Negativity and Sports: 'Til Death Do Us Part

Joe D.Analyst IJuly 21, 2008

As I mentioned in my article "The Moods of a Sports Fan", there is a certain type of fan described as the "Debbie Downer". To sum it up, regardless of what happens, something bad will follow. But negative thinking is a common theme in sports.

We hear about it constantly on the sports-news media, regarding character, fines, or attitudes. Some just like to think negatively. We are force-fed the worst news possible on almost a daily basis.

However, while we can admit that we can't control these people, but we still throw our usual "if I had this much money..." argument, it eventually blows over.

But we are a society fascinated with negativity.

The most "tainted" record in sports may not be the HR record. It could very well be the 100m dash. Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery were former record holders, but due to the claims of steroid violations, the record seems hallow. 

Even the non-track fan has probably heard of Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt, and/or Asafa Powell. But if say, Walter Dix of Florida State breaks that record, the cloud will start again.

Unless it's a name we know and "trust", no record is safe. No Tour de France victory is legitimate. If something turns up in hockey or a more prominent name comes up in the NFL (for example, a defensive end's sack total in a season), the cloud will surface over there.

Steroids are to sports fans as divorces are to TMZ. We know of a positive test before it may even occur, and we love to implicate those who turn up positive in the B sample. The term cheater is a loose term and it's awesome to be able to put that tag on an individual.

Even if it is just Neifi Perez.

We now know that we were in the midst of a cheater. Doesn't matter if all we did was once read his name in a box score, suddenly, everything that player does was irrelevant.

That leads to the thoughts portion of negativity. To bring this to a personal level, when something bad happens on the bottom line, here's what I see: 

Real Ticker: Colts' QB Peyton Manning (knee surgery) out for four to six weeks according to ESPN's John Clayton.

My Ticker: Peyton Manning out for six weeks. 

Then you panic. 

I completely ignore the fact that, if the report from the Indianapolis Colts' brass is correct, it was a bursa sac issue in which it almost became infected. But I could care less. Knee surgery is not to be taken lightly, and then the season is over in July. 

I hope I'm not crazy, but others have to think that when you see something involving your team and your fantasy team. We love to think negatively because, thanks to the media, our minds have gotten used to the notion that we are all going to die thanks to A-Rod and Kabbalah. Or that Brett Favre died on Mar. 6 and recently came back to life. 

The best correlation I can think of would be the workplace or school.

I regret not being the most academic of students. I would rather focus on track and making people laugh in class than to do the work. Occasionally, every blind squirrel finds the nut, but I'm the squirrel that also lost the sense of touch when it came to chemistry.

However, I focused on making people laugh rather than asking questions to get smarter. It's better that people thought that I could be smart if I paid attention rather than not getting anything right at first and delaying that time by asking questions. That's not how it is, yet my mind is/was warped on that idea. 

I'd take that C-/D+ and say to myself, "Man, today was an OK day."

However, if I hear about a surgery to a person I don't know (well, personally), and that I don't know all the facts about; I think to myself the world is ending. Until 2009 at least.

In the workplace, if an important client is coming in, you try to make things as nice as possible. But if you screw up, if you keep your job that is, you just beat yourself up for a day or two until you're fine again.

Deadlines are important but if you turn in something that sucks but is still praised, then you don't care. It's over. Now onto the next chapter.

That's another reason why I love sports. Jobs come and go. Grades eventually don't matter. As long as you passed and got your diploma and degree, right? Unless you're a teacher of course, then you probably should remember why you were there.

However, being a sports fan is life. It's not something that you can squeeze your way out of. Bandwagoners aren't taken seriously by the sports world, the real sports world that is, and you never want to be associated with bandwagoners.

Even if that means years of futility, near misses, and organizational blunders (I'm looking at you Sweet Pea Burns, Andy Ashby, Bud Smith, Adam Eaton, So Taguchi, Timothy Moss, Rob Morris at middle linebacker, Paul Abbott, Pavel Brendl, and the list continues).

You still bleed your team colors.

Let's face it. Life comes first, as well as the health and happiness of your family. BUT your happiness is right next to the box score.