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Start with the man in the mirror

by Nick Vitrano

Sports is a funny thing.  Fans willingly enter into a masochistic agreement in which the odds of contentment are so overwhelmingly stacked against us that it’s a wonder we return at all.  It is the great irony of fandom.  At the conclusion of every season, regardless of the sport, only one fan base is truly happy.  All others are relegated to the scrap heap of hope known as “we’ll get ‘em next year.”  People wonder why sports talk radio’s airwaves are dominated by pessimism.  Well, there it is.   

It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  Tell that to the fan of a perennial loser.  Fans always believe they can do it better than those making the decisions that directly impact our rooting demeanors.  Sometimes, I think that’s true.

As a fan, it is our right (arguably our duty) to analyze and criticize.  But we fans often overlook the role we play in the equation.  Passion blinds us to fact and exposes our own hypocrisy.  Cries of “do something!” are incomplete at best, insanely unrealistic at worst.  Too lofty of expectations, coupled with short memories, create in us entitlement.  

I’ve been blessed to have worked my entire career in the state in which my rooting interests reside.  A life-long Packers, Brewers, Bucks, Badgers fan, I (like all fans of the aforementioned) have suffered through extended stretches of unthinkable ineptitude…I have been fortunate to celebrate on the highest of levels.  It’s the latter that spoils us, fashions in us privilege.  How quickly we forget that our sport owes us nothing, save an honest effort – and ever that’s debatable.