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Stop Being a Sports Idiot

Stop Being a Sports Idiot

Idiot - a foolish or stupid person.

Living in SEC country there is a fervor we share as fans for football that is on the razor's edge of fun and idiocy.  At times it is hard to tell the difference. We spar one another when we win or when we lose. Nothing is going to change that. It’s too much fun. 

But it is somewhere in the rest of this that fervor turns into something else: when we critique the coaches and players ad-nauseum, when we live vicariously through people of whom we cannot control, for whom we make no sacrifice, and with whom we do not share in any of the suffering they go through physically to do what they do on the field for our entertainment. We go too far when we press upon them an image and an expectation that no human can possibly live up to; one of which we should all be thankful is not pressed upon us. So many times our future happiness is tied up in "a game." That’s not fun. That’s idiotic. 

Trust me, every player and coach that is actually on the field has a TOTALLY different perspective on what's ACTUALLY happening than we do - which is why I appreciate this clip so much. This is a coach, Mike Bobo, a former player and coach who has been away from the program at UGA for what, 2-3 years now, but this is it.  In about 10 seconds he reveals to us "the fan" the reality we tend lose sight of, that these are not idols. They are not even “ours” as if we have liberty to say what we want about them. They are like us. They are humans. 

(This video will open in a new window - please come back and read the rest!)

Being a small part of a football team behind the scenes for the past two seasons has reminded me of what it's really all about. You hear people scream criticism at a kid from the stands, but as a coach you saw that kid sweltering in the heat over the summer and you see his face - the blood, sweat, and yes - many times tears when he takes that helmet off in the locker room.  You know his story, but you also feel the pressure of a boy who is expected to fulfill everyone else's dream, a boy who everyone hangs their happiness on, a boy, or a coach who everyone thought should have done this or that differently - a boy through whom others are trying to atone for their past mistakes and losses -  and that boy feels like he failed all of those people BECAUSE HE LOST A GAME.  That's idiocy.   

There is no game worth crushing kids, but that’s what idiots do. 

What we say to each other, what you hear on Finebaum, the banter on Twitter and Facebook - we forget, these guys - coaches, players - they are human and there is something special that goes on between them. To be a fan of a team that lost a game doesn’t make you an idiot or a loser any more than being a fan of a team that won a game makes you an expert or a god for the rest of us.  

If you think that the outcome of a game is a reflection on your value as a person, then yes, you’re an idiot. If you think that losing a game gives you the right to devalue a person who roots for another team, then yes, you’re an idiot.  

If you live and breathe 24/7 through a set of coaches and a team of which you are not actually a part of the process of preparation in practice or execution during the game - then yes, you’re an idiot. If you actually try to argue with idiots as if it is your moral responsibility to save face for yourself, your state, or your team - then yes, you’re an idiot.  I’ve been an idiot and I just want you to know, it’s miserable being an idiot. There is a better way to watch a game. 

Stop being an idiot.

If you want to stop being a sports idiot; root for the kid, don’t put your future happiness on him. 

If you want to stop being a sports idiot; enjoy the game, don’t value humans based on the outcome of the game.

If you want to stop being a sports idiot; put what you say in perspective. It matters most only in your mind, it changes nothing. It’s a fun conversation. It’s not gospel truth.

If you want to stop being a sports idiot; think of what it would be like for others to talk about you and your family like that. Coaches are husbands, wives, dads, mothers, brothers, and sisters. Players are sons and daughters. These are people, not your pawns. 

If you want to stop being a sports idiot; watch these 10 seconds and appreciate the broken voice and the tempered tears. See the humanity in it.

Thanks coach. I’m sorry for being an idiot.

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Saturday, 20 January 2018