Friday, September 14, 2007

Point out stupid, crazy fan behavior

Michigan fans want Lloyd Carr's head. And why not? Michigan sucks right now, losing to Appalachian State and Oregon to start 0-2. This is Michigan football, after all, a team rich in tradition, a team that just doesn't lose to Division I-AA schools. Go big Blue!

What the hell has Carr done for Michigan lately? Sure, he won 113 games entering this season, but what of those 36 losses. He's lost 24.2 percent of games he's coached. Plus, he has captured only one national championship (one more than Bo Schembechler.) But you'd think he'd have more titles after guiding the team to bowl games 12 straight years and being ranked in the AP Top 25 for all but seven games. Sure, he is the first Wolverines coach to win four consecutive bowl games, but what has Carr done this season? He has to go, absolutely.

The only fans who might be more rabid than Michigan's reside in Philadelphia, where fans have booed Santa Claus and thrown garbage at players. But why do fans get so damned upset when their teams lose, their desire to live drained and their desire to lash out inflamed?

That's what Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Frank Fitzpatrick ponders in today's column. He makes some great points, such as:

"When did all these wildly whooping young men decide to paint their faces each week and live out the blood-curdling finale of Braveheart?
When did the Eagles become the linchpin of their existence?
If, as a lot of social commentators have posited, sports is the new religion, then these scary people are its radical fundamentalists."

Check it out; it's a terrific read.

As sports journalists, we need to be the voice of reason, calming readers still filled with rage after a loss (that damned umpire cost my son a little league game!) and pointing out idiots who fail to restrain themselves (by running out on a field or by posting comments online). Make sure you do not get caught up in this rabid, unthinking loyalty when you write. Be a journalist first, a fan second (or ninth). There's worse things than losing a friggin' game. Let's make sure we remind readers there's life outside of sports. Really.


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