The mind of the harried fan
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

How we see sports today:

Raiders fan
Fans just want the rules to go in their favor.
We don't like athletes who are loud, brash and call attention to themselves by predicting a great performance before games, strutting on the field during games and boasting about their performances after games.

We also don't like athletes who are quiet, dull, keep to themselves and deflect attention by praising God, their parents, their coaches or their offensive lines.

We don't like athletes who insincerely answer questions with decades-old clichés or with "polished responses" that were filtered through an agent.

We also don't like loudmouth athletes who honestly speak their minds and stir up controversy with unconventional, unpopular and "insensitive" thoughts.

We don't like athletes who insist on using their fame to "get in our faces" about discrimination, race, gender and cultural issues.

We also don't like athletes who shun their responsibility by refusing to take a "leadership role" on discrimination, race and gender issues.

We don't like athletes who hire agents to advise them on their career choices or accept money from boosters, even while their school receives millions from TV networks, boosters and shoe companies.

We also don't like athletes who refuse to appreciate the "value" of a college education by leaving school early to sign a $76 million contract with a pro team.

We don't like sports figures who grow their hair long or wear it in corn rows or comb it back with gel or shave their heads or hide their bald spots with combovers or wear toupees.

Ohio State fans
Fans want inexpensive souvenirs.
We don't like coaches who violate NCAA rules, recruit athletes who don't meet minimum eligibility standards, sacrifice a school's educational role and generally overemphasize winning.

We also don't like coaches who recruit untalented players and lose too many games and don't go to a bowl game or the NCAA tournament every year.

We don't like greedy, absentee owners who run their teams "like a business" and refuse to sign a 33-year-old third baseman who hit .320 with 40 home runs the previous year and is just the player needed to take the team to the World Series.

We also don't like stupid, egotistical owners who waste millions of dollars and "drive up the market for everyone else" by signing useless free agents who refuse to hit .320 with 40 home runs like they did the previous season.

We don't like leagues where there is "no competitive balance" and the same few teams reach the championships every season, while all the other teams are eliminated from playoff contention as soon as spring training ends.

We also don't like leagues where there is "too much parity," with no single team able to dominate and virtually every team remaining in the playoff picture until the second Sunday of December.

We don't like economic systems that cripple "small market" teams such as Detroit (metro population: 5.4 million).

We also don't like economic systems dominated by "large market" teams such as Atlanta (metro population: 4 million).

We don't like games that end past midnight on the East Coast when no one can watch them because they're in bed.

We also don't like games that begin too early on the West Coast when no one can watch them because they're still at work or in traffic.

We don't like commissioners who ignore tradition by changing their sport to whatever is considered "hip" in an obvious move to boost the sport's popularity.

Washington State fan
Fans want interaction with athletes.
We also don't like commissioners who live in the past and refuse to "get with it" to boost the sport's popularity.

We don't like writers and broadcasters who refuse to take a position.

We also don't like writers and broadcasters who blow issues way out of proportion.

We don't like obnoxious fans who bang inflatable sticks, blow horns, rattle bells, heckle the players and wear T-shirts with slogans.

We also don't like fans who sit in their luxury suites, sipping wine, and never show any emotion.

We don't like the way games are played today because the athletes are too big, too strong and too fast, due to steroids.

We also don't like the way games are played today because the athletes aren't as good as they were when we were young.

We don't like owners. We don't like the media. We hate agents. We're not too crazy about athletes. We're lukewarm about fans.

So ask yourself: Do we still like sports?

Jim Caple is a senior writer for He can be reached at



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