Vikes, More Vikes!

Peter Griffith

(Brent Schwert)

There is a new commercial for the baseball playoffs featuring a tuxedo-clad announcer reminding dejected Cleveland Indians fans that they can still enjoy the postseason even though the tribe was out of the playoff hunt by mid-July.
Being an Indians fan myself, I can identify with the cabinet-dwelling Wahoo-heads and their need to back off from their beloved sport while their favorite players hit the links for the offseason.
However, I think the commercial highlights an oft-overlooked niche of the sportsfan population: the fan of a losing team.
Despite the preponderance of Yankees/Red Sox hats, Duke basketball shorts and Manchester United jerseys on frat boys nationwide, most sportsfans don’t get the joy of seeing their team vie for their respective championships year in and year out.
Most fans have seen their share of rebuilding years, injury-riddled lineups and new head coaches. And for that, I commend them.
Before I go any further with this, I find it necessary to make my credentials clear. I have been a fan of Cleveland sports my whole life, which has produced a grand total of zero (0) championships since 1970.
And as for college sports, well, the Wyoming Cowboys aren’t exactly the model of winning. Lawrence basketball’s number one ranking last season might be the closest I’ll ever come to a championship.
In order to become (and especially to REMAIN) an avid fan of a losing team, a spectator needs only two things.
First off, it is vastly important to understand the childlike wonder for winning. If you compete with your girlfriend to see who can brush their teeth for longer, you’re on the right track. You need to be able to find the fire to root for your team even when they’re 16 games out of first place with a week to go and playing all rookies.
Secondly, to deal with a loss you have got to find a way to channel any self-pity towards lame reasons why your team might have lost a particular game.
I prefer referees myself, but there are numerous options: the weather, the coaching, even the fact that you attended/did not attend the game. There’s no use feeling sorry for yourself – at least until the season is over.
The most important thing, though, is to find a love for your team that is separate from winning/losing and separate from your love for the sport.
I watched a bit of game two of the ALCS, and even though I adore the game of baseball . without my Indians, I just didn’t care.