I learned a good lesson years ago: I was either part of the problem or the solution. I couldn't be both. I had to choose one or the other.
I think about this related to sports. As fans, we're either part of the problem or the solution. We're either helping or hurting the athletes, coaching staff, and team. We're never neutral, even if we think we are. So, which side are we on?
Unfortunately, most fans are part of the problem. They cheer when their teams are ahead. They love the coaches when they win games. Everything is great when the team is successful. But they complain when things aren't going well. They boo and scream at players and want coaches fired. They give up on their teams. And that doesn't help anyone.
I doubt anyone wants to be part of the problem. But it's a natural reaction. People are passionate about sports; it's what they love. If we want our teams to succeed, we must be part of the solution. We need to help our teams, not hurt them.
How can we do that? How can we help the team instead of hurt them?
We have to learn to support the team no matter what. This is hard. It's easier to complain. But we have to stick with our team. We have to stand by our players and coaches in good times and bad. The best teams have loyal fans.
Watch effort and ignore results. Teams are going to lose games. Every week, one team plays another. Somebody loses. We need to learn to ignore the results. Focus on the things that matter, like effort, execution, and attention to detail.
Sports allow us to be disrespectful for some reason. But that's unacceptable. Support the team by being respectful. Negative comments and bad language don't belong in sports. A respectful fan is a helpful fan.
Remember that sports are a game. People play them for fun. That's hard to understand in sports today. Coaches and players are making millions of dollars. But at their core, sports are a game. Keep that in mind.
We need realistic expectations for our teams. We should want to see competitive teams that work hard. Teams should control what they can control. If they do that, fans need to be happy. Winning and losing aren't the end of the world.
Remember that we aren't coaching. If we're in the stands, we're not on the field. Coaches dedicate their lives to coaching and learning their sport. We don't know the game better than them. It's easy to think a coach should've called a different play or played different players. But we aren't the coach. As fans, we need to let the coaches coach. I wouldn't like it if 100,000 people told me how to do my job every day. I bet you wouldn't either.
Players and coaches are trying their hardest to win. If they aren't, that's a different problem. But as fans, we must believe in their effort. Nobody is trying to lose.
We need to think about how we would want to be treated. If we were in that coach or player's shoes, how would we feel? Better yet, how would we want our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters to feel? That changes our perspective.
To be good fans we need to help our teams. We should strive to be part of the solution, not the problem. That's not always easy to do. But it's something we have to do.
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