I’m not a very confident sports fan. Never have been.
Partly, it comes from being a Wyoming Cowboys fan. With the heartache my beloved Pokes have given me over the years, it’s hard to be boastful, even confident. I’m loyal and even “fanatical” — but always nervous.
Thus, I am no fun and not much of a sports antagonist when it comes to team vs. team matchups. I’m not much of a chest-thumper and sneering boaster.
Why would I be? The Pokes may advance to the occasional bowl game in football, but they’ve been generally mediocre on the gridiron, or worse, over the last 20 years, subject to embarrassing blowouts, and the men’s basketball has been abysmal, although I have hope for the squad under new/old coach Larry Shyatt.
The Broncos have been terrible in recent years, and there is little reason to think it will change any time soon.
And so as my Cardinals enter the World Series, as thrilled as I am, I am still a nervous Nellie.
Maybe there’s a reason my favorite Winnie the Pooh character is Eeyore.
“You’re going to lose,” a Texas Rangers fan might tell me.
“You’re probably right,” I might reply. “Have you seen our starting pitching? You will shell us.”
A colleague told me, “You talk more bad about your favorite team than anyone I know. I always think the Rangers are going to win, even when they suck.”
It’s true. I fret, worry and doubt. But I’ll watch every pitch I can, and I’ll leap up, shout and run around the house when Albert Pujols hits a home run.
A know-it-all on Fox Sport Radio – Seth Everett – was ripping on Cardinals fans as I drove to Laramie Saturday, saying they are among the most obnoxious fans in America, right up there with Boston Red Sox fans (his words, not mine). He said it’s because Cardinal fans think their teams are the absolute best and can do no wrong.
Well, he doesn’t know me – and he clearly doesn’t know Cardinal fans, who are some of the most polite and knowledgeable fans on the planet – but not arrogant, except when it comes to the hated, pitiful Cubs.
Case in point: I have worn Cardinals gear to Coors Field and have been heckled by Colorado Rockies fans and even a Red Sox fan – at Coors Field! One Rockies fan, nearly falling-down drunk, waded into the throng of Cardinals fans at a game I attended and tried to start a fight. Now that’s class.
Conversely, when my brother wore his Cincinnati Reds gear to Busch Stadium for a Reds-Cardinals series this spring – and this is as heated a rivalry as there is in baseball – he didn’t hear a peep from any Cardinal fan. No heckling, no snide comments, no derogatory comments.
People think I’m a sports fan. I’m not. I’m a team fan: Wyoming Cowboys, St. Louis Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Lakers. I watch few, if any, other games. I do not waver, I do not change teams, I do not lose interest. But I AM nervous…all the time…especially when games really count – like the playoffs.
What those who have to listen to my whining don’t realize is that with it comes a tremendous power. Longtime colleague Karla Pomeroy and I have often said that we can cuss any team to victory. Many a time you’ll hear me say something like, “That guy doesn’t deserve the money he wants, he’s terrible.” And then, boom! He blasts a home run.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a Steelers fan or a Yankees fan or an Alabama football fan – expecting to win every game. Would it be as fun? The closest I’ve come is being a Lakers fan. The Lakers have had a lot of success over the last 30 years, and I’ve enjoyed their success. And nearly everybody who isn’t a fan absolutely hates them, hates them with a passion.
I guess what it boils down to is that success breeds contempt among foes and confidence, and sometimes arrogance, among fans. Fans are, well, fans – fanatics.
But I don’t think I will ever be arrogant or hateful, except when it comes to the Cubs, Celtics, Raiders and the Sheep (Colorado State). Those are chief rivals of my top teams.
Hopeful? Always. Confident? Rarely.
And so I am hoping, praying, wishing and keeping my fingers crossed that the Cardinals won’t get swept by the Texas Rangers in this year’s World Series, while secretly believing that they just might be a team of destiny and that this year is their year.
There, I’ve said it! Gaaa! I’ve just doomed them. They can never win. Really. (Wink, wink.)