December 27, 2005

The Downside of Anger

According to the Inquirer's Phil Sheridan, 2005 was the year that fan rage "really became corrosive" among the Philadelphia sports fan base. Funny, I thought that was every year. Here's Sheridan:

Rage? Fury? The kind of contempt that was unleashed on Donovan McNabb this year? There's something really troubling about the state of things.

It comes down to this: If following the Eagles or Phillies or any other team is making you bitter and angry and cruel, then maybe it's time to turn your attention and your passion elsewhere.

Let me be clear here. We're not talking about critically analyzing the performance of a player, a coach or an organization. We're not suggesting fans should root, root, root for the home team uncritically, or cheerfully accept whatever happens and then dutifully renew their season tickets.

We're talking about the difference between disappointment and fury, about the line between discussion and screaming, about the gap between wanting your favorite players or teams to succeed and feeling personally betrayed if they fall short....

The root of the anger seems to be this idea, which has gained an awful lot of momentum, that being a sports fan somehow entitles you to a championship. That leads directly to contempt for any coach or player who is perceived as denying you the championship you're owed.

David Aldridge, meanwhile, writes about "Iverson Fatigue," questioning whether fan apathy about the team's superstar is to blame for the team's lackluster ticket sales this year. Because clearly, there's nothing more terrible than being a Hall of Fame-caliber player who stays in the same town for his entire career and keeps the team in contention almost every season. And if you don't believe that, ask Donovan McNabb, or Mike Schmidt.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 27, 2005 04:47 PM
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