Learning About Humility As A Football Fan

I played football a little bit growing up but I was made to play basketball and baseball, but over the years I have become a pretty big fan of the game. I'm a hard core Minnesota Vikings fan and focused most of my attention on the pro game, until recently. You see I've been blessed to be related through marriage to two exceptional young men who have worked hard and realized their dreams of continuing to play football at the collegiate level. This is something almost every boy dreams of growing up, just pick your sport. It has been an interesting experience as I've paid closer attention to stories in the media as well as fans, coaches and players on twitter. The passion that fans can show for their team can take some rather ugly turns though. If things aren't seemingly perfect the fans can turn very quickly. I am amazed at the level of hatred that fans can fire out at their so called favorite team. This got me thinking, what is a fan? What does the behavior of fans tell us about our society in general?

I started doing some research. It began with the word fan, which I quickly learned has been shortened over time from the word fanatic. I consulted Merriam-Webster and things got interesting for me.

Fanatic - marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion

Intense uncritical devotion, what has happened that the word uncritical has been removed from the definition of a fan? I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but with today's social media tools it is so easy for people to openly speak their mind with a level of anonymity that we have no issue with harshly criticizing a player or coach. Everyone assumes that they know all of the facts or have the answers that will fix what is broken. Because, you know it has to be just that easy.

It isn't just sports though, it is hard to see anywhere that people are uncritical. With anything you will have people that like it and people that don't, but when someone doesn't like it, look at how harshly they can criticize something. We criticize our co-workers and we criticize our boss, if they would get a clue how great would this place be? We criticize our neighbors if they have something we want and we criticize them if they don't live at a standard that we expect. We criticize the quality of food we get at the restaurant or the prices that we pay for about anything.

I think we all need to remind ourselves about humility. Before we speak, assume that we don’t know everything. No matter how much we know about a subject, there is always room to learn more. I think that is what is so interesting about sports fans, 99% of them have no idea what it is like to play sports in college let alone coach at a collegiate level, or any level for that matter. Yet how quickly will they speak a harsh word if things don't go their way? In business so few people have actually run a business, yet many can criticize how things are run.

Let's start putting the word uncritical back into our language and see where that gets us for a change.


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