Editorial: Keep being a fan in perspective

Published 10:01 am Sunday, September 27, 2015

When you’re a big sports fan, it’s easy to get caught up in your team.

The Minnesota Vikings are still early into the 2015-16 season with plenty of reason to be optimistic and the Minnesota Twins are in the midst of a season nobody was ready for, battling with Houston for a wild card playoff birth. The Minnesota Lynx are national champions twice over and the Minnesota Wild have recently tasted the playoff contenders.

Even the Minnesota Gophers football have produced under the leadership of coach Jerry Kill while the hockey teams continue to be threats.

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But sports takes on a whole new meaning when you get to the local level. It’s accessible to the towns surrounding the schools and followed by alumni who hold it as a source of pride when the team they once played for do well.

As with professional sports though, it’s just as easy to become disappointed when teams do poorly, especially when the past becomes involved. Alumni who once played for teams when they were winning, can find it difficult to swallow when they’re teams don’t play up to where they once were.

But that’s a product of life. Teams will not be good forever nor will they be bad forever and it should always be something for student-athletes to work for — becoming a better player, a better person.

There is a certain expectation of professional teams among fans, an expectation to win, but the balancing point is the millions upon millions of dollars that are spent for teams to get better and with ticket prices as high as they are, it’s understandable when teams aren’t doing well to complain.

That changes though when you are talking about high school athletics.

While grumbling and complaining will always be a part of sports, it’s key for fans to remember that these are kids, still playing the game because it’s fun. To write despairingly on message boards or other venues is being unfair to the kids who are working day in and day out to get better. What kind of message does it send to these athletes, when the very people who are supposed to support them, are openly writing them off, undercutting the confidence to give that extra little effort?

We, as fans, are missing the opportunity to take part in making a program stronger.

The fact of the matter is a team will not always win and it will not always meet the expectations set in days gone by, but what can remain and what should remain is the dignity fans allow these kids to openly commit and work without unfair judgment by those watching from the stands.