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
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
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
Exciting news coming later this morning.