972. I'll admit it, I'm a fair weather fan.
Actually, I've never been much of a sport fan to begin with. I've always found televised sports a crashing bore, while I do like baseball–when we can get to the park and watch. Now, that's a good time. I keep hoping Portland can land big league ball because, hey it would be kind of cool to be able to catch MLB live (though the day it comes to town, as it must, because Portland b-ball fans never give up, it will no doubt be too damn' expensive. Anyway.)
I'm removed enough from sports that when the local offerings suck, you won't find me anywhere near 'em. During the Drexler years, when the Trail Blazers were the greatest also-rans the sport ever saw, I was there for every game I could get, and I still think that Clyde the Glide never getting a championship ring is a great injustice. Moreover, even though the 'Zers never got out of the Finals alive, they were great players and gentlemen...you ever think Duck or Mercy, Mercy would have been caught anywhere near the chronic or dogfights? Never in a million years, my friends.
But, that's another digression. As I said, I'm a fair weather fan. I'm not saying this because I'm necessarily proud of it, but I'm not ashamed.
I look at it this way. Pro Sports, like any business, is selling me a profit. Unlike most businesses, they sell me a team of personalities and an organzination that generates emotions and events. You can't hold it, you can't put it on the shelf, you can't put it back in the box and take it out again when you want to play with it. If you have it, though you know it; when it's good, it's very good, and when it stinks, well...
My thoughts turned this way when I read that that OSU snatched defeat from the jaws of a UCLA victory (UCLA! They could have kicked UC ass!) and read the various mea culpas generated by Riley and the gang. And I'd realized that, even though during the last two seasons, when OSU Football was appointment radio with me, I'd not listened to a single game.
There's the sort that will stick with a team through thick and thin...and especially through thin. I honor you and admire you; it takes severe dedication to be that masochistic. When a team screws up repeatedly and makes the same mistakes over and over...this must be what keeps blood pressure med makers in profits.
But it's not a life for me, alas. I have enough heartache in my life. So, if a local team won't take its own act seriously, why should I? Laters, folks.
On the flip side, though, you've got to realize that your fair weather fans (and I'm not the only one, I'm sure) are your best friends really. if you're doing everything right, even if you're not winning, we'll be back. I stuck tight to the Blazers during all those heartbreaking NBA Finals because...well, hell, I liked them. They were good fellows, playing the best they knew how. Regrettably, the NBA era they played in was the time where the season amounted to which team was going to lose to the Bulls in the finals that year. That was hardly the fault of Clyde and his team. They were quality stuff, and it showed.
I think you'll find that if you have a quality product, then everyone including your fair weather fans will come to take some. And that's how you know you're winning the hometown fans.
Give me some quality players and a team and organization that will win my heart and I'll be back–whether or not you'll be taking the championship (though that would be the best, and no mistake).
No disrespect meant toward faithful fans, but you'll always have them. Get people like me on board, though, and you know you're succeeding.