Takin' a T/O With BT: The Sports Fans' Struggle To Keep Their Cool

xx yySenior Writer IAugust 25, 2008


For a long time, this world has blown a lot of different issues out of proportion.

In a time where so many serious and jeopardous events such as Global Conflict, Global Warming, and the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana debacle have grasped the world firmly around the throat and begun shaking it to the core, smaller things become infinitely more serious.

The ability to prioritize is gone—if something isn't perfect, then it's deadly; If something isn't charming and bubbly, it's suspicious; if Sean Crowe doesn't keep his opinons about the Oakland Raiders to himself, then all of the sudden your NFL Community Leader is a know-nothing buffoon with the entire West Coast thirsting to eat his liver.

To the normal world, this has been a recent turn—things haven't always been this drastic or arduous—despite past hardships and difficulties, our forefathers always seemed to find a better way, a distraction leading to the betterment of society and it's attitudes, to keep themselves from going over the edge.

In sports however, we've lived this way for a very long time.

Everything is life and death now—whoever your team signs is a burden and will probably under perform, whoever they draft will undoubtedly be a bust, and win or lose, it's not how you play the game, but how big of an idiot can you make the coach of your favorite team out to be.

That's not to say that there's anything wrong with those thoughts—there are always two sides to an argument, and without the pessimists, the optimists would have nothing to do. Besides, not everyone can be happy with every decision.

But there is a place to draw the line.

One of those places was this weekend when the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Josef Boumedienne. With the reaction garnered in so few places, you'd have thought the atmosphere had just burned out and we were minutes away from being our own accompaniment to our pancakes (or waffles...dependant on your breakfast preference).

For making a depth acquisition, Cliff Fletcher was blasted. He was called (among other things) and old tottering fool who was leading this team down another road of despair with another defenseman added to the roster.

Apparently no one in Toronto has heard of their farm team, the Toronto Marlies. You know, they could use some defensemen too (Boumedienne had 42 points in 52 AHL games last season). Oh, and the contract was a two-way one, so if the Leafs run into injuries (I don't know why they would...it hasn't happened before...EVER), they may have some insurance.

But instead of chilling and putting some thought into their reaction, we Leafers read the headline, saw another defenseman being added to the roster and snapped.

Ain't sports great?

Maybe the reason why we get so angry is because there's a lot of money being thrown around—in a round about way, it's a lot of OUR money—and we envy that.

We see a guy, who may not be the best at his job, score a contract that's more than some of us make in a 10-year span, and we get angry. Not necessarily at him, but at the fact it'll cost us a month's wages just to see him play.

We see men like Mats Sundin and Brett Favre struggle with the decision of retirement. Yes they can move on in the sport and take a different position, but anyone who's retired before can tell you it's hard, and in the real world there's people who "unretire" all the time if they feel they left too early—some just miss work when they don't expect to.

I'm sure the people at their workplace don't flood their mail boxes with hate mail, but then again how many of those guys get $10 million a year and notoriety that a 'D-List' Actor/Comedian can only dream of.

Side note: I was prepared to say "Kathy Griffin" in that last sentence, but has there been anyone who's been as annoying as her who's ever received D-List status and then parlayed that into a career? It's things like this that make me wish she had blown up in that building during 'Dark Knight'—not necessarily that anyone would give her a speaking role in a Batman movie, but just so I could watch it actually happen.

Perhaps when we become judgmental as a fan, it's because of greed. Not from what we can gain, but from what we perceive—we're greedy for our hard-earned dollar to be spent on a number one or two defenseman, rather than AHL depth, or for our favorite players to just retire, rather than prattle about on the subject. It doesn't make their decisions (or lack-there-of) right, but it also doesn't make our failure to recognize what some of these players go through is human correct either.

Sports fans are fickle though, and we won't change—nor should we. We're passionate about our team, our favorite players, and the colors we choose to wear on our backs. We're also passionate about every aspect of our players' lives that happens off the field, and we forget that they aren't only allowed to make mistakes on the playing field but in their decisions too.

Does that mean I'm not still slightly fed up with the fact that Mats Sundin keeps ignoring his own deadlines for his "decision" despite the public onslaught he's received? No...But I'm still less fed up than most.

Does that mean I'm not still confused and a little bit angry about the whole Brett Favre thing? No...But at least I know he's still part of the same race of mammal as me.

Does that mean that I'm hell-bent on assuming that Josef Boumedienne is going to be a bust and Cliff Fletcher is an idiot? No. I still think it's a great depth signing, and if Fletcher's wrong? Well I may be slightly irked, but it's a mistake, and nobody's perfect.

Besides, if everyone were perfect, there'd be no use for sports. Think about that while I cry myself to sleep reading 18-1: The 2007 New England Patriots Story.

Bryan Thiel is an NHL Community Leader and Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. If you want, you can contact Bryan through his profile, and you can also check out more of his work in his archives.