Upsets and Boo-birds

I know that most of my readership doesn’t follow sports, but there were two items in the news that speak a bit about human nature.

The first was the huge college football upset of the University of Michigan by Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. This is significant because Appalachian State is a Division 2 team (or was until recently) and Michigan was ranked #5 in the nation among Division 1 school. For those unfamiliar, there are over 200 Division 1 schools and Division 2 schools are weaker then the vast majority of them (more or less). This has never happened before. No Division 2 team has defeated a Top 25 Division 1 team, much less one in the top 5.

But the fact that this feat took place is not why I’m mentioning it here. It was because I was quite happy to hear that Michigan was on the losing side of this. And that they were upset so badly and so historically. Yes, I was actually content that another team lost. It’s not something I’m proud of, and I’m actually trying to overcome when this feeling hits me in order to become a better person. But why does it happen. It also happens when I hear that Notre Dame loses, or up until a few years ago when Duke University loses, and only recently the Chicago White Sox.

In the case of Duke University, it had to do with the character of one player. Bobby Hurley came across as a smug little player who led his team to championships. I didn’t like his character and the fact that his team won what seemed like every year. Plus Duke fans were a bit cocky also. One of the most satisfying games I ever saw was when I was present to see Jason Kidd and California University upset them out of the NCAA tournament in 1993. I have since made peace with Duke because they have a great program with a great and I’ve actually visited the campus since my mother now lives near there. Plus the medical center saved my mother’s life.

As for Michigan, Notre Dame, and the White Sox, it has been solely due to the fans. I’m one of those people who HATE trash talking. Don’t talk negatively about the opposing players families and personal life. They are athletes. Their personal life is largely irrelevant. Plus I dislike those who are too proud and smug about their teams performance. Almost every team goes through ups and downs. So why act superior when your team may be inferior after a few games.

In the White Sox case it all goes back to the All-Star game in 2003. Now I’d always cheered for any Chicago team. There is the Cubs-White rivalry, but I never got into that. The Cubs are my first team, but I used to cheer for the Sox also. So my father got tickets to the game and we sat up in the upper grandstands. We were a scattering of Cubs jerseys among a sea of Sox jerseys. But that wasn’t it. The individual players were being introduced and the White Sox fans booed for EVERY SINGLE PLAYER except the two or three from their team. They even booed their own manager. I feel that was an embarrassment for Chicago. These are the elite players of the game who have accomplished great things and this game is meant to honor them, yet they booed them like they were the most despicable people on earth. It was shameful. Due to this along with White Sox fans regularly getting into fights (two guys beat up a couple parents in front of their kids), I resolved not to cheer for them again until I had seen something otherwise that proved their honor. That did not happen before they went to the World Series a couple years ago. And true to my word, I did not watch a minute of it.

Which bring us to yesterday’s occurance. The Cubs star pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been in a slump lately. And yesterday wasn’t any better. He pitched poorly and made multiple errors both fielding and baserunning. So when the manager came into replace him, the fans booed him as he walked off the field. Now Zambrano is a very emotional and expressive player. He even got into a fight with his catcher during a game earlier this season. But as he walked off the field he was looking up at the fans, tapping his temple, and saying “I hear you.” At first I thought it was a bit unjust for the fans to boo their star player. I’m really not a big fan of booing anyhow unless it’s someone who is a dirty player or a great player on the other team and is done out of jest. But after seeing how bad his performance really was, it seemed justified. That said, I have noticed fans booing more and more often for things more and more minor. I really don’t like this trend. I was taught good sportsmanship when I was growing up and I have a difficult time when I see others who don’t practice it.


~ by Frank on September 4, 2007.

2 Responses to “Upsets and Boo-birds”

  1. Ok, Your in my house now so I have to comment.
    The Michigan defeat is equal to a #64 seeded NCAA Basketball tournament team defeating a #1 seeded team. It was amazing. Actually I was pleased at the outcome too.

    Yes, Pale Hose fans are a rare breed. Those so called fans would rather see our Cubbies lose than their own team win. I have mentioned this face to face to a number of die-hard fans and they pause,… don’t say anything, and concur with their silence. There is even a ‘fan’ who wears a jersey.. CUBS S_CK and number 69. There are so jealous that the lovable losers have so much support but 2 years after winning the World series the stands are half full (not half empty).

    I never boo my team. There is a strong contingent of passionate young Cub fans who do boo and I will give them the right to do so but my opinion is that this is MY TEAM deserving of my support in thick and thin. And in my years it has mostly been thin with a rare victory now and then. I was at the Z-Man game when the boos came out after he made a base running blunder and gave up a good number of runs but I was wondering if the booing was really directed at Ohman who was coming into the game for the first time, being called up the day before, after he lambasted the team and management when he was sent down to the minors a month earlier. Things are not always what we see, what we hear and defintely what we read in the press.
    So keep rooting for our Cubbies!!
    I am amazed that the cubs are still up there, they would be 10 games out in any other MLB division.

  2. Yeah, I don’t understand the hatred coming from those fans. I’d say something bad about their team, but I have too much respect for my friends who are real honest fans.

    Watching the playoff games put the booing into perspective. It’s quite possible I would have joined the fans who booed when they had the bases loaded and hit into a double play. It was just so frustrating. It’s not very supportive, but it really seemed to throw any chance of winning out the window. That said, booing for stuff much more minor seems to be much more common.

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