Realism Or Negativity?
This post does have a definite racing connection, so please bear with me. Last Saturday night, I was watching as my Tennessee Vols were being completely dismantled by Missouri, by a score of 31-3. In the middle of the second quarter, I took to Twitter out of frustration. My tweets automatically go to my Facebook page. I don’t really do Facebook. If it doesn’t come from Twitter, I don’t post. My frustration tweet said “Vols laying an egg so far against Mizzou. 17-0 2nd qtr.”
A friend of mine from college saw the same relatively harmless post on Facebook and took me to task. He called me a fair-weather fan and said “Your pessimism is counter-productive and serves no purpose. We need to support the troops and Butch (Jones) and quit whining. If you keep whining, you can’t celebrate when Butch turns it around.” Does my friend think the Vols didn’t lay an egg? Their performance was horrid, regardless of the difference in talent. They completely mailed that game in.
I don’t really consider myself to be a negative fan. Instead, I consider myself a realist. I wouldn’t even go so far as to use the tired old phrase from the seventies to “call ‘em as I see ‘em”. But I certainly don’t think I stand on the rooftops and cheer “all is well”, whether it be Tennessee football or the IndyCar Series. If I were unlucky enough to have attended the Tennessee-Missouri game, I would not have booed the orange-clad players – but I probably would have complained to anyone sitting around me.
I am not above booing players – pro-players, that is. The pros are grown men being paid handsomely partially by those of us in attendance. They have earned the right to be booed. I think if you buy a ticket to an NFL game, you have the right to boo poor performance – so long as you’re not being overly obnoxious about it. I think that college players are different. Their psyche is still under development. Many are still eighteen and nineteen year-old kids. I will agree that booing a college team at the field is counter-productive.
But to give a general criticism of their performance that night from my couch through social media is fair game, in my opinion. Besides, who is going to see it other than those that follow me. They already know how cynical I can be. So did my college friend, which is one reason his response surprised me so.
It did make me wonder, however – when does being a realist cross the line from realism to negativity?
For years, I have decried the venom that is spewed over at Track Forum. If my college friend (who cannot tell the difference between a stock car and an IndyCar) wants to see what real negativity sounds like – he should go spend an hour surfing through all the bilge at that sight. He would come away thinking my innocent comment about laying an egg was downright giddiness.
Sometimes, it’s tough to be an IndyCar fan. Although the product on the track is very exciting and entertaining, the governing body can do things that will test the will of the most ardent fans out there. We all get very frustrated at some of the things they do and don’t do. Now that the offseason is here, there are no races to diffuse some of the negative energy lurking out there. With TV ratings in the toilet, no new venues on next year’s schedule, aero-kits being dangled before us for years and a revolving door at the top – everyone has a pet-peeve to grumble about. I try to remain positive, but sometimes it’s very difficult to do so.
I have had my share of rants on this site. I had one just last week revisiting the firing of Randy Bernard. I’ve gone off on the current IndyCar administration as well as the Tony George regime. I try to stay away from the subject of “the split”. You talk about something that serves no purpose? Fire up a discussion on the split. It’s mind boggling how quickly a conversation can disintegrate, when that unpleasant subject is brought up. I’ve also complained about some various announcers, so I certainly wouldn’t say I’ve been all warm and fuzzy over here.
But let’s be honest – there are some IndyCar fans that seem to love to complain. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the only reason they follow it is so they can complain about something. It seems to be what makes them tick. These are the “Legions of the Miserable” that I’ve referred to over the years. They offer no solutions, they just complain about anything and everything that is related to IndyCar. I wonder if they think if they show disapproval of the sport we care about, that it somehow makes them look more intelligent than those of us who loyally come back year after year. I compare them to those kids in high school that always considered themselves way too cool to support the school football team. I see the same thing as an adult. When the Titans moved here in Nashville, there were some fans that took an immediate dislike to them – simply because it made them look more independent than to fall in line and cheer for the local team, just because they happen to play in the city we reside in.
So where is the line drawn? When does questioning the status quo or challenging certain policies become whining and overly negative? If you don’t look at things through rose-colored glasses, are you contributing to the problems that plague IndyCar? I suppose the line is a lot thinner than I thought.
So if I have offended any IndyCar fans with my negativity, I apologize. Because whenever the powers-that-be do turn things around – I want to be able to celebrate. Seriously, though – unlike my college buddy, I think we can all discuss different viewpoints without being labeled as “Legions of the Miserable”. At least, I hope so.