This is meant as a response to a lot of the discussions that have been going on lately and not a knock on Drew’s post from last week.
A lot of the topics discussed on this board are polarizing. Maybe it’s only my perception, but it seems like it’s gotten more extreme in the past few weeks. Some people seem to have lost the ability to disagree with someone else without attacking the individual instead of responding to the comments themselves. Or worse yet, take critical opinions of others and jump to absurd conclusions about the other person’s devotion to the Cubs or accuse them of saying things that they aren’t.
With that preamble, here is the kind of fan I am:
When the Cubs stink up the joint, I acknowledge it. If I notice something about team personnel, I’ll usually file it away and look for a pattern. If I see a pattern, it becomes an opinion – one that I’m not afraid to express. I can’t read minds, but most adults can make reasonable conclusions based on observations. Yes, I can and will be critical of the Chicago National League Ballclub and members thereof. I don’t believe that makes me any less of a fan.
I also will see a pitching matchup of, say, Doug Bird vs. Steve Carlton and still watch the game fully expecting the Cubs to have a chance to somehow find a way to win. I don’t believe that makes me any more of a fan.
As I’ve move through my mid-thirties, the games no longer influence my mood the way that they did when I was in my teens or twenties. I still want the Cubs to win during every game. The tough losses still bug me, but usually not for as long as they used to – as I realize this isn’t real life. I don’t believe that makes me any less of a fan.
I’ll wear Cubs gear in Milwaukee, New York City, Cincinnati, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney or wherever the hell else I find myself. At a game or on the street, and I’ll engage anyone in conversation about the Cubs if they want – whether they’re being friendly about it or not. I don’t believe that makes me any more of a fan.
If someone else points out a flaw in something that I’ve said, I’ll listen to them as objectively as I can – assuming that it is presented in a reasonable manner. This doesn’t mean that I’ll change my mind, but I’m willing to accept that my thoughts may be incorrect. I don’t believe that makes me any more or less of a fan.
If someone says something that I think is inaccurate or unfair, I’ll usually respond. (More often than I should, really.) However, I will not take each and every comment critical of the Cubs and feel the need to ride to the defense of someone’s honor when I’ve never met that individual like I would for a personal friend or family member. I most certainly don’t believe that a player is beyond reproach – regardless of who it is. I don’t believe that makes me any less of a fan.
Finally, I won’t presume to know how much of a fan someone I’ve never met is solely based on them not agreeing with each and every opinion that I have. I do believe that makes me reasonable.