The Trials of Being a Passionate Fan of a Bad Team

The Trials of Being a Passionate Fan of a Bad Team

The stage of going through a season as a fan of a team that always disappoints.
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Last week, I wrote a piece on how horrible the organization known as the Washington Redskins have become, letting an epidemic of instability take over the organization and dealing with a defiant owner who makes himself look like an incredible simpleton.

Even though I'm not a Redskins fan, I know what those fans are going through. I'm a UVa football fan.

Stop laughing.

Look, it's been three years since UVa has had a winning season and eleven years since UVa beat Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. To say it's hell being a UVa football fan is a gross understatement. I have to give myself pep talks before games just so I can find the motivation to put myself through another game. And let me tell you, it's hard. Especially when you're offensive coordinator is obsessed with running the ball twice and then throwing a screen on third down! It's even worse WHEN THE ASSOCIATE AD KEEPS SCHEDULING TEAMS WE ALL KNOW WE CAN'T BEAT JUST BECAUSE REASONS...

Sorry. I promise I'm not crazy.

Many people ask why I keep going back when I know I'm going to get depressed, and tell me that it's just a game. Here's some advice, telling a passionate fan of a bad team that it's just a game, after a loss, is not the best way to get them to realize they're a bit too impassioned. It's like telling someone who is in a fight to calm down.

It will only enrage them even more.

For those of you who don't understand what it's like, let me take you through the experience. Let me help you contemplate what we go through so that you can act accordingly the next time your faced with a bad team's passionate fanatic.

1. We Build This Year Up As Our Year

Every year is started out with hope and belief. We look at the rosters, we analyze preseason practices, and we build our hopes up that this will be the team that finally does it. We become invested in the group of players who have come together. To us, these players don't just play for themselves and their dreams of becoming better athletes. They represent us and our dreams.

Sure, there are teams where you immediately know that no matter what, the team won't succeed. We all have that place in the back of our minds where we know our team is not going to do well and they're not as good as we think. Yet, we'll find a way to convince ourselves that they can do it.

It's like playing the lottery. You know the chances of actually winning are slim and none, which will make the victory that much sweeter when you OVERCOME THE ODDS.

2. Season Starts...And So Does the Pain

When the actual games begin, the pain starts.

In the first game of the season, UVa squared off against UCLA in the Rose Bowl. I, like many others, had myself convinced that the Cavaliers could pull off the upset. They drove the ball down the field and scored a field goal on their first possession. Then, they stopped UCLA and got the ball back. The over excitement was overflowing.

It didn't last long.

UCLA proceed to have their way with my Hoos, romping them 34-16. Now, what I just did for you was I made it seem like it was a fast execution. Oh, no, this was not fast at all. This was a slow-moving, long-winded beat down of my hopes and dreams. It was a solemn call back down to reality from my euphoric place of celebration and happiness.

After the build up from the preseason, the long fall back to Earth is a painful one. It feels like your dreams are smashed into pieces as the reality sets in that your team is bad. Very bad. All that confidence you felt has now turned into depression and sadness that you have to sit through more games like this.

3. Heartbreak

There are going to be those games where your team shows up. They compete with a team they may not be as good as, but dang it, they're giving it all they got. Finally, hope for the season.

On Saturday, I got to go see UVa take on the ninth ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. What I expected to be a blowout turned out to be a shootout at Scott Stadium. With 1:54, UVa scored a touchdown to go up 27-26. It was our destiny. It was, at long last, our time to have some luck go our way.

Then, this:


Heartbreak city.

I still can't fully bring myself to get past this moment. From tears of joy to tears of utter frustration and devastation.

Sometimes, being a fan of a bad team hurts worse when they play well. In the end, they give you a glimpse at what you could be. They tease you with how well they play, only to come up on the short end of the stick. As a fan, I'd much rather be blown out than beaten at the last second and have that moment snatched away.

With either one comes the inevitable reaction as we travel down the rocky year.

4. The Anger

As the season continues, your sadness turns into anger.

The anger makes you do stuff you probably will regret later on, but don't regret at the moment. Your team is so bad, the anger just can't be held.



That anger, however, doesn't just turn into violent actions. See, most people have that filter between their brain and their mouth that helps them to not say stupid things. When you root for a bad team, you risk losing that filter and say stuff that makes absolutely no sense.

Fans will call for coaches to be fired, saying things like, "I could do a better job coaching this team." Clearly, you absolutely have no shot at being anywhere near as good of a coach as a fan, but some actually mean it. They're brains are so decimated by their anger, they'll believe anything.

I've actually heard an angry fan scream at a college athlete that he would kill him. A few things need to be pointed out here. One, I'm a passionate fan, but to threaten a college kid because you don't like the way he's playing show's me more about the fan than the student-athlete. Two, let me just give you a loose depiction of what this fan looked like:

I don't want to be mean, but there is no way in hell a guy like this is going to get one shot in on an athlete in his 20s. This wasn't so much beer-muscles as much as it was angry fan just having no brain.

Still, as the season drags, this kind of stupidity due to madness becomes a norm. The only thing to calm this anger down is for the season to end.

4. The Season Ends and We Think We Get a Break

THANK GOD THIS DRECK OF A SEASON IS OVER.

You can finally get away from the continued negativity. Sure, there were probably some good moments during the season, but overall, you didn't have all that much to smile about. Looking back, we try to find things to make us laugh about, but it's more effective to just erase the horrible season from the old memory bank.

The problem is that when a bad season ends, there are still other teams with good season who make the postseason. We watch those teams, see them play well, and do this:

I feel you, Animal.

You never truly get a break. We follow the team so passionately that we constantly think about them. Even when they don't play, we can't help but compare them to good teams and just imagine what it's like. It stings and lingers with you. What should be a time to decompress doesn't truly come until the start of the next season.

Which means:

5. The Vicious Cycle Continues

We're fans. What else can we do?

When UVa started the football season this year, I tweeted: "I don't know why I always come back, I just love you too much UVa. #HOOS #BeatUCLA"

That depicts being a fan of a bad team. Our loyalty stays intact, even if we know what the results will be. We can't help it. Your heart wants what your heart wants.

If you have an encounter with a passionate fan of a bad team, you will undoubtedly deal with one of these stages, probably more. Please understand, it's nothing personal with you. We don't hate you, we don't not like you. You've just engaged us at the wrong time. We know you want to help, but it just isn't the right time yet. Just give us time, we always get over it.

Maybe.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.sbnation.com/2015/9/12/9316771/backup-notre-dame-qb-throws-game-winning-td-pass-breaks-this-poor-uva

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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UFC 235: Titles, Debuts, And Redemption

UFC 235 Is Shaping Up To Be One Of The Most Anticipated Cards Of the Year

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As 2019 continues to unfold we are getting closer and closer to one of the biggest cards of the year on March 2nd at UFC 235 with #3 ranked Light-heavyweight Anthony "Lionheart" Smith getting a shot at the title when he faces arguably the greatest of all time the UFC Light-heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones. Since moving up to the Light-Heavyweight division Anthony Smith has been on a complete tear as he has finished 2 former champions in Rashard Evans and Mauricio Rua in devastating fashion. He also has a huge win over former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. Since making his return to the Octagon and reclaiming his title when he finished Alexander Gustaffson via TKO at UFC 232 this will be Jones first title defense in 3 years.

The UFC Welterweight Champion "The Chosen One" Tyron Woodley will be in a fight where many expected him to be defending his title against the #1 ranked welterweight Colby Covington but that is not the case. Tyron will be taking on the #2 ranked "Nigerian Nightmare" Kamaru Usman in the Co-main Event as the champ is coming off of a dominant win over Darren Till at UFC 228 when he finished "The Gorilla" via D'arce choke in the 1st round. Kamaru Usman is also coming off of a huge win over former UFC Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos when he defeated him in a fantastic performance that earned him the Unanimous Decision victory,

All eyes were on the "Funky" Ben Askren at the UFC 235 Press Conference as he will be making his highly anticipated debut in the organization when he faces former UFC Welterweight champion "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler in a fight that will really test Ben Askren in his UFC Debut as Lawler has knockout power and wrestling. Ben Askren is undefeated in his mix martial artists and he is has been known as someone who has a ground game that can go toe to toe with current UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He showcased his skills around the world as he is the former One and Bellator Welterweight Champion. "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler is coming off of a loss to Rafael dos Anjos and a serious injury that kept him out of action.

Another huge fight on the card will be #6 ranked Featherweight Jeremy Stephens defending his spot in the division against top prospect and upcoming #13 ranked Zabit Magomedsharipov. Stephens has been very dominant in the division despite his last loss against #1 ranked Jose Aldo and is hoping to derail this huge hype that is Zabit. Magomedsharipov is looking to break into the top 10 in the division if he can put on a dominant display and dismantle Jeremy Stephens.

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion #2 ranked Cody "No Love" Gardbrandt will make his return to the octagon as he hopes to put his last 2 losses against the current UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw behind him as he hopes to get back in the right direction to get his title back. Cody will be facing #8 ranked Pedro Munhoz as fireworks are expected to go off all night at the T-mobile Arena on March 2nd.

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