Fair-Weather Fans? So What?

October 9 2007, 11:42 AM
I've only walked out of one or two movies in my life, and they were so bad that I don't even remember what they were. Now that I have a young daughter at home, my wife and I rent a lot more movies; on several occasions we have stopped a movie in mid-screening because we didn't like it. I usually listen to the radio when I am driving. When I get bored, I change the station. When I'm in front of the television at home and I tire of the show I'm watching, I change the channel. I never feel guilty about not sitting through a movie or not finishing a radio program or a TV show. Why should I? But things are different in the world of sports. If I start paying more attention to the Colorado Rockies now, even though I didn't watch a game the first four months of the season, I'm called a "fair-weather fan" and accused of jumping on the "bandwagon" because I'm only interested when the Rockies are winning. Same thing with the Denver Broncos: If I am a "true" Broncos fan, it is my duty to to support the team even when they aren't playing well. As Jim Armstrong of The Denver Post reports:
Brandon Marshall, on the sea of empty seats in the second half: "If you're going to be a Broncos fan, be a Broncos fan. Don't boo us when we're down. That's bandwagon. When we start winning, then what? We make our mistakes and we're going to lose. The Rockies are winning, and at the beginning of the season, were you all filling the stands? Now you want to fill the stands for the Rockies games. Do the same for us, but 100 percent, all the time. When we're losing, we lose and you all stay in those seats. I love you all to death, but at the same time, that's not first class. We win here. You guys know that we win, and you have your ups and downs in football." ... He's right. Trouble is, he's playing in a what-have-you-done-for-us-lately league. What the Broncos have done lately is lose six out of eight at home. ...
Armstrong thinks that Marshall is correct in admonishing fans for not sitting through one of the worst home losses in Broncos history. He couldn't be more wrong. Fans don't have a duty to sit through a terrible loss any more than I have a duty to sit through "The English Patient" even if I'm bored half to death. That's like choking down a terrible sandwich because you feel obligated to the people at the restaurant for making it. Or continuing to buy stock in a company that is almost certain to go bankrupt. In no way am I admonishing loyal fans who do sit through any game, no matter how big of a blowout it may be. Loyal fans should be commended for standing by the team through thick and thin, but nobody should feel obligated to follow suit. If I pay my $100 for Broncos tickets, I can leave early, stay late or fold my ticket into origami. Brandon Marshall owes me a good game for buying tickets to watch him run around a field; I don't owe him or the Broncos a damn thing. I've been a Broncos and Rockies fan for as long as I can remember. I root for both teams to succeed, but I feel no obligation to watch every single game from beginning to end. And neither should you.