As an offshoot of this thread which of these options do you prefer for your favorite team.
“At or below 500,” year in and year out, is pretty rough. If there were some winning seasons mixed in, my answer might be different.
There is nothing worse than watching your favorite team do well every year with nothing to show for it. Take the title, it gets you through the lean years, and as far as sports go Ricky Bobby said it best: if you’re not first, you’re last. You might as well win the big one once because you may never have the chance again.
A few years ago I visited my grandparents in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. It was early in the Mike McCarthy era and the Packers were off to a slow start – I think they wound up 8-8 that year, but they started in a big hole. I wasn’t feeling good about the team.
Then I went to the Packers hall of fame and got perspective. Seeing the trophy in the flesh reminded me that (1) 1996 was freaking awesome; (2) I know a lot of loyal Bills and Browns fans; (3) there’s a reason my wife cried like a little girl when the Red Sox won in 2004; and (4) 1996 was really, really freaking awesome, awesome enough to pay for a lot of lean years.
One championship is worth at least a decade of losing seasons.
Being a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, I have to hope they can win a championship soon, since I doubt they will be able to keep the majority of the talent they have now much longer. Ideally I would like them to be consistently above .500 and win the occasional championship, but given the realities of the baseball business, I know that all I can really hope for is an occasional championship and then watching the players leave to higher paying markets.
A flag flies forever.
I think that if you know how either choice will play out, then both choices are unsatisfactory. If you know your team will never get the ring, then there’s little satsfaction in watching, even if they contend every year.
With the second option you still arrive at the same place of knowing your team will never (again) win it all as satsifying as the championship may be.
The pull of sports fandom is in NOT knowing. When you don’t know, there’s always hope. Maybe not this year, but one of these years. With no hope, there’s no pull. You can still enjoy the sport for its own sake, I guess, but you can never really have that romance that comes from following a team.
I choose not to know what will happen and always have hope, surprises and even disappointments. Sports is about the only form of entertainment that is truly unpredictable. A whole lot of its hook is in that unpredictability. There’s a perfect beauty in knowing that you never know.
Well, sure. I assumed the question was, which would be more fun to actually experience, the way it would happen in real life?
40 year Saints fan checking in. Love my team win, lose, or draw. I bleed black and gold. Wouldn’t trade the Super Bowl win for anything. We made never get another, but that one is sooooo sweet.
Exactly. Once a champion, always a champion.
I’m a Mets fan. Option 2 is all I know.
as a longtime spurs fan winning the big one is what it is all about. 20+ years of competing for the most part and getting thrashed before the finals was sucky out the ear. but 1999 erased all of that. the only trouble is that we followed up with three more and now i want another.
since we joined the league we have won more divisional titles than any other nba team. but i’d give some of them back for another naismith.
Interesting. For me it’s very obviously the consistently good team. But that might be because my primary team already had plenty of titles. I can see how the answer would be different for a team with no championships under it’s belt (or none during your lifetime, perhaps).
That said, there is nothing fun about watching a bad baseball team. And I think Dio’s point is very good. The entire point of sports is the possibility of success. Only consistently good teams provide that possibility year in and year out. I’d much rather be in the playoffs every year (with the chance for a title that comes with it).
A related point: I wonder how our playoff-heavy US sports scene factors into this.
In European soccer, for example, the regular season is the championship (i.e. the team with the most regular season points wins the EPL title). There are also tournament trophies, but they are completely separate competitions.
Something like the NHL and NBA, for example, allow such a high percentage of the teams into the playoffs that I can see why regular-season greatness would feel unsatisfying. And as a small-time Blues fan I’d probably say that years of crappiness would be worth it for one Stanley Cup. But not for MLB.
I voted for “consistent winner”, but I’d make an exception for the late 80s/early 90s Houston Oilers who not only lost in the playoffs but somehow managed to lose each year in a different, humiliating, horrible way.
I’d rather have a consistent contender, because when they eventually break through, it makes all of the early playoff exits tolerable.
Coming from out of nowhere and winning it all once before sinking back into mediocrity is too easily passed off as a fluke and/or the perfect storm of circumstances to take as much pride in as a fan.
I’m torn. Would I be more happy with the Phillies’ current run of success if they hadn’t taken the World Series two years ago? No, of course not. But on the other hand would I be happier with four straight division titles (assuming the WS title didn’t happen) or the Phils’ stunning low patch of the late 80’s with only the 1980 title to cheer me up? Yeah, I’d definitely take the four straight division titles. The 1980 title seemed a distant memory when I was consoling myself with thoughts of “well, at least they don’t have the worst record in the majors.”
Option 2 no doubt.
Sports is entertainment. The Lions have not been entertaining for decades. The problem is management. If they started to contend, it would be great for keeping fans involved. We have lots if home game blackouts.
Baseball can be worse. When the Tigers threatened to break the record for season losses, they were out of contention in May. The last 4 months we were trying to find a reason for watching them or going to a game.
I would like watching a contending football team. It has been a long time.
Consistent winner. Now, it’s *probable *that I’d have fonder memories of a championship season than of a string of playoff contenders (depending on the details of that non-champion franchise), but in the meantime I’ve got to *watch *these games. The primary function of sports is entertainment, and it’s no fun when your team is clearly mediocre or worse.
I’ve been a loyal Giants fan my whole life, and I get my hopes up (or try to) every single year. But from 1994-99 (i.e., the Dave Brown/Danny Kannell era), that was some boring, ugly football, with nothing happening on either side of the ball*. Consequently, during my high school years, when my sports fandom should have been at its most intense, I spent the second half of most football seasons not giving two shits about Giants games, as they were clearly just spinning their wheels.
- –> I have fond memories of exactly one player whose career fell definitively within that time frame: RB Rodney Hampton. I guess you could also throw in Michael Strahan and LB Jessi Armstead, though I tend to associate their careers more with the Kerry Collins/Amani Toomer/Tiki Barber led Giants teams.