As sports fans, our lives are often filled with joy. But as is the case with anything in life, it ain't all sunshine and rainbows. Our lives are often filled with regret as well.
Sometimes, we're driven to do things we regret because we're passionate about our teams and our athletes. We're willing to do a lot of things for those bros—spend too much money, consume too much alcohol, get ourselves kicked out of a game...
Some of us are even willing to put our butts on the line in the name of the teams we love. And to those people, we say: It seemed like a good idea at the time—we get it—but now? Not so much.
Here are some things that, for fans, are never a good idea. Under any circumstance. So when the urge strikes you to do something outrageous, refer to this list and remember what happened to those who came before you.
2013 Detroit Lions fans—you know what I'm talking about.
Something happens—something that seems fortuitous—and you automatically assume the best. No matter how many times you've been let down before, no matter how heartbroken you've been in the past because of bad losses, you assume the best.
When Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers both went down with serious, long-term injuries earlier in this season, Lions fans probably assumed that Detroit would easily lock up the NFC North, especially after starting the season 6-3.
They were wrong.
With a loss to the New York Giants, Detroit is officially out of playoff contention, and fans are left wondering how their team—the only one in the division that managed to hold onto its preferred starting QB all season—is missing the postseason.
So let this be a lesson: No matter how good the odds seem, don't celebrate until the fat lady sings.
See also: the Oregon Ducks, who, in November, complained about the prospect of playing in the plain old Rose Bowl because the only bowl they wanted was the BCS title game. Then, Arizona kicked their butts; after that, the plain old Rose Bowl probably looked dandy.
You know what I'm talking about. You're cruising to work and listening to your trusty sports radio station when some halfwit Patriots fan calls in and starts ranting about how he can't wait for the post-Tom Brady days to arrive in Foxboro.
It's a risk you take the second you turn on the radio: When you're listening, you must be prepared for the possibility of extreme stupidity.
But don't be that fan.
Don't be the one who literally takes the most asinine and unpopular view on the planet and then espouses it with all of the zeal of Keith Olbermann declaring a new Worst Person in the World. You know that no one is going to agree with you (not that that's the point of sports fandom). You know that, chances are, you're wrong anyway.
So just keep it to yourself. If you don't regret it at first, you will after the hosts blow you up, along with the remainder of the morning's callers.
One of the best ways to demonstrate just how intense you are is to go to an outdoor game in exceedingly cold weather.
It's just a huge bummer when you pay tons of money to go to that game, and it ends up being an epic fail.
Especially if it's the postseason, you're probably paying hundreds of dollars to gain admission. When you pay all that money to freeze your butt off, you're probably expecting a grand old time. Imagine how much you will regret forking over that dough when the game ends 9-6 in favor of the opposite team. You didn't even get to see your team score a single touchdown, never mind win a playoff game.
And you probably have frostbite to boot.
Tailgating is one of the best things about sports. There's good food, the alcohol is flowing, and best of all, you're spending a few hours celebrating your favorite sport with hundreds of people who care about it just as much as you do. And everyone's happy because the game hasn't started yet, so nobody has had the opportunity to lose.
To keep the good vibes flowing, you invite some of your fellow fans to your tailgate.
And they. Won't. Leave.
They're eating all your food. They're drinking your beer. They're hitting on your wife, girlfriend and/or daughter. And they're so obviously drunk that you may be getting a visit from the authorities within a few a minutes.
It's all good that you were trying to be hospitable and everything. It's just that next time, be more discerning about whom you're being nice to.
If I have learned one thing from being a Patriots fan, it is this: Never expect a victory.
That sounds strange because for the last decade or so, the Patriots have been just about as much of a sure thing as there has been in the NFL. They've won three Super Bowls and pulled off countless last-second, can't-believe-your-eyes, come-from-behind wins.
Perhaps that's why New England fans have come to expect success. But let me remind you of one thing: 18-1. Let me remind you of another thing: Eli Manning.
Victories must be earned, so don't take them for granted. They are never guaranteed—no matter how many Pats fans try to tell you otherwise.
Being a sports fan is all about being opinionated. What is the point of being a fan if you can't broadcast your thoughts, however unsavory, to the entire world?
The thing that stinks, though, is when you publicly declare that Player A is the worst thing to ever happen to [insert sport here], and then he ends up winning it all for your team.
You've maligned him on Twitter. You've ranted about him on Facebook. And now, all of a sudden, he is the savior of the team you spend so much time and energy supporting. And because there is actual, tangible evidence of the fact that you despised him not too long ago, you can't get in on the fun unless you're OK with being a hypocrite.
So when it comes to the players on your own team, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. You never know when that player is going to hit the postseason grand slam heard 'round the world.
Losing sucks. Losing under any circumstances sucks, but it especially sucks when the stakes are the highest—like, say, in the Stanley Cup Final.
But why do fans watch their favorite teams lose and then immediately rush outside to burn a car? Why is that their first instinct? On what planet does that make sense?
There are plenty of civilized ways to drown your sorrows after a tough loss, and many of them don't require committing a criminal offense. For example, you could house a pizza, like Urban Meyer did. Or you could dance on a table at a bar, like Gronk did.
Arson is never a good idea, though. I promise.
You don't mean to do it. If you had known ahead of time what your favorite player was really like, you never would have wasted your time rooting for him.
At this point, it's no secret that plenty of professional athletes are secret d-bags. Some of them cheat (on the field and off). Some of them lie. Some of them steal candy from children and hate puppies.
And when that athlete's unsavory habits come to light, you hate yourself for ever being fooled into thinking he was a stand-up guy. But it's OK. Don't beat yourself up too much. You didn't know.
Now if only you could find a safe place to dispose of that A-Rod jersey...
There are plenty of us—hardcore football fans who take fantasy sports far too seriously—who make it our life's mission every September to build the perfect fantasy roster.
And there are plenty of us who, in December, find ourselves wondering once again how we missed the playoffs.
Most of us overthink our fantasy rosters. We tinker too much, we make too many (ill-fated) trades, and by the time the playoffs roll around, we realize that if we had just stuck with our original draft-day roster, we'd be in much better shape. Meanwhile, the person who has never watched a football game in her life and autodrafted her roster is laughing all the way to the championship.
Let her success be a lesson: Don't overthink it.
See, this should teach you never to be a bandwagoner.
Jumping on the swiftly moving bandwagon is fun, as long as the team you pick is the one that ends up winning it all. The 2013 Boston Red Sox, for example, were a terrific bandwagon option. They produced.
But take, as another example, the 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins. They were the consensus bandwagon pick as soon as the playoffs started. They were just about as hot as a team could be, and seeing as they had two of the perennial NHL points leaders on their roster, they were a safe pick, right?
Wrong. The Bruins humiliated and swept them in the Eastern Conference Final, despite the fact that Boston had not beaten them once in the regular season.
But don't feel ashamed. The Pens fooled Jarome Iginla into jumping on their bandwagon, too.
"Super Bowl Sunday" doesn't have the same ring to it when it doesn't, you know, happen on a Sunday.
At first, people were sort of impressed that the NFL was willing to hold a Super Bowl at the arctic-in-February MetLife Stadium.
What if it snows, we asked. We're not afraid, the organizers responded.
Except it turns out, they are afraid. Of everything.
It seems like every time a new little tidbit of information appears regarding Super Bowl XLVIII, it's worse than the last. First, the organizers decreed that tailgating wouldn't be allowed. Then, the next thing you know, they come out and say that if the weather is "too bad," the big game could be moved to Saturday, Monday or the following weekend.
So while there's still time to get out of it, just accept it now. Attending this Super Bowl is going to be an unmitigated disaster. Don't even try to go.
Sometimes, it's hard to resist. You're with all your friends at a tailgate, you're all pumped for the game, the beer and the liquor are flowing, and before you know it, you're standing in the stadium looking for the best place to puke.
Not only does excessive alcohol limit your ability to focus on the game, it often hinders your ability to remain in the stadium. Security guards don't have much patience for people who are vomiting all over other people. As soon as you start looking like you're gonna blow, someone around you is going to alert the proper authorities, who will escort you far, far away.
Self-control. That's the name of the game.
Why do any of us play sports? Because we love competition. We thrive on it. We love proving that we're better than the opponent.
Fans thrive on competition, too, though it's often secondhand. We thrive on telling the dude wearing the opponent's colors that his side sucks.
There's nothing wrong with a little trash-talking. There is something wrong with a little trash-talking when it evolves into a full-out brawl in the stands. Nick Lachey knows what I'm talking about. So do the rest of you out there who have started mid-game altercations with the opposing fan sitting next to you.
No matter what, this is going to end badly. Either you're going to ruin the night of the dude next to you who's just trying to watch the game, or you're going to get arrested, thrown out of the arena and barred from returning in this lifetime.
In the grand scheme of attending a sporting event, there is very little that's worse than returning to your parking spot after the game and discovering that your vehicle is no longer where it's supposed to be.
Usually, by the time the game ends, you're tired, cranky and cold and just want to get home. But it's hard to get home when your car has been towed because you thought that the authorities had better things to do than remove illegally parked cars.
This is a battle that none of us will ever win. It's happened to me; it's happened to plenty of us. When a sign says, "You'll get towed if you park here," chances are that as soon as the game starts, you're going to get towed.
So just pay up for a spot in a lot. Postgame traffic is annoying, but so is paying $150 after crankily searching, often in vain, for the (new) location of your vehicle.
It's sort of mind-blowing that people still do this. It's even more mind-blowing that some of them actually try to propagate valid excuses for doing it.
If you don't care about seeing the game, you should streak. If you don't care about the possibility of being barred from that arena/stadium for the rest of your life, you should streak. If you have no shame, you should streak.
Otherwise, if you're a normal, rational human being, you should keep your clothes on and watch the game.
Most recently, a 23-year-old woman streaked at the President's Cup (wearing USA regalia and toting an American flag, because nothing says "pride for your country" like breaking the law). The chick attempted to endear the public to her by insisting that the concept of "streaking for Stricker" was too good to pass up, and she added that she thought that the art of streaking was too male-dominated.
Fans, find your 15 minutes of fame some other way. Bringing eternal shame upon your family is never the way to go.
If your age is in the double digits, you should probably already know that this is never a good idea. And yet, every day, we see athletes dealing with overgrown fanboys and fangirls who feel the need to harass them via social media.
Social media is one of the best and easiest ways for all of us to vent and rid ourselves of our frustration over our teams' futility. It's a place for us to gather with our fellow heartbroken fans and commiserate.
But you don't need to bring the athletes into it. You don't know them. They owe nothing to you. I get that you're mad at them, but they're people. Threatening their lives via social media is not acceptable behavior, just like threatening anyone's life via social media is not acceptable behavior.
Plus, if you dare to troll on Twitter, just know that you could go down in history as the guy/girl who got positively owned by, say, Dwight Howard. Do you really want that to be your lasting legacy?
I know it happens. I know that there's nothing more infuriating than watching your team get its butt kicked in the playoffs. I know it's unbearable.
But don't leave early. Just don't do it. Suck it up, swallow your pride and deal with the disappointment. Because on the off-chance that your team makes an unheralded comeback with virtually no time remaining, you will never, ever forgive yourself for being the fair-weather fan who didn't get to see the resurrection.
Heat fans: You know what I'm talking about. You departed en masse with Miami down by five against the Spurs in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. (Down five! In Game 6! Of the NBA Finals!) Why anyone would fail to give LeBron James the benefit of the doubt down five in a playoff game, I will never understand.
So of course, the Heat surged back, Ray Allen hit a huge three that sent it into overtime, and all of those fans tried to get back into the arena, only to be rejected.
And so they missed the Heat's epic Game 6 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Let their incompetence be a lesson to us all.
Part of growing up, becoming an adult and celebrating your independence is buying season tickets for your favorite team. Pretty much every sports fan aspires to have the means to do it someday.
It just sucks when you buy season tickets for, say, the Houston Texans, and this year happens.
Unpredictability is the name of the game as far as being a sports fan goes. Sometimes, unpredictability is what makes it so much fun—like with the Red Sox in 2013. No one expected them to win the World Series with a rag-tag bunch of aging veterans.
Alternately, unpredictability is also what makes being a sports fan unbearable. Like when the Texans go 12-4 in 2012, you decide to buy season tickets for 2013, and the team proceeds to poop the bed in epic fashion and win just a couple of games.
Nobody ever said that investments always pay off.
It's out of your control. I get it. The team signs a big-name free agent or a budding superstar, and your first instinct is to celebrate the good fortune by rushing out to purchase that guy's jersey.
And less than a year later, when that player is gone, you're out $50-$100 and left with a worthless scrap of cotton and nylon.
There's no way to know when a player is going to get traded away, or when he's going to elect to leave. Who would have expected that Dwight Howard would have lasted a single season in LA before everything imploded and he left for Houston?
Who would have known that the Knicks would let Jeremy Lin walk at the height of Linsanity?
Not the thousands of people who own now-obsolete Howard-Lakers and Lin-Knicks jerseys.
(Note: Language in the above video is NSFW.)
You're at your favorite neighborhood bar, you've had a few drinks, you're feeling rowdy, and what do you know? A player from the team you despise walks in.
So what do you do?
Well, here's what you shouldn't do: fight him. No matter what. Especially when that person is a 6'4", 220-pound beast of a human who probably hasn't gone a week without punching someone since he was in middle school.
Last week, one really stupid Vancouver fan decided it would be a good idea to take on Bruins winger Milan Lucic outside of a bar. Fortunately, Lucic didn't engage him, because we all know what would have happened if he did.
To the rest of the fans out there: Next time, you might not be so lucky. Not every athlete is as forgiving as "Looch."