FanPost

A Casual Fan's Manifesto

As someone who went from avoiding fan sites because they took on the tenor of the Strib boards to visiting this particular site every day to scaling that back considerably, what I'm about to say will probably come off like a stale fart or the hiring of Jerry Kill as the Gopher football coach. This is just one fan's opinion about what it means to be a fan.

Fans come in all types, ranging from the ones who don't go to games and talk trash on the Internet to the ones who go to every game in full fan gear/face paint/etc. (By the way, when was the last time a face-painted fan showed up to a Wolves game?) Everybody follows a team for a reason (entertainment/association with winning/favorite sport/conversation fodder/masochism), but most have one thing in common: they have no power over how the proceedings play out. How they handle that determines their enjoyment as a fan.

 

I've been overly optimistic about this team in the past, arguing silly things like "maybe Randy Foye will turn into Chauncey Billups." Mostly, I stayed away from the various forums because they were filled with hyperbole, bubble-headed optimism, and vitriol. Britt Robson's On the Ball blog drew me to the site because of the analysis of Britt and the posters in the comments. To this day, Canis comes closest to that. But recently, I've come to a general conclusion: talking/arguing about the Wolves doesn't make me enjoy the games more. In some cases, it makes me enjoy them less.

Now, there are a couple of questions that might be asked. First, why are you posting this on a fan site?  I think it's useful to have a site like this, mainly for the advanced statistical analysis and detailed answers about the team that go beyond "they can't win close games." It's just that visiting here too much for me leads to overobsession about the behind-the-scenes aspects. Basically, this is an argument for willful ignorance leading to a better fan experience. It is useful to periodically evaluate why the team is where they are, but that period isn't every game or every week.

Second, isn't it naive to blindly follow a team and not question what happens? Actually, yes. But that's not what I'm arguing. Previously, I knew when I wanted this team to cut ties with Randy Wittman and Kevin McHale. I have no loyalty to the front office, coaches, or players; they have a specific time frame to get things done, and if it's clear they can't, they should go. But it's not something I concern myself with because the only vote I get is through my wallet. The Wolves may have someone monitoring this site, but they're not giving me a say in the matter. Not only that, but this is a hobby. The success of sports teams have little impact on my quality of life, and life has enough responsibilities that a person's hobby shouldn't be stressful.

To wrap it up, the goal for me of being a fan is to be entertained, and I'm entertained by entertaining/competitive/winning basketball. I have no say about the behind-the-scenes stuff except for buying tickets/merchandise/products from their sponsors. If they're not being competitive, I'll watch less, but competitiveness would also lead me to watch more. I want the team to win every game, but I have no control over the outcome unless I'm at the game and making noise. It's a lot more fun to approach being a fan this way; maybe it's turning a blind eye on some level, but like the chorus to "Hell in a Bucket" by the Grateful Dead says, "at least I'm enjoying the ride."

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