Why It Pays To Be a Loyal Fan

Kristin HamlinSenior Analyst ISeptember 29, 2008

Although the title may seem that I have something against USC, trust me I don't.  Except that they are always ranked above my team.  However, some USC fans actually feel that their Trojans suck all of a sudden.


 I was watching the USC game last Thursday in a pretty crowded sports bar. Needless to say, I was surrounded by cardinal and gold, which isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but hey—there was a football game on and the No. 1-ranked team in the nation was playing, so I couldn’t complain.


I’m a Wisconsin Badger fan. Any team playing against a better team than my Badgers, I am rooting for. Of course, I was rooting for Oregon State, though I really thought there was no way they could upset USC.


The point of this article is not to talk about the win against USC or who my favorite team is. What I want to write about is the loyalty of sports fans. 


As I said earlier, the bar was full of USC fans, most of them hungry for that next win—confident that their Trojans were going to walk away with another victory.


There seemed no worry, even after their team went down 7-0. I actually heard a guy say, “Ah, no big deal. That’s just a teaser for OSU. I’m not worried. USC is too good to lose to this team. Just watch.”


Oh, I watched all right.


I watched people start closing their tab two minutes before halftime.


At halftime, those people left, mumbling, “USC sucks.“


They were also the ones wearing the cardinal and gold.


I guarantee these are probably the same people that will tell you the next day that they watched the whole game and they couldn’t believe how USC almost came back and won.


They are also the same fans that, as soon as USC wins another game, are back to loving their team and wearing their logo.


Look, I know that there are die-hard USC fans who are loyal and true to their team. This isn’t just a bash to Trojans fans.


I don’t know when it ever became a “trend” to root for the hottest team and boo the worst.


I remember 10 years ago it was a rarity to see a Boston Red Sox hat being worn. Now it seems I see one everywhere I go.


Maybe all of them have been die-hard Red Sox fans who supported Boston through all their rough years.


Chances are, though, that some of them were the same fans ashamed of owning—much less wearing—anything that supported Boston.


Speaking of baseball, I absolutely love the Chicago Cubs.  Born and raised on them.  I took so much heat wearing my Cubbies jersey anywhere I went.  It made me proud that one jersey could get so many remarks—mainly bad ones.


Still though, at least my Cubs were popular in some way. 


Now when I wear it out, I seem to blend in.


I was at Wrigley Field last year when I saw two men decked out in red and blue.  I’m talking painted faces and all.  When I asked how long they had been Cubs fans, they replied “forever.”


I then asked what they thought about Sandberg, Dawson, and Grace, to which they responded, “Who?”


I waited for a laugh to indicate that they were joking.  All I heard was the sound of confusion as to what I was asking.


I guess “forever” to them means a total of two years. 


Another example of an awful fan was back in January of 2006. I was watching an unbelievable game with two of the most talked-about players at the time, Vince Young and Reggie Bush. I thought I was watching it with a die-hard Texas Longhorn fan who lived and breathed this team any time he would go out. 


The game was 37-26 USC with about six minutes to go. Would you believe it if I told you that my die-hard Longhorns fan gave up on his team, threw down his “lucky hat,” and walked out?


Vince Young, his so-called favorite player, scored on 4th-and-5 with 20 seconds to go, clinching the Longhorns' National Title.


He later told me he would have given anything to have watched that game.


He didn’t deserve to watch the rest of it. Root for your team and keep the faith. They need you.


So before you put on a jersey representing a team and claiming they are your favorite, walk the walk—don’t just talk the talk. Don’t they say momentum is everything to a team?


We all have our days where our team disappoints us. So what? They are human and will have days where they fail us. 


But we fail them that much more by giving up when they need us the most.


I finished watching the USC/OSU game. I knew if anyone was going to have a chance to come back, it would be USC. They sure made quite a game out of it, but in the end, couldn’t capture a win.


Even the best of teams are bound to have an off day. Sometimes they need it to recognize that they aren’t invincible and that they can be beaten.


These players will be harder on themselves than any fan will be, trust me.


There was a man to my left, wearing a USC hat that looked about as old as he did. I am guessing he was in his late 60s. I asked him what he thought of the game. His response was so heartfelt that I decided to conclude my article with his wonderful words.


“I thought the game was a good football game. Unfortunately my team didn’t come up with the win. I’ve been a fan for 55 years now, so I am ready for a loss every now and then. The thing is, to be a fan, you have to support them in both their good games and bad games. When you choose to give up on your team, then choose that. It’s the rooting for them in the next game as they are winning that I can’t stand. Those are the fans that I am ashamed of. I would rather see half a stadium full of real sports fans that won’t walk out until it says 0:00 on the time clock than to have it jam-packed with a bunch of fair-weather fans that want to be in the 'in crowd'. I am still proud of my boys tonight.  I’m proud to be a USC fan.”


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