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The ups and downs of fandom

The ups and downs of fandom The ups and downs of fandom



To be a sports fan is to accept the agonies and joys that come with such a mercurial thing. There’s no script to sports, and on any given day a lowly team can knock off a veritable national champion contender. This year has seen its fair share of upsets, especially in NCAA men’s basketball, where multiple number one teams have lost to the most unlikely of candidates.

Duke lost at home for the first time in what feels like forever to Stephen F. Austin. Kentucky lost to the Evansville Aces, who I am not sure is even a real basketball team. I checked. They are. You’re welcome.

It can be a love/hate relationship when you find yourself cheering on a favorite player or sport or team. You can get your heart ripped out, or you can be stunned into sheer and utter joy by an unexpected victory.

Take the Wisconsin men’s basketball team this year. They played two horrid games earlier in the season in Brooklyn, and shot an absolutely abysmal five of 50 from three point land against Richmond and New Mexico State - not exactly powerhouses of college basketball.

I thought the Badgers were done. Finished. Washed up. There’s no way they win another game! Not after that display of . . . I don’t know what back in December.

And then the last two weeks happened. In between a one point loss to an up and coming Illinois team, the Badgers have defeated three ranked opponents in the last four games. The latest one may have been the craziest game.

Wisconsin found itself down by one, without the ball and with 12 seconds to play. Somehow, they got the ball back, sunk a three pointer and won. Insane. Unreal.

To be a fan is to live and die with each win and each loss. Being a Wisconsin sports fan means finding new ways of having your heart ripped out of your chest. Moments like that, it’s great we live in Wisconsin, and a Spotted Cow is only a refrigerator away.

The Green Bay Packers have taken me on a roller-coaster ride this season, and I’ve seen the Packers take their share of beatings (San Diego, San Francisco) and their share of spectacular wins - like their most recent against Seattle.

Aaron Rodgers is no longer that young gunslinger with the glint in his steely eyes. He’s worn and tired, with grey appearing in his beard and crows-feet in his eyes. But never doubt a lion in winter, and Rodgers brought the magic and led Green Bay to victory.

For their reward, they’ll play San Francisco once again. The pundits say it will be another lopsided loss. Maybe it will. Maybe this will be the end of another magical run for Rodgers where he once again comes up short.

Who knows? Sports is unpredictable, and if you want the rush of victory you have to live with the threat of loss. So, I will be watching, wishing and hope Green Bay wins? Of course. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.