September 18, 2009

No Respect At All

“I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous… everyone hasn't met me yet.” - Rodney Dangerfield


I’ve followed sports my whole life…been around the block or two, and one of the things I’ll never understand is the use of this tired, worn out, completely insignificant word. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the “respect your opponent” philosophy. This is basic sports psychology stuff that basically says, “If you don’t strap it on and play hard, the guy on the other side is going to kick your ass.” Over time, we’ve obviously seen cases of small teams/programs rising up and winning..because the team on the other bench failed to “respect” them.

However, as most words in the English language, time has warped the true sense of what the word actually means.

I bring this up, because like you, I’ve been monitoring national and local radio/websites/columnists etc over the past few weeks, and the one phrase I keep hearing is over and over from everyone is, “Respect.” Bob Stoops is the master of this, playing this card at any and all opportunity, in order to better motivate his team. That leads to the question…does a team with that much talent REALLY need extra motivation? (Especially if it’s made up?)

In terms of young athletes (and don’t kid yourself..the very guys you follow and worship have barely shed the “kid” label..many of which can’t even buy a legal drink), playing the “they don’t respect you” card is needed sometimes to motivate. I get that. Hell, when somebody on the other team says, "You suck"'re probably going to have a little bit of motivation within you to try and make a point and prove them wrong. That part is common sense and very easy to understand.

What I don’t get…and have NEVER gotten, is a sentence such as that I've heard probably a dozen times in the past week alone : “_________ has such great fans/players/coaches etc. You’ve gotta really respect their program.” Or better yet, “You’ve gotta really respect the job Mack Brown has done at Texas.” Or perhaps, "Your fans suck because they don't respect true national powers".

This cavalcade of ignorance goes back to the fundamental reason why people love college football in the first place: The whole thing is so tribal and territorial, that people lose site of the big picture. People want to be in a gang and align themselves with people of the same stature, that they lose sight of the fact that 120 college (in D1) play college football and all 120 of them have fans who think they should be respected. You wanna piss someone off, tell them an off-color joke about their mother. You wanna send someone over the edge? Tell them their college football coach has sex with farm animals.

I stated this last year in the pre-season magazine head-to-head I wrote with HuskerMike of Husker blogging fame: You don’t get a big trophy for being “great fans”. You don’t get a $10,000 scholarship check from Chevy because you love your team more than some auto-mechanic in Pullman, Washington. Just because you wear your bright orange or red or whatever jacket around SEVEN days a week compared to your rival/neighbor’s SIX times a week...that does not mean you should be the target of any sort of envy or jealousy. And it DEFINITELY doesn’t make you smarter about football, sports or anything else for that matter.

All it means is, following your team plays a bigger part of your life than somebody else. Well whoopee doo..isn’t that difficult to pull off?

I’m not going to lie to you…my favorite football team has horrible fans. I’ve called them out here and I’ve called them out elsewhere. Hell I myself am one of the "worst fans" I know. But just as I’d bash my little brother, I’ll also take their side in an argument almost everyday of the week, because we share the same common goal: To see our team win.

The word “respect” is a made up analogy of our own self-conscious nature. We feel other people should “respect” us, because we so happen to cheer for a better or even different team than somebody else. Well, you don’t need a license to cheer for a team, and you don’t need to register with the government to buy a bright red sweatshirt.

Maybe you don't believe this...but I really don’t give a rats ass if other fans like me. I don’t care if they “have a great time” at my team’s stadium, nor do I wish any of them luck in their future endeavors (I don't). I don’t care how many people have the same shirt as I do… I don’t care if my thoughts or behavior makes you feel mad, angry or indifferent. I don’t care if you can name your starting left tackle from the 1964 Orange Bowl. I don’t care if your car has a 40 foot flag attached to the trunk for game days. I don’t care how many websites you troll, or how much information you read. Fans are fans are fans, no matter where you go.

But make no mistake: I don’t have to recognize a damn thing when I’m evaluating a game, a player or fans. Apparently I'm evil and bitter and a "hater" because I understand that no matter who you root for....if you act like a douchebag…you’re a douchebag.

“Respect” has nothing to do with it.

(Photo Credit: and MLive)


  1. I respect this entry as the best one you've written on the new site. I hope they keep getting better. GBR

  2. Thanks. It's a work in progress, and really just an outlet when something catches my ire for the day. It will get better.

    Perhaps if NU ever gets good again? :)

  3. Well said. I think you're spot on with this posting.

    There's a first time for everything! ;-)

  4. I respect the hell out of this post based on the use of the word 'cavalcade.' Don't see that word in too many football blogs.

    I read somwhere on here that this blog isn't about the Huskers, yet you have them placed directly behind a team that struggled to put away a Jr High squad from south dakota. Are you trying to piss off husker fans or just that stupid? You wouldn't think a big 12 blog would single out one team to piss off.

    Either way, I now have something to read on Friday afternoons again.

    internet tough guy

  5. It's called being passive aggressive. You don't have a blog dedicated to you because you don't deserve one.

    Doesn't mean you don't deserve to be made fun of...because you do.