Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday 03/29 A.M. Quickie:
The Pleasure/Pain of Expectations

It's one of my favorite philosophical sports debates:

Would you rather root for a mediocre team, for whom ANY postseason success is considered happy news? Where your managed expectations allow for the slightest success to feel as good as a national title?

Or would you rather root for a perennial national contender, racking up regular-season wins, but be so saddled by expectations that you end up essentially unsatisfied if they don't win a national championship?

When I was at Northwestern in the pre-Rose Bowl years, we would dreamily talk about "bowl eligibility" (6-5!) as ultimately satisfying. (Is that pathetic... or glorious?)

Heading into this Tournament and this Final Four, as a Florida fan, it's an opposite proposition: Given this team and its expectations, anything less than a national title would be considered failure.

How nuts is that: Making a Final Four (for a second year in a row, no less) isn't enough. It's "title or bust," literally.

I presume this is how Yankees fans feel. Or USC/Ohio State/Notre Dame football fans. Or Mavs fans, at this point. Or Pats fans, though the NFL's parity has beaten the "Super Bowl Champs or Bust" expectations out of all but the most naive fans.

This kind of perennial expectations of huge success is new to me in my mere five years of Florida fandom. As a Northwestern fan back in the early '90s, I would pity those "title or bust" fans; it left such tiny margin for error between satisfaction and disappointment.

When, like this weekend, anything less than a national title is staggeringly disappointing, I almost wish I was back in my pre-Gator-fan days, rooting for Northwestern to make the NIT field. Almost.

How do you feel about it, and how have your own experiences as a fan hit this, one way or the other?

Today's hottest topics:

Final Four: There's a lot of talk about Oden-vs-Hibbert, but if you throw in Al Horford (and, frankly, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard), when was the last time a Final Four had this many talented post players?

Wooden Award: I suppose it's fitting that in the first year of the NBA's new draft age-limit rules, a freshman like Kevin Durant would win an award named for college hoops' poster purist. Durant is a finalist.

NFL: Joe Gibbs pees a little bit on the Briggs rumor, but he does spark more gossip the Redskins want to trade up into the draft's Top 5.

MLB: Ugueth Urbina given 14 years in prison for attempted murder. That ain't gonna be easy time.

So much for Steve Swindal as the heir-apparent to George Steinbrenner to run the Yankees. The son-in-law is going to lose both the "son" and "in-law" parts as George's little girl files for divorce.

Strat for sale: OK, I think the millions of sports-blog readers should come together and buy a majority ownership stake in Strat-o-Matic.

NBA: Guess what? The Raptors are the new trendy pick to win the East (even without Bargnani and Garbajosa). They're not just this season's Clippers; they represent one of the great single-season turnaround stories in the NBA in a long time. They beat the Heat last night.

Mc'D's All-America H.S. Game: Kansas State-bound Michael Beasley showed why he's the best in the class with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Beasley will be next season's Greg Oden, if not its Kevin Durant. He might not score like crazy, but he could lead K-State to a Final Four.

Well, that's it: Micheal Ray Richardson has been uninvited from my family's Passover seder. (Sounds like he wouldn't want to be there. UPDATE: On second thought: He absolutely would.)

Another W.R. for Michael Phelps: In the 200 IM. As I said yesterday, he's the world's greatest athlete right now. You don't have to care about swimming to be impressed.

Varsity Dad/Mom x 2: Congrats to Mia and Nomar on Hamm delivering twin girls on Tuesday. So: Middle infield combo or being the "2" in a 4-4-2 soccer lineup?

Exciting news coming later this morning.

-- D.S.

89 comments:

Patriots64 said...

DECATUR - Scott Wiese's rush to become Peyton Manning was sacked by a judge on Monday. She ruled that he cannot change his name to that of the star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

Wiese said Macon County Circuit Judge Katherine McCarthy told him the name change was too confusing and risked infringing the privacy of the football player.

Wiese had gone through with the name change attempt to fulfill a bet with friends. The 26-year-old Forsyth man and die-hard Chicago Bears fan had pledged that if his beloved team lost in the Super Bowl, he would change his name to the player who led its Indianapolis nemesis to victory.

"I had told the judge that I was not doing this because I wanted to change my name, but I was doing it because I was honoring a bet," Wiese said. "I think she understood that."

CorrND said...

Dan -- I know swimming isn't the sexiest of sports, but you should continue the Michael Phelps coverage you started yesterday. The guy is incredible. He set another world record yesterday in the 200 butterfly and then yet ANOTHER this morning in the 200 IM!

rafael said...

I'm a Miami University fan. In football, I don't look for national titles...but MAC Championships and a bowl win are expectations (this past season, obviously, was painful)
For Miami basketball? Just making the NCAAs is glorious! Almost beating Oregon?! Ecstatic. The downside in basketball is that when rooting for a mid-major...your rooting interest, should it get in the field, is usually done after the first weekend.
Miami Hockey... top 4 finishes in the league and an NCAA berth is what I hope for.

I used to be an Ohio State fan and a Dallas Cowboys fan...so I've been on that end of the spectrum as well. I can honestly say that I enjoy it more when there is more upside to my enjoyment. National Title or bust? Meh...it makes one too dismissive of most of a season.

cwhager527 said...

What's just as good as all the big men that are in this year's final four (and it has been a while since we've seen that), is how solid the guard play can be anticipated to be as well. Conley, Collison, Summers and Sapp, Green and Humpherey, it's just nuts.

Add into the equation the big men that are playing so well, and it really does prove the balance attack that these teams were able to throw at everyone else and get to this level of success. When you can vary your attack with that many weapons, we could be in for one of the great Final Fours in memory.

Joe said...

Actually, judging by his comments I think Richardson might not mind attending your passover.

Is “crafty” really an insult? This nutjob thinks Jews have a alot of power and run this country, and “it is not a bad thing” and “nothing is wrong with it.”

Other than dumb stereotyping, I fail to see any hate or malace in his comments.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Judging by the last time Dan had "Big News," I'm guessing he's being fired by Blogger and will move on to Livejournal.

Rob I said...

Dan, don't tease us like that! What's the exciting news? A NYC version of Blog Show? Editor-in-chief of ESPN.com?

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

I think the Shanoffs are expecting again that is the exciting news. Either that or Billy Donovan is going to let Dan wear the Gator outfit during the Final Four for all of his years of suppor for the University of Florida athletic program.

As a Duke fan I expect to at least get to the Final Four almost every year. In the years that Duke is down, like this year, I want them to just beat Carolina. I went to school at Nebraska when they were the best football team in the country so national titles were expected. Since Tom Osborne retired it has been difficult for a lot of Husker fans. If Nebraska does not at least win the Big XII title or win a game against a top 10 opponent I think Callahan is gone and Nebraska will so face the same stigma that Alabama faces.

jen said...

futurelegend...that was my EXACT thought! haha

I just got an error message and lost my whole comment....ugh.

Dan Mega said...

I was thinking that too futurelegend....the exciting news is that Shanoff has been busy and there is another Shanoff Jr. on the way. Is it possible he is going to have his second piece for the future Shanoff "Fab 5"?

jhawkjjm said...

As a Jayhawk fan I can attest to both. There are lots of fans who in basketball it is Final Four or bust. When that loaded team that went 30-1 in the regular season then lost to URI in the second round, one of the guys I was watching the game with picked up the chair and threw it down the hallway shattering it.

On the other hand, football is completely about bowl eligibility. Remember, we're the school that tore down the goal posts 3 times in one year, much to my embarrassment.

Daddy Rosee said...

So pertaining to the expectations discussion I have one question, do bandwagon fans count?

DanShanoff.com said...

Troy, that was the funniest comment I've seen on here in a long time. I laughed out loud.

Without playing it coy, (a) I don't have a new job (if only!), (b) Mrs. Quickie isn't pregnant, and (c) I'm not going to Atlanta for the Final Four.

jhawkjjm said...

future- Some of the most "interesting" people I met at KU were the people who were Nebraska football fans and KU basketball fans. Nothing ever made them happy. They are the perfect example of people whose standards are just way too high and their entire lives seem to revolve around their teams. It's kinda scary.

jhawkjjm said...

The big announcement is probably the "official" launch of varsity dad.

I hope its bigger than that though or there's going to be some disapointed people because of the tease.

Coffee King said...

May I come to your Passover event? I'll bring Cheesecake bars.

Have you been named the CEO of the Washington Nationals? Is that the exciting news? That doesn't really sound too exciting to be the CEO of the Nats.

verbal97 said...

To be a BC alum. The football team is stuck in neutral between being mediocre and a conference title challenging team. They make bowl eligibility, get placed in Crapfest.com bowl because the Southern Bowl committees want Southern schools, so they rack up the nation's longest bowl winning streak against weaker opposition then they should be facing. The basketball team is much the same, make it to the NCAAs and lose in the second round. It's a very frustrating thing to have your team get to the postseason (bowl or tourney) and not be able to push ahead from there. As for BC hockey, frozen four and Hockey East title is the expectation (I've given up on the Beanpot..to steal a quote from Dodgeball, "it's like a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there").

I think you're too nearsighted on the title or bust teams. As a Yankee fan I've felt all angles of fandom and would argue that there is a moving window of expectations. As a kid, when the Yankees were terrible (Andy Hawkins is the ace of the staff? Really?!), the hope was just to have a winning season, then under Showalter the hope was to just make the playoffs, now it's World Series or bust.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

I'm not going to Atlanta for the Final Four.

But why not?--tickets 100 yards away from the court are only $150 on StubHub!

Personally, I'm trying to cope with the fact that the Gators will have participated in 3 championship weekends in my tenure, and I have been stuck in Gainesville for all 3.

Brian in Oxford said...

And besides, to breed his own Fab 5, he'd need a set of twins or more to get them all in college at the same time. Maybe they're in Mia's genes.

NIT final tonight....last chance for Raftery to introduce the man-to-man!

Hey, if you're Swindal, wouldn't you have done just about ANYTHING to keep George's daughter happy? I know Costanza woulda.

Chris said...

Wow, Dan, you have been a Gator fan for 5 whole years? Really? That long? It must have been tough going through those tough, up and down years, errrr... months a while back. Sheesh, that is what makes your jocking of your wife's team so pathetic. If Northwestern were to go back to the Rose Bowl or make a Sweet 16 you could legitimately spout your homerism for them and no one would be annoyed. But to talk as much junk as you do about your wife's team after recently (in sports terms it is very recent) jumping on their bandwagon is just sorry.

I can say this as a graduate of Penn State (my wife graduated from Maryland and I would never jock her team) who has a pathetic hoops program. However, when they made their Sweet 16 run (beating Carolina in the process) earlier this decade I could take genuine joy in that because I still root for them when they are bad (which is almost every other year). The same thing happened when they went to the Orange Bowl last year after having losing season in 3 of the previous 4 seasons to that. As a fan you need to go through the rough times to truly be a fan in the good times. Maybe you have it right though. I have a friend who has an undergrad degree from USC, maybe I should just root for them. I mean I would have 5 whole months invested in them before the football season starts this fall. That entitles me to talk endless smack and make ridiculous statements/predictions about how great they are in relation to other historical teams doesn't it?

Michael said...

Mediocre team vs. perennial contender. As a fan of Detroit's four professional sports teams, I get to experience both ends of the spectrum. The Red Wings have been considered Stanley Cup contenders every year for more than a decade now. Losing in the 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs drives me NUTS every year. But they have won 3 Stanley Cups over that period, and those memories are eternal. In contrast, I lost no sleep over the Tigers losing in the World Series last year, because nobody expected them to come anywhere close to that. Similarly, the Lions suck and will continue to suck. I lose no sleep over them sucking.
Having said that, I'd rather have my team have a chance to win it all (and fail), then have my team suck.

Matt said...

"Final Four: There's a lot of talk about Oden-vs-Hibbert, but if you throw in Al Horford (and, frankly, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard), when was the last time a Final Four had this many talented post players?"

Throw in Lorenzo Mata to that mix and I can't remember the last time the Final 4 had so many fugly players.

By the way, I'm Jewish, and I wasn't offended in the least about what Michael Ray Richardson said.

Jeff said...

Great question Dan:

I went to Ohio State, winning the national championship my senior year and expecting to at least be in a BCS game every year. It's awesome when it happens, and I love every second of being good all year long.

However, I am also a Detroit Tigers fan, so getting to the World Series was heaven last year.

Such a tough question. I am going to go with rooting for a good team with high expectations with the caveat that you have to have some real allegiance to that team (you went to school there, grew up there, family rooted for them, etc). They can't just be a team you picked in Jr. High or HS or whenever just because you liked them because they were good.

AndySrc said...

As a Detroit fan, I know both sides of the coin. Last year's Tigers had almost zero expectations and the entire season seemed like a dream. Just getting to the playoffs was amazing. Then to beat the Yankees? It felt like we won a championship.

On the flip side, I'm also a Red Wings fan. Unless they somehow went undefeated during the regular season, then we know those games don't really make much of a difference as long as they make the playoffs. Making it to the Stanley Cup finals isn't good enough. They have to win it all.

I don't know which is better.

chitown italian said...

I grew up in Chicago and my dad always took me to Cubs games. I lived in L.A. in the early 90's before USC became good again. So to have the Trojans doing well gives me some good to root for because my Cubbies have had two (count them two) back to back winning seasons since I've been alive (30+) years.

As for buying a stake in Strato, I'm in. Dad and I played that game constantly. He played it throughout college at SIU. I wouldn't mind giving him a portion of the company for his birthday.

Chaddogg said...

Dan, honestly, have you sold out your Northwestern fandom so completely? I'm honestly hurt....

Look, I get the idea of picking up another team, particularly when said team is your wife's alma mater and not in the same conference (hell, practically not in the same league) as Northwestern.

But that post looks almost like abandonment of your Wildcat roots to me....

Let's pose this question: if Northwestern had a Citrus Bowl or Outback Bowl-esque season, and met Florida in that SEC-Big Ten bowl matchup, where are your allegiances? To me, that's a no-brainer, but your post this morning sounds an awful lot like you've pledged your allegiance to Gainesville totally, which is weak and inexcusable. I sincerely hope I'm wrong....(besides, don't you secretly hope Gabe goes to Northwestern instead of UF for college? OF course you do...might as well set him up as a fan of the Cats now...)

Natsfan74 said...

I have called my wife a lot of things over the years -- most of them were nice even.

But if I ever posted anything online about her being a quickie, I think she would kill me. Dan, shouldn't your wife be Mrs. Blog now? Or did she keep her name following the ESPN break-up....

I think that fans who are "championship or bust" really lose out on the great things about sports. To say the Buckeyes had a disappointing season last year for not winning a national title would discount the fact that they had a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, they won the Big 10, they completely dominated Michigan, and they had a great regular season. Losing to Florida was devastating, but if I thought that ruined the season it would make it much worse. But Buckeye basketball....

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Chadd I don't think that Gabe's mom went to Florida. Dan explained why she was a fan but I do not think she attended school there. I could be wrong though.

verbal97 said...

I think people should stop giving Dan grief about being a "Florida fan". Sure, it's complete bs to jump ship. Yes, it smacks of fairweatherism. And of course he's going to "sports hell" for it(I like to think of it as a period of time where all teams you ever enjoyed all suck at once). And I would never jump ship from BC if my wife liked USC for example. But he never, ever responds to it, so saying it amongst the commenters is just preaching to the pope.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

Since I bleed scarlet and grey...I expect at least a BCS bowl game every year. When they are amazing (and last year before the year started, I said they would win it all) and they don't win it all, it hurts that much more.

Since I went to Miami University...an NCAA tournament bid would be all I wanted. I was spoiled by Roethlisberge my senior year. Part of me was happy that they were 13-1...but another part of me wanted them to play a better bowl game to see how good they really were.

And since I am a Dayton Flyers fan...I always expect them to make the NCAA tournament and when they don't, I get pissed off at the coach and demand he gets fired...like this year.

Chaddogg said...

P.S. The correct answer to the mediocre v. national contender question is definitely mediocre. There is NOTHING quite as joyous as the exhiliration of a winning season coming literally out of nowhere. Dan, you know this from NU's Rose Bowl/Citrus Bowl seasons...I knew it in 2000 when we were co-champions of the Big Ten, beat Michigan 54-51 in the greatest game of all time, and went to the Alamo Bowl (would have been Rose Bowl had we not shit the proverbial bed against a then winless in Big Ten Iowa team).

I compare it to my brother at FSU, or my friends from high school at UF....there, if they suffer one loss (or maybe two), the season is over and they could care less about following the team. If NU loses 3 games in a season, it's one of the best ever. Sure, I may never live to see a National Championship in a sport other than women's lacrosse (two-time defending champions!), fencing, tennis, golf, and maybe softball, but I'll take unbridled joy at a 9-3 season over the too-high expectations at the factory schools any day....

Jeff said...

Chaddog,

If people are giving up on a season after one or two losses, they are just pathetic fans. At Ohio State, the expectation is there to go to the BCS/national title game every year, but the fans don't stop following the team because they lost. We're a rabid bunch of poisonous nuts regardless of record.

I think that's why I have such little respect for FSU, UF, and Miami fans. They just throw in the towel when they've lost a game. Sad really.

Jingoist said...

What happens when you're like me- a native New Englander who, simply by birth, is a Red Sox fan? You are on to the next stage in fan rooting evolution. Observe...

As Sox fans, we were in that "medicority is best" phase in the early 1990's when just making the playoffs seemed like we hit the lottery. Then came Pedro in the late 90's, Manny then Papi, and the 2003 playoffs and the oh-so-close ALCS with the Yankees and Aaron F-ing Boone. And THEN... we built up the 2004 champs up SO much that "Perennial Contender" fizzled in 2005, completely disintegrated in 2006, leaving us with such a hangover, even Red Sox Nation now groans at the bloated Yankee-like payroll and equally bloated expectations.

Yes, we've moved past Perennial Contender/Title or Bust expectations right into Bitter Hangers On to Past Glory phase (think Kentucky Basketball or Alabama football- right Dan?).

Maybe it's just me and RSN has actually not approached this mentality yet (*cough* denial *cough*). I'd like to think I am ahead of the curve then.

Todd said...

Verbal basically covered the dilemmas of being a BC fan. To add though, I can honestly say that winning one tourney game and giving Georgetown a run for their money was about all any BC fan could've realistically asked for. So even though we didn't make the Sweet Sixteen, I was still proud of our guys and happy about how we did given the post-Sean Williams expectations.

As for being a Red Sox fan, the outlook on that has now completely changed, so we've gone from perennial underdogs to an "in the mix" favorites. (For the record last year, at the beginning of the year my only hope was to make the playoffs, wasn't expecting a World Series).

I guess though to answer Dan's question fully, I think the best situation is to be a fan of that dark-horse that isn't always dominant or a perennial favorite, but in most years always has a chance of winning the highest prize.

Like for Red Sox, Colts, and White Sox fans, there was nothing sweeter than winning when you weren't the perennial favorite. Though those teams obviously weren't necessarily underdogs at all, there wasn't that aura of invincibility by any means either.

pafrican said...

Dan -

You've got the 2-4-4 lineup reversed. It should be a 4-4-2. You start from the defense up. The common formation is the 4 backs, 4 mids, and two forwards.

I mean, I guess a team could lineup with 2 backs, but it would be crazy.

And this concludes the "Quickie Soccer Lesson for the Day."

Travis said...

If it's truly "title or bust" for Notre Dame fans, as Dan suggests, that's pretty sad. They should focus on, you know, winning a bowl in the first place before dreaming of winning the BCS championship.

CMFost said...

Anyone else see that Dan got a mention in today's Boston Herald?

Well, according to former ESPN.com writer Dan Shanoff, that was not how the joke originally went. In the dress rehearsal, Burlington homegal Amy Poehler was dressed in a Pats jersey and she is the one who delivered the “two more rings than you” line.



check it out

Howard Wasserman said...

To your question about the last time a Final Four had so many talented post players:

How about 1984: Ewing, Hakeem (who was then Akeem), Sam Bowie and Mel Turpin, and a young Olden Polynice.

Dan Mega said...

I noticed that too how he mentioned ND. Besides winning a bowl they should also set their sites on actually beating ranked teams more than once a season and not getting dominated by the real top 15 teams.

And as a White Sox fan, I'm worried about this season, as should any other AL playoff contender. There are 4 teams in the AL Central, 3 in the AL East, and 3 in the AL West that could also win 90+ games on talent alone. As for the other teams, they have good enough squads to give those teams fits (KC/TB/Balt/Seattle aren't all that terrible if you look at their lineups). There will be some major disappointment come the end of September 2007. ESPN will only be disappointed if both Boston/NYY aren't in it again.

And I sure hope whatever AL team makes to the series doesn't completely blow it to a lesser NL team like last year...

CMFost said...

My guess on Dan's news is that he got a real job probably with the WSJ and his blog will be part of the paper.

DougOLis said...

3 world records for Michael Phelps in 3 days is pretty incredible.

Cycledan said...

Phelps just won his 3rd gold medal!
I have no problem with the giving him the current world's greatest athlete right now with the criteria based upon comparison to his contemporaries and to top players in the history of the sport in addition to the popularity and toughness of the sport. (Sorry curling fans).

As a sports fan, the best is when you have a team with very modest expectations and they win it all. Yes I am a Yankee fan but watching them win the 6 world titles wasn't as exciting to me as two other sports events.

Watching Syracuse win the NC in basketball was amazing for me since they were the underdog in almost every game after the first round. I truly believeed I would never see them win it all.

Also watching Lance Armstrong win his first Tour de FRance in '99 was about as exciting an event as there can be for me. As my name suggests, I am very into bicycling and follow the European pros quite closely. I remember discussing Lance Armstrong on Usenet when he was first diagnosed and most of us pretty much agreed that he was going to die. He won the time trial to take the lead and that was more than anyone could have ever expected. However he was going to lose the lead the next day in the mountains but at least he showed he was back. The next day he bridged back to a breakaway containing the three top climbers and then blew them away. Just amazing.

Andy said...

The answer of course is root for the team with more wins.

I've run the gamut of sports fandom in only ten or so years of being a serious fan: from Yankee-level arrogance with the Bulls in the late-1990s (there wasn't one moment in the 2nd three-peat where I did not think the Bulls would win the championship), to mid-90s Northwestern style ineptitude with the early-2000s Carolina Panthers and early-2000s Bulls, to sheer mediocrity with the mid-2000s Notre Dame football teams, and let me tell you, rooting for the team that wins feels the best.

The last two years of Notre Dame football frustratingly being much better than good, yet much worse than great, still beats the ever living shit out of rooting for painfully bad teams like the Panthers and Bulls of early this decade.

Todd said...

I'm guessing book deal for the new news. I mean, Dan does have enough free time for that, right?

CMFost said...

Dan annoucement is up. Check out the front page.

Todd said...

Nope, nevermind, just saw Dan posted the news about his screenplay optioned... Congrats Dan!

verbal97 said...

Syracuse winning was great to see. I keep forgetting that even happened. Maybe because Carmelo only stayed a year.

Lenny said...

Ah, crap. There's two andy's now. Guess I'll have to go back to my lenny screen name.

Theo said...

Dan, no mention of my Jazz clinching the Northwest Division for the first time in seven years, even though at the start of the year most writers didn't even have them making the playoffs?

@howard wasserman -- You might be right with Ewing and Hakeem, but I wouldn't use "talent" and "Olden Polynice" in the same sentence. Unless you're talking about cop impersonation. No, wait -- he was terrible at that too.

Lenny said...

Howard, it's always been spelled Hakeem. It's always been pronounced properly as Akeem. The "H" is supposed to be silent. Most announcers and sportscasters never really figured that out though.

Patriots64 said...

@ Lenny

Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (born Akeem Abdul Olajuwon on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria) is a former professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. Olajuwon played center for the Houston Rockets, whom he led to back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995, and the Toronto Raptors. In the 1993-94 season Olajuwon became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA's MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards in the same season. In 1996, Olajuwon assisted in the gold medal-winning performance of the United States national team and was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

thirdstringjd said...

DS - not to fan the flames or anything because yes the Raptors did beat the Heat last night but they also lost to the Celtics the night before that.

I'd say that the Raptors are a good team - and I know the Basketball Jones fellas are all about CB4 and the Bosh Pit but it's still the Pistons and everyone else in the East right now.

DanShanoff.com said...

This debate about expectations was one of the best we've ever had. Those were some great answers (Even with the potshots against my Florida fandom. I'll try to defend this more thoroughly in a post down the line. But needless to say that while I totally appreciate lifelong fandom, if your dad introduced you to your team or your hometown dictated who you root for -- for life -- you're not choosing to root for a team as much as having it dictated to you. In my own defense, I made the active and adult decision to make the "die-hard" leap with this team. Five years in, it would be very hard to argue that your fandom is more die-hard than mine, given that we can only really measure our die-hard-ness in the present. So you bring more baggage to your fandom? OK, I respect that and absolutely don't discount it. But if we're talking "present tense" fandom, I'll take that challenge.

Patriots64 said...

I agree with your decision Dan but I hope you stay with Florida for life now and not jump off when they are in the Poinsettia Bowl instead of the BCS Championship Game or a 15 seed and not a 1.

Lenny said...

Well said Dan. However, can you please not be so biased in things???

verbal97 said...

I don't know Dan. I guess if you went with a BC-type school (i.e., one that is better than NU, but has a better chance of sustained success) over a powerhouse school, you'd have less people taking shots at you. Sure you chose a school as an adult, but you chose a front-runner that is always going to be in the reckoning for football championships anyway.

As for me, no adult influenced any of the teams that I chose as a kid and there is no "hometown" team in central NY. There are 3 NY state teams in football (yes I realize two are in NJ), 3 in hockey and 2 in NY. I made my decisions based on favorite players too, not on which team was more successful. I chose the Yankees because of Mattingly (though the Mets were a better team then), the Penguins because of Lemieux and the Giants because of the "real" LT. All of those players retired and I kept loyal to the team that I rooted for for 10+ years at the point of their retirement. I guess the point of this is, I'd like to hear the reasons you chose Florida and "my wife is a fan" is not a valid reason if you're inheritantly denegrating lifelong fans of teams by saying you made "an adult choice". So I eagerly await your post.

Lenny said...

I guess my teams are kinda inherited but also not.. I'm a die-hard Cubs fan, and my dad is from near Chicago, so I kinda inherited that one. I'm a diehard Iowa Hawkeyes fan, and my dad is kinda an Iowa fan, kinda Illinois, so take that as you will. I love the Northern Iowa Panthers in college basketball because I went there, and I love the 49ers in the NFL. That's an odd one though. My dad is a Packers fan. My mom doesnt care for sports. I'm the only Niners fan in my family. I'm not really sure where that came from. Pry Steve Young and Jerry Rice.

The heroin sheik said...

Can someone please help me. I have been searching the internet but I can not figure out who vanilla dong is. Most of the people in the NOTY bracket I can find something out about but not so with vanilla dong. Best as I can tell he is an athlete from Oklahoma?

Daps84 said...

I know I'm a day late on this, but I love the fact that Dan mentioned UFC purchasing PRIDE (actually, the announcement was made early Tues morning, so Dan was the one who was late!). MMA is definitely the fastest growing sport of the early 21th century (sorry NASCAR), with UFC doing over $200 million in PPV revenue, which blows boxing out of the water. MMA has been huge around the world the last 10 years or so and is just now picking up steam here in North America. With the amount of shows the newly merged company will be putting on, we should be able to get some good MMA dialogue going on this blog. I'll start: Matt Serra has no chance against GSP next Sat night and Sanchez vs. Koscheck will be an early candidate for fight of the year.

Chuck said...

As an NC State graduate living in Durham, NC, I am surrounded by UNC and Duke fans. Whenever I see one of them rooting wildly during some December game I always say, "Why worry? You're season doesn't start until March." Every game before that is window dressing on a 25ish win season.
Now if you're an NC State fan, you're thinking, "That win over UNC-G may be just what we need to have a winning record and thus be eligible for the NIT." Or you find yourself checking NIT Bracketology after each surprise ACC tournament win.
My wife is a Northwestern grad and we've attended every Wildcat Rose Bowl appearance in our lifetimes. And it was a great trip - no need to worry about economizing when you figure it will be 50 years before you'll have this expense again.

The heroin sheik said...

To say that a UF, FSU or UM fan gives up on a season after a loss or two is ridiculous. Any true fan will follow his team regardless. it is only bandwagon jumpers and fairweather fans who jump ship after a loss or two. I have supported some of the worst teams ever and one of the dominant college programs of the last 15 yrs so I have different expectations for each team. All my pro teams suck so I am just happy if we can break 500. If the ning or the bucs make the playoffs then all the better but I don't expect it. The d-rays I expect to have 100 losses every year so a 500 season would be awesome. As for my gators in bball I think we should make the tournament every year but it is tough to make it past the first weekend every year. You can't expect that every year unless you are the 1970's UCLA teams. IN football I expect a winning season and a bowl game but the truth is we could lose all of our game as long as we beat UGA, UT, and FSU and I would be happy.

Consistent winning is difficult and should be appreciated but to expect any team to be a championship caliber team for anything more than a few years at a time is unrealistic. you have your window and it closes and then you have to retool. That is why teams like Duke are hated because they have stayed consistently good enough to challenge for a title every year.

Todd said...

Dan wrote:

if your dad introduced you to your team or your hometown dictated who you root for -- for life -- you're not choosing to root for a team as much as having it dictated to you. In my own defense, I made the active and adult decision to make the "die-hard" leap with this team.

So if your dad introduces you to a team, it's "dictated to you," but if your WIFE introduces you to a team, then it's an "adult decision?"

I'd love a little explanation on this Dan.

For the record, I grew up in SoCal but never really was attached to the local teams until I came to Boston in 2001 (I hated the fairweather fans in Anaheim). Also, my dad was a Yankees fan, so cheering for the Red Sox definitely wasn't dictated.

thistlewarrior said...

As a life-long Bengals/Reds fan and an alumna of Western KY, I have a great deal of experience with "mediocre" expectations and there are some advantages. For example from 1988-1990 I was in heaven; the Bengals went to XXIII and the Reds won the WS. And in 2002 I was f-ing in ecstasy when my beloved Hilltoppers won the Div. I-AA football Nat'l Champ. However I have had endure a very long time with losing teams to get that appreciation. But I think that I would prefere it to being a fan of perenial contenders, because there is less disappointment. Not to mention it makes you feel morally superior to fans of better teams. :)

Luke Bell said...

I know a guy in my home town who "made the adult choice" of backing the Yankees and Duke basketball, despite being in a small town in southwest Wisconsin and having no ties whatsoever to either of those teams. It makes me ill, which is why I have to disagree with Dan and his "choice" of fandom. It reeks of bandwagon jumping, even if he sticks with the Gators for life.

I will stick to my home state teams. I have always been a Packer/Brewer/Bucks fan, and I am a Badger alum, so those are the teams I care about. I am not a fan of them because they are good--I am a fan because I feel like they are MINE. People like Dan can't say that, no matter the extent of the fandom.

The heroin sheik said...

We all have our personal reasons for liking teams be it proximity to a team, attending school there, liking certain players, or simply having played on a team with that name( why I like the bucs even though I grew up in california and didn't move to tampa til I was 16.) I think though that we as fans have different experiences due to how we came to liking a team.

If your team is the one you followed with your dad then there is going to be a more personal attachment than say if you started liking a team in adulthood for whatever reason. Dan may be a gator fan because of his wife but his experience as a fan will never compare to mine because both my dad and I are alums and I was even wearing clothe FSU colored diapers to shit in. The beauty of this is that maybe young Gabe will grow up to like the gators because of Dan and they will have an entirely unique and personal fandom similar to mine with my dad but altogether different. Such is the beauty of being a fan. OH yeah and don't forget that five years ago the gators we just above average in the SEC so it isn't like Dan started slurping on the best team in the SEC at the time.

rafael said...

*takes revscott and puts him lower on the fan totem pole*

Miami grad that bleeds scarlet and gray. *gag* :p

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

rafael...haha!

hey man, if i remember correctly...you weren't born in ohio. you just don't understand if you didn't grow up here. i love miami through and through...but when they played OSU my frosh year and 2 years ago, i was alllllll OSU.

it's the same when dayton plays them every year in basketball. i guess i am in the minority!

DanShanoff.com said...

Sheik: Couldn't have said it better myself. Very well done.

Chris said...

Dan said he has been a fan for 5 years so you cant say he is jumping on the bandwagon since we had Ron Zook 5 years ago. The basketball team was doing well at that time but not at his level. He isnt a fairweather. Go Gators

GuyInTheCorner said...

Michael Ray Richardson-

I, as a Jew, was offended. You can say that he used the word "crafty" and that isn't an insult and you might be right. But he went into that speech to try to hide the original thing that he said that was offensive. The phrase "I have big time Jew lawyers" is what the fuss is about.

Todd said...

While I'm not dismissing any of the points Sheik or anyone else made, it is kind of funny how the only people really defending Dan are Gators fans...

All I was trying to do was to point out the inconsistency of Dan making the point about his being an "adult decision" to hop onto his wife's team, as versus a kid's having teams "dictated" to them.

Again, I'd love to hear more from Dan over the decision process of his "adult decision", and if he considered other teams, etc.

But the bottom line is, I think most of us would appreciate toning down the homerism just a tad. It's okay to be a homer, but I know there are times where I think it gets taken a bit far on this blog... like I consciously avoided this blog the 2 days after Florida won the National Championship in football... and I could care less about Ohio St.

verbal97 said...

Come on, even in the Ron Zook years Florida was very good (even if they underachieved). Florida was still/always will be a powerhouse football program unless something Alabama-like happens, and even then Alabama is still powerful enough to entice a top level coach. It is very clear to me that Dan was simply looking to upgrade from Northwestern to a better school. As Todd said, if Dan's *only* reason for becoming a Florida fan is his wife, it's extremely self-aggrandizing to say that it's an adult decision and belittle the connection locality and family to sports teams in the process. I reserve the right to change my opinion if/when Dan gives me a good reason to, but until then I'm of the opinion that he is a glory-hunting turncoat.

Of course all of this would be completely irrelevant if he didn't pump up Florida at every opportunity. And it doesn't help that the gods against tempting fate don't respond with a heart-breaking loss for the Gators.

verbal97 said...

hahaha...Todd, I didn't see your comment until after I entered mine. It's almost identical (in spirit anyway).

Beetle said...

As a Pats fan old enough to clearly remember 1981 2-14, 1990 1-15, and 1992 2-14, sprinkled with a few exciting seasons including the miraculous playoff run in 1986, the SB team of 1996....etc.
I can tell you that I would not trade the right here and now for ANYTHING.
The pain and disrespect has been washed away. The Pats are now perhaps the model franchise in all of sports! Sure, losing to the Colts was disappointing, but it was satisfying to know that my team participated in one of the greatest playoff games ever played. (an honor that used to be reserved for the Niners, Cowboys, and Steelers of the world). Now the Pats are forcefully restocked for another run, and I could not be happier. Sure, maybe it won't pan out, but it is satisfying to know that the proper pieces are all in place. I mean, would you rather go all in with a pair of 10s, or with Aces laid over Kings?

rafael said...

I'd lived in ohio since 2nd grade. lol
i know OSU fever.

But when Miami plays Ohio State, I'm rooting for the Red and White.


And, actually, I'd be the minority. Ohio State has plenty of fans who went to school elsewhere in the state.

The heroin sheik said...

Thanks Dan, I can only hope that one day I will have a child so that we can have "Our Team" to root for. One of my fondest memories was being 6 or 7 and fishing with my grandfather with a bamboo pole listening to braves games on the AM. To have memories like this with your child, nephew siblings or whomever is what makes sports so great. Of course the best memory will always be when your team wins but I want my kid to be D-ray fan so he has low expectations.

Todd said...

Verbal, looks like we posted more or less at the same time. Glad you agree with me though. I guess I'm a disappointment as a BC fan that I came after they won the National Championship in hockey, eh?

As for the OSU/Miami debate, I think this brings up an interesting question. If your childhood/"adult decision" favorite team plays against your school, who do you root for?

Personally, I think it's gotta be the school YOU went to. So Dan, what happens if Northwestern were to play Florida?

verbal97 said...

todd, I don't think it's important when you like a team (particularly a college team), it's why. You WENT to BC therefore you have every right to praise the accolades. Hell, I happily and proudly watch the Flutie game reruns though I didn't enter BC until the late '90s.

I also agree with you about the school you WENT to taking precedent over a team you root for. As I stated earlier, I rooted and cheered for Syracuse when they won the title, but I will always take BC over 'cuse when they play against each other. (By the way, I grew up 40 miles east of Syracuse).

Beetle said...

Michael Ray....

I wonder if he would be offended if somebody said they were backing Georgetown because they have "big time black players".

Lenny said...

I have to admit that I am a little jealous of Dan. Not because "his" teams are good and they've been winning titles or any of that. Simply because he married a woman that likes sports and cares enough about a team that it rubbed off on him.

My fiance couldn't care less about sports teams for the most part. She's a Hawkeyes fan, like me, and even claims to like the Cubs, but she doesn't really care. If she's watching the game, she'll cheer, but she doesn't follow them in the off season or really know who the players are.

I am making progress. I got her to play fantasy football last year!

Chris said...

I might as well add my 2 cents to this entire "fan" debate. Listen, who you root for and why is a personal decision. You live in California and want to root for the Steelers, fine by me. However, if you root for the Steelers and then when they have a couple bad seasons, or can't contend and then jump to a new team, then your fandom can be called into question. As I stated before, I went to Penn State and will stick with them in every sport (even though I can't ever see them being a player in Top 20 hoops) because of my attachment to the school. I could never jump to the Terrapins in hoop season because my wife is an alum (and they are a consistent big-time hoops program). Just like she would never root for Joepa and the boys in the fall. (In fact, we actively root against each other's alma mater so the other doesn't have smack-running privileges).

If you can't root for your own alma mater (if it is D-1 school) then to my way of thinking there is something wrong there. I may be the one who is mistaken. I just feel that to switch teams in mid-life doesn't make you the same type of fan that someone who is invested from the beginning.

I root for the Red Sox (because when I was young I really liked some of their players) and Steelers (local affiliation, although I'm right in the middle of Steelers/Eagles territory in Central PA) even though my father hates both teams (Phillies and Eagles are his favorites). I made those decisions at a young age and have stuck with them through the good times and bad. To me, that is what a fan is. Someone who suffers with the loses, celebrates in the wins, and has a long time emotional investment in the team. To switch from the place where you went to school, I don't know Dan, nothing personal at all but it doesn't seem right. I'm sure there are others who agree with that sentiment and that is part of the reason it seems like bandwagon jumping to many of us.

Two questions come to mind about your UF alliance. 1. If suddenly they were bad in football and basketball (unlikely I realize but indulge me) and Northwestern were contenders in both, would you be hyping the Wildcats as an alum of that school? 2. If both teams were playing for the National Championship (again, unlikely I know) who would you root for? See most of us can answer those questions without any conflict at all.

One last thing, your Gator love might be easier to take if you didn't go over-the-top with some of your statements about them. I won't review them because they've been ridiculed enough on here. Suffice it to say you need a more objective standard sometimes (I'd still love to see how you'd react if a Duke player pounded his chest and screamed every time he did anything remotely significant on a basketball court, like your girl Joakim Noah. You'd be going crazy ripping the kid, but not Jo Noah. With him it's all about his enthusiasm for the game. Uh, okay, but only for a UF homer. I personally find him more annoying than Redick and that is something I'd never thought I'd say.

The heroin sheik said...

I know that when the cowboys play the bucs I always root for the bucs. My dad may have liked the boys but I lived in st pete so I have to root for the Bucs since they are from what I consider my hometown. Where I have problems is when my two college teams play. Obviously I got my BA at UF but I got my MA at UCF. Football and BBall are no brainers I go for the gators but I love to root for UCF in sports like golf and baseball because they actually stand a chance against the gators. What do y'all think bout this.

Oh yeah did anyone find out about vanilla dong?

verbal97 said...

I can't seem to find anything on vanilla dong. I know it's a day late for this, but someone that went to my hs had the REAL name of Chanel No. 5. AND she insisted on being called the whole name and not just Chanel.

The heroin sheik said...

Chris I think Joakim goes overboard with the screaming as well. I always liked guys who were very demure when they did something great like John Stockton. It amazes me that Noah doesn't get called for more fouls for all his yelling but I'm not going to complain. I figure if he thinks it helps his game then thats cool. If he is doing it to taunt then he should stop. Either way we will never know so I guess we have to live with it. Look at it this way though. When he gets to the association someone is going to smack him silly and that will be the end of that.

Brian in Oxford said...

Does everyone remember that Micheal Ray Richardson's name really is spelled wrong like that? I saw Dan got it right, not sure who else remembers him and the reversed-vowels.

Todd said...

Sheik, it's a totally different set of circumstances for BA v. MA. I think generally the BA is the team you stick with, but in that instance you're certainly allowed two teams to root for, as you have unquenstionably reasonable allegiances to each. At least that's the way I see that one.

Can't say I knew anyone who had a great name, but I knew someone named Lena Park, which backwards is Anel Krap, which I thought was really funny when I was 12.

jen said...

I was born and raised in Ohio and also bleed Scarlet and Gray. My mom is a huge sports fan, and we ALWAYS had sports on the tube. We were ND fans as well, because my grandparents lived about 15 minutes away and influenced us of that. I used to sing their fight song as a kid. We all loved Joe Montana so we followed him to San Fran. I became a homer Cowboys fan because my best friend was but quickly came back to my senses.

I am an Ohio University alum, and always root for the Buckeyes in football. Sorry to admit that, but to me, OU was where I spent four great years and got an education, but a football school it's not. I always watch to see how they're doing, if they won and who the beat.

I am NOT one of those fans that feel that Ohio State has to win a Nat'l Championship every year...get to a BCS bowl game and win is all I care about. I enjoy the Big 10 and root for those schools too, especially Penn State.

On the professional level...hello, I live in the Cleveland area. Need I say more!? I do stay true to my Fudgies and Tribe though. Oh, forgot LBJ and his crew.

Congrats on the screenplay, Dan!

Johnathan said...

Congrats on the screen play dan

My teams (as somebody who grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA)

MLB - Cubs beacuse we moved into a new house; got WGN for the first time and I spent the summer of '98 watching games and fell in love with the stadium, the team, sammy, and wood (the latter two makes me feel very dirty now)

NHL - Penguins because I'm from the area; and when I was 8 and 9 they won back to back cups. I got to watch Lemieux growing up along with Jagr and Ronnie Francis and now I get to watch Crosby, Staal, Malkin and Fluey.

College - Penn State Nittany Lions beacuse I went there

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

I don't show up here much anymore, mostly because I hate the legitimization of being on a bandwagon. C'mon. No one roots for an underdog just for the sake of rooting for an underdog...... people root for the underdog so they can win 3rd place (and maybe $150) in their office pool.

Don't buy into the fact that people want the underdogs to win just so that the favorites can lose. YOu lost that privilege when Duke lost in R1.

Wake up, bro. This is all about money and bragging rights. It has nothing to do with sports.