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Anatomy of a Rapids Fan, VI: Realism, Optimism, or Homerism?

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Some fans are never happy! Yet, some fans are eternal optimists, finding the silver lining in those thunderheads. But when does optimism cloud realism? This optimism fan in the South Stands is talking to himself again. Come and eavesdrop!

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Self in the South Stands:

You rabid Colorado Rapids fan, you!  You, who got the Rapids bug in October 2013 when you first saw the Rapids live against FC Dallas (a game the good guys won, 2-1).  You, a second-year season ticket holder at your home-away-from-home in the back row of Section 121, perfectly positioned right in from on the concession stands and the bathroom for your boys whose bladders are the relative size of a thimble.  You, who now writes 2-3 times a week about this beautiful game on the Burgundy Wave.

Now, the Colorado Rapids have become an important and significant part of your life and the life of your kiddos, much to my wife's chagrin, but she's a great sport about it, no pun intended.  (As we heard one preacher say in relating a story from a time when his wife reflected on her husband's loss of the gas station he purchased months prior, "You don't smoke and you don't drink.  You lost as much on that station as you would have on smoking or drinking.  Six in one hand, half dozen in the other.  Let's forget about it."  I don't drink or smoke, but I do have a great affection for all things Rapids.)

I'm finding out, Self, that my fandom runs in three different streams:  realism, optimism, and homerism(*).  Given all that the Rapids atmosphere is to our family, you, dear Self, find yourself drifting into homerism. There's no shame in this, mind you!  Sure, for some it's an insult, but it's very easy to diagnose why this happened:

  • Being a part of the Rapids fan family (fan-ily?) gives you a great time with your kiddos.  They are growing to love soccer and the Rapids are becoming part of their DNA.  Win.  Win.  And win!  It's a home away from home!
  • Because of the Rapids, you've joined with a great sports writing blog with guys that care and are genuinely stand-up writers who do their craft with passion and excellence!  Who saw that coming? (Well, being a pastor, I actually know Who saw that coming!)
  • You've seen a great example of service with guys like Dillon Ross as your Season Ticket Representative, who's goal is to make "lifelong Rapids fans." Homeristic tendencies increased even more!
  • You're a lead pastor at a church where your 22 years in ministry has conditioned you not to simply look at the surface, but to look deeper into the motivations and the 'soul' of a player as a person rather than exclusively their external performance makes it difficult to really pound on a player (outside of reckless, harmful behavior on the pitch--then I have zero tolerance).  Your heart goes out to those players wanting them to succeed. Homerism Red Alert.

So, dear Self, the operative word for you that you must ask yourself is this, "Are you blindly devoted to your team?"  The answer? No, not blindly!  You see the issues upfront on the team.  You see the coaching issues.  You scratch your head at the choice of substitutions during the game. That's realism.

But you also see the potential.  You see that with slight adjustments up front, we could have had a couple more wins in the bag.  It's there!  Painfully close!  Tantalizingly close!  That's optimism.

So, You, how would you classify yourself as a fan?  A realistic optimist with homeristic tendencies.  A rabid, realistic, rational, passionate, wouldn't miss a game (unless it's during church) fan.

Next, this optimistic realist (wait, realistic optimist) wants to know if Shane O'Neill or Dillon Serna, after their impressive showing with the U-23 team, will see more of the field--for they should!

Hmm, maybe I'll be cured of my homerism after all!

Go, Rapids!

(*)  Homerism is a derogatory term defining the condition of being blindly devoted to your favorite sports team whether they are performing well or not.