I am a fan of a bad sports team. The St. Louis Rams have been one of the worst teams in the NFL for the last five years. And after an 0-5 start things do not look to be turning around. After much crying and anger over several games I have decided to write out the steps that are taken in realizing that you like a bad sports team.
This usually is found in the off-season of the team you are cheering for. You have listened to the sports talk radio stations, followed the teams twitter account, and kept up with all the moves they have made in the off-season. You cannot wait for the season to begin so that your team can start their run for the title. Be weary of early excitement. Often times you are reminded that objects in the mirror are closer than they appear and teams that bring about off-season excitement can very easily bring huge disappointment.
2) Over Confidence
This usually starts at the beginning of the season. Usually in the pre-season. Your team plays well, the experts are surprised by their ability to score, and you start to predict things that you know are not possible. This is best illustrated by a situation that happened in the 1997 NFL draft (ya that was a long time ago, I was 11). Orlando Pace was the number one pick of the St. Louis Rams. Not knowing a whole lot about football I just remember wondering what exactly a left tackle was let alone who Orlando Pace was. But I do remember specifically a conversation me and a friend had with his dad. It went something like this:
Me: “Who is Orlando Pace?”
The Dad: “He is from Ohio State and plays Offensive Line”
Friend: “The Rams are going to win the Super Bowl this year because of Orlando Pace”
The Dad: HAHAHAHA
Me: “Wow, he must be good”
This conversation depicts the early over confidence in off-season move and excitement that builds around a team that has never stepped on a field. This over confidence is something that needs to be watched, it can creep in and make the most sane people crazy. See Lou Holtz prediction of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to finish undefeated.
3) Back to Reality
This can either set in early or later, but usually, if you follow a bad team, this will make itself known early. I was brought back to reality when I picked the Rams to beat the Seattle Seahawks in their opening game of the 2009 NFL season. I was very over confident and excited about the 2 wins in pre-season as well as the optimism a new coach brought to the table. I was quickly brought back to reality when we didn’t even score a point.
Remember this can set in later in the season as well. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals (who I am also a fan of) were predicted to win the world series by many experts. I jumped on that ban wagon and was looking past our first round playoff opponents. Three games later and we were sitting at home on the coach looking forward to next season. This can present itself in the form of early or late. Better early than later, at least you can now go through an entire season with the thought that your team is no good. Of course after the reality has set in, sanity comes back to you and you start to realize, “what was I thinking picking the fourth best team to win the world series?” or “Thinking that the Rams could win 6 games this year?”
4) Moral Victories
When you start to look for moral victories you know you are in trouble. When the only positive thing out of the coaches mouth was that the team played tough and didn’t quit, you have some problems. There is only so much water to go around for that glass that is half full, and there is only so much positives you can take out of a team getting beat by 30 points each week. This is a short lived period and is quickly followed by the next step.
4 1/2 Laughter
The reason I call this 4 1/2 is because it sets in very quickly. It could be a couple weeks later or a couple of minutes later, you really do not know. One thing is for sure, you will get a good laugh out of watching your team play. This is best felt by turnovers, blown games, or stupid mistakes that a five year old would not make. The only thing you can do with this is embrace it, laugh about it, and then say what all good Chicago Cub fans say “there is always next year.” It is true, laughter is good for the soul.
5) repeat steps 1 through 4
Sounds like a Brian MckNight (remember him) song. But honestly, you will continue to repeat these steps if you follow a really bad team. If you want to get out of all of this pick a new team, pray for a miracle, or just don’t care about anything.
These are my five steps to helping you realize you follow a bad sports team. If you answered yes to any of these situations you might want to take a good long look in the mirror and see if this is the path that you want to head down for the rest of your life.