Can You Retire From Being A Fan?

Fan in stands....

NASHVILLE, Tenn - DECEMBER 30: (Photo by Matthew Maxey)Since the Tennessee Titans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship game on Sunday I have pondered retirement from being a sports fan.

Is that even possible?

I have suffered my share of disappointments from my teams.  I have shared this with you in previous blog posts: When Your Team Loses and Why Does Sports Matter So Much?

Over the past couple of days I have reflected on my “career” of being a sports fan.  There has been more disappointments than championships.  When I look back, my teams have won one national championship in college football (1980), one World Series title (1995) and two state football championships (1988, 2004).

Sometimes you get tired of being disappointment by your teams and, believe me, I have had my shares of disappointments.  I used to take the losses a lot harder than I do now.  The last loss I took hard as a fan was Super Bowl LI when the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots.  That was it for me and the Falcons.  After that I became a fan “free agent” and moved my loyalties to the Tennessee Titans.

Well, you see how that has worked out for me.

In reality, I have never played in a game or contributed much to any of my teams except gather my snacks together and sat in front of the television and “coached” them while they played.  That’s about the extent of my involvement.

So is the thought of retirement too harsh?

Life is full of disappointments so being a sports fan isn’t any different.  In the grand scheme of things, life goes on with or without sports.  Yeah, it doesn’t make the disappointments any better.  Losing sucks.

There will be people that come out and say “Hey, the Titans had a great season” or “They did better than anyone expected”.   That’s what losers say.  Okay, that’s great but when you get there you should win it.  You don’t play these games to lose or get a participation trophy.  I think it’s funny that the Nashville Predators keep having ceremonies where they raise banners for winning a division or conference championship or winning the President’s trophy for having the best REGULAR SEASON record but they still have NO Stanley Cup trophies.

So what would retirement from being a sports fan be like?

I suppose that would make Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays totally free in the fall and in other sports, I wouldn’t waste 2-3 hours of my life watching the games.  I’m almost doing that now.  I never watch every single game of any of the teams anymore unless it is a big game.

When I think about retiring from sports, I think of those longtime Chicago Cub fans who suffered more than any other fans in sports until their beloved team finally won the World Series in 2016.  That’s a lot of disappointing seasons.  I’m sorry but I just don’t like losing that much.   I had a friend that posted on Facebook once that he wants representatives from the Atlanta Falcons, Braves and Hawks to be his pallbearers at his funeral so they could let him down for the last time.

I read today where the local newspaper has a story about turning our attention from football to futbol as the new Nashville SC Major League Soccer (MLS) team kicks off their first season next month.   No, I’m not jumping on board that wagon.

I wondered about other sports fans that have suffered years of disappointment from their teams.  Here are some fans that might consider retirement or “free agency” and how many seasons they have been fans without a championship:

  • Arizona Cardinals (NFL) – 71 seasons
  • Cleveland Indians (MLB) – 70 seasons
  • Sacramento Kings (NBA) – 68 seasons
  • Detroit Lions (NFL) – 61 seasons
  • Atlanta Hawks (NBA) – 61 seasons
  • Texas Rangers (MLB) – 58 seasons
  • Tennessee Titans (NFL) – 57 seasons
  • Los Angeles Chargers (NFL) – 55 seasons
  • Buffalo Bills (NFL) – 53 seasons
  • Atlanta Falcons (NFL) – 53 seasons
  • Cleveland Browns (NFL) – 51 seasons
  • Cincinnati Bengals (NFL) – 51 seasons
  • Phoenix Suns (NBA) – 51 seasons
  • San Diego Padres (MLB) – 50 seasons
  • Milwaukee Brewers (MLB) – 50 seasons
  • New York Jets (NFL) – 50 seasons
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) – 50 seasons
  • Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) – 49 seasons

So why are people sports fans anyway?

In most cases, we were raised by parents who were sports fans.  At some point in time, we become “hooked”.  My earliest memory of when I got hooked was when my dad took me to a high school football game and his team won a thrilling 7-6 game.  The drama and excitement of winning caught me.  Winning is fun but losing is not.  Almost winning isn’t the same as winning.

Some say that sports provides entertainment or an escape from life for a few minutes.  Losing isn’t the escape I want.  There are enough losers in real life, especially when co-workers call out and leave their workload on your shoulders.  No thanks, I don’t need to escape that reality to see my team lose the AFC championship game.

I’m interested to see how this thought of retirement will work for me.



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