With Fandom Comes Joy…..and Distress
Article by Kyle Sutherland
There is something spectacular about a team you are a fan of winning a game. Food tastes better, days at work go by quicker, and nothing beats having bragging rights over someone for an entire year. On the flip side of that, for sports junkies there are few things worse than suffering defeat as the things I just mentioned get reversed. With the rise of social media in the past 10-15 years, one thing in particular goes hand-in-hand when your team loses: fair-weather fandom. You see it on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, but it is mostly prevalent on Twitter. Honestly, if I were not trying to build my brand I would have probably deleted Twitter a long time ago. It is great for news of just about any kind of subject you are looking for, but there are only so many “Twitter Trolls” you can take.
Football in the Southern United States is like a second religion, and first to some. People plan their lives around football season, literally. Unless it is someone I am very close to, I refuse to attend a wedding in the fall. Being the sports fanatic that I am, most of the people I associate with are as well. Some of my friendships from college are salvaged by being in Fantasy Football leagues or just simply sharing articles with each other on social media. For many, myself included, being a fan is a release from the busy lifestyles we lead and watching or going to games is like our sanctuary. There is nothing on this earth that puts me in a better mood than celebrating a last-second touchdown, 3-point shot, or walk-off home run to win a game. Losing, however, brings the negative side of fandom out.
I’ve become pretty consistent at staying off of social media when the Razorbacks lose a game. I grew up in Arkansas, and with the Hogs being the premier team in the state just about everyone has a solution to what the problem is after a loss. Our fan base is really experiencing this right now with our basketball team. Last night they lost their 5th straight game to a bad Texas A&M team in Bud Walton Arena, their home court where in most seasons it is almost a given they will win there. We have experienced it with football over the past seven years, which is kind of mind-blowing that after one season (albeit a REALLY bad one) some are actually saying Chad Morris can not get the job done despite signing the nation’s 23rd recruiting class a few weeks ago.
It is not the criticism that irks me. Sometimes calling players out in a constructive way is warranted even though as a fan they do not and should not care what our opinions are. In 2013, Brandon Allen was the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks. He struggled through that season with injuries/learning a new offense, and (allegedly) a few members of the fanbase took it personal by egging his truck, then a few weeks later setting it ablaze. I wish both, especially the latter were not true but this shows the lengths at which people will go. Alabama superfan Harvey Updike was infuriated by Auburn fans putting a Cam Newton jersey on Bear Bryant’s statue outside of Bryant-Denny stadium so in turn decided to go to Toomer’s Corner and poison trees that were a gem for generations of Auburn fans. For those who do not know, it is a tradition to roll said trees when Auburn earns a victory. There is such a thing as going to far and we see it normally typed up by keyboard warriors sitting behind a phone screen or a monitor.
As I mentioned earlier, I watched my Hogs lose yet another basketball game last night pretty much putting a dagger in their NCAA Tournament hopes and are now flirting with finishing under .500. About an hour or so after witnessing that, I watched the baseball team lose to USC on a walk-off home run so in terms of sports last night was not the greatest for me. Despite enduring all of that, I woke up today. Sometimes we just need that reminder to think before we post and that life goes on. I’ve tried to implement the “30-second rule” on twitter meaning that when I am really upset I think right before I press send because once its posted, there is no coming back. Even if you are to delete it there is such a thing as screenshots. Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek posted a picture of a sunrise the morning after the football team got pummeled by North Texas in September. While many fans took this as a slap in the face, it’s the truth. Bad things will happen in sports just as they do in life but that’s why seasons end and start again. Take advantage of fresh starts and think about the important things.