them. The Stars might currently be one of the worst teams in the NHL, but I won’t be turning my back on them. As a side note, in my sports mind, the Dallas Desperadoes do not exist (well, now they literally don’t this year).

We can’t help ourselves. We will bitch and moan, scream for the heads of coaches to roll, threaten to cease donations, etc, etc. However, in the end, when game time comes, we are still there in support in some way, shape or form — always ready to have our guts spilled once again just for that glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the bliss of victory is right around the corner.