Anyone who has been paying attention to college basketball this year is aware that the UK basketball team has been struggling this year and are on the wrong side of the bubble going into the last game of the regular season. What’s worse is that on top of the struggles, they are not a fun team to watch and people are growing frustrated with the perceived lack of effort on the part of some of the players. Last night, this resulted in many complaints about the team on Twitter followed by complaints about “fair-weather fans”. I don’t think these complaints make someone a fair-weather fan and I admit that I was one of the complainers(shocking, I know).
A fair-weather fan is not someone who complains when the team is struggling. A fair-weather fan is someone who stops watching the games when things go bad. A fair-weather fan is someone who jumps ship and starts cheering for another team who has a better chance of winning. The refusal to speak of the obvious shortcomings of a team does not make you a better fan than those who speak loudly about them. Personally, I think the real fan is the one who wants the team to play their best and won’t just sit back and accept an inferior product without complaint.
My history as a fan speaks for itself. I was a huge Braves fan in the ’80s when they were the worst team in baseball. People used to laugh at me for being a Braves fan. I was eventually rewarded with a team that consistently made the playoffs and won a World Series. I was at most UK home games during the down years at the end of the Sutton and the beginning of the Pitino era. I remained a fan during the Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie years. I paid for ESPN Full Court to watch games on TV and attended games whenever I could over Christmas. My son has been to multiple UK basketball camps with both Gillispie and Calipari and we both attended a father/son camp under Gillispie(he didn’t make me sit in a toilet stall, but probably should have). I think I have earned to right to complain without my fanhood being called into question.
I will be in front of the TV at noon tomorrow watching the game. I hope it is a more pleasant experience than the last few. I hope I have nothing to complain about. I might rant on Twitter if they play poorly and then I will be back in front of the TV for the SEC tournament and any other postseason games they play. Also, as much as I complain about the effort of some players, I will follow their NBA careers and hope they do well at the next level.
Fair weather fan? I don’t think so.