As their team sits at 3-3 and in 2nd-place in the SEC East, fans of the Florida Gators thought their season would be going better than it has up to this point. There was the season-opening 33-17 loss to a disappointing Michigan team. And they lost frustrating games to LSU and Texas A&M. None of these losses were bad losses but those games against LSU and Texas A&M should have been wins.
I’m here to tell fans of the Gators that it’s just a game. It’s. Just. A. Game.
But for a vocal, impulsive minority portion of the fanbase, it’s more than just a game. This is SEC football and everyone should dominate the way Nick Saban and Alabama do. So naturally (?) some Florida fans have resorted to making death threats against both Jim McElwain and some of the players.
If you’re a fan of the Gators, there are bigger things in life than the record of the football team. If you’re a fan of any team, there should be bigger things in your life. But this is SEC football. Remember? “It Just Means More.”
Except it doesn’t.
The success or lack thereof of your favorite sports team should not mean more. It shouldn’t mean more than your well-being, the well-being of your family, or the strength of your relationships with others. Most of us understand this. But sadly many don’t.
Your happiness and reason d’etre shouldn’t hinge on the success of a sports team. And when your mental sanity is tethered to the record of a sports team, you only appear more delusional when it’s a college team your psyche is tied to. If you’re a grown ass man or woman, stop worshipping 17-21 year old kids and go find a life. It’s a big world out there and Jim McElwain shouldn’t be the captain of your ship.
This attitude is nothing new, particularly in the SEC.
I’m not a fan of NCAA basketball referee John Higgins. When I say that, what I really mean is that I’m not a fan of Higgins as referee. He may very well be a great guy and great businessman. When the Kentucky basketball team lost to North Carolina in the 2017 NCAA tournament, some Wildcat fans blamed Higgins. And you guessed it, there were even threats made against his life.
These aren’t the only examples of fans going off the deep end but these are two of the most reason examples in the SEC.
Watch your team on television. Go to the games. Be an armchair quarterback on message boards. Have fun being a fan. But remember this. It’s all about fun for you. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on the success of your favorite team and neither should your happiness.
If you find a need to harass and threaten the lives of coaches and players then being a fan of a team isn’t for you. You need to put on yourself on probation for lack of institutional control and come back to sports when you’re mature enough to handle it.
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E-mail Seth at firstname.lastname@example.org