I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, they just aren't for me. I won't be going to the gym three times a week. I won't be introducing more vegetables into my diet. I won't be giving up smoking, or picking up smoking so I can give up smoking. I can't think of the last year that I made an honest New Year's resolution.
This year, it is a little bit different. But I wouldn't go so far to call it a resolution and more just a shift in mindset. This year, in 2014, I pledge to go easier on my Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Now let me explain myself a bit. My two favorite sports teams on the planet are the Seattle Mariners and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Those two teams have existed on different planes of the fandom fun spectrum for quite some time now. Sometimes, I feel that the Shakespearian tragedy that is each Mariners' season has me take it out on the Bulldogs. The Mariners are so woefully inept I expect nothing but failure from the team, and the Zags are generally good enough I expect nothing but success.
Last year, of course, didn't do much to help the Zags case. But it did quite a bit to help me realize I need to temper my expectations, take a step back from the overtly critical eye and become a fan again. To be a fan is to have fun. To yell, kick, scream and throw empty beer cans at your television isn't so much the fan I want to be. I'm not one to question fandom, but I do believe that stress kills and at the rate that I cringed over each Gonzaga game, I was sending myself to an early death.
Last year, the Bulldogs had the best year in school history. Still, it wasn't enough. The unfortunate narrative in sports is that no matter how great a season is, people consider it a failure if you don't win the entire thing. The Mariners hold the record for the most wins in a season, but they didn't win the World Series in 2001. People harp on that fact. A lot. The Bulldogs reached No. 1 in the rankings for the first time in school history, garnered a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history, but they didn't make it to the Final Four. And for some people, the season was a disappointment, and they harp on that fact. A lot.
I used to think that every loss was the end of the world and required a sacrifice of some sort of Gonzaga apparel to please the Gods we must have upset in the process. I used to think that anything short of perfection wasn't the level the team should be satisfied with. I used to think that the Gonzaga Bulldogs were more than human.
Earlier this year, I went to a Seattle Seahawks game. The Seahawks are having quite the year. The Seahawks games, assuming they win, are quite fun to go to. This was Week 3, when the Seahawks defeated the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars, 45-17. One of the people that was standing next to me was not content. Even when the Seahawks had a lead north of 30 points, every stuffed run by Robert Turbin or Marshawn Lynch, every missed pass by Russell Wilson warranted some sort of commentary on the dire state of affairs of the game. Here was a man watching his team put on an offensive and defensive clinic and judging by his reactions you would've thought the Seahawks just got eliminated from the playoffs by the worst team in the league. Looking at that man, and looking at the way I treat Gonzaga, I saw myself in X amount of years (I'm really bad with guessing people's age).
I'm tired of thinking like that. It has been quite some time since I truly enjoyed a game, and for me, that is no way to live as a sports fan. I laughed at the Mariners with the bitterness of 1,000 suns, and I cried for the Zags with the tears of 1,000 dead Romeos. Something had to change, so for the first time in quite some time, I am making a New Year's resolution. I will enjoy Gonzaga Basketball games. I will trust that Mark Few knows best what he is doing (although I will still question his rotation usage at times). I will not expect Kevin Pangos to hit every open three. I will not curse David Stockton's name every time he turns the ball over. I will not yell at Przemek Karnowski to throw the ball down instead of weakly toss up a missed lay-up.
I will finally remember that the best kind of fans to be around are the ones that actually have fun.
So that is my little blurb. What is yours?
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