Side by Side after a Loss

May 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Side by Side

Every now and then a post comes along which receives plaudits from fellow site members and deserves to be reprinted somewhere for posterity’s sake. Many thanks to die4pies for agreeing to let us kick off the Side by Side blog with this ripping post.

“Why analyse a loss with such vigour?

If your name is Mick Malthouse, Nathan Buckley or Gavin Brown, then I can understand if you dissect a game second by second and then line guys up and tear shreds off them and this would be done discreetly behind closed doors. So what purpose does it serve for ‘supporters’ to publically drag us all through this exercise? We won’t play any better the next week.

Isolating and ridiculing players doesn’t make them play any better. All it does is exacerbate the feelings of frustration and anger built up during the loss. If players did read this stuff from their own ‘supporters’, would they be inspired to play better? Part of being a supporter and the unwritten contract between those on the field and those in the terraces is that we are there to inspire those on the field and in turn they give us something to cheer about. But we only cheer when they fulfil their side first. Collingwood supporters, and AFL supporters in general, will not vocally back their team when they fall behind. Why is it so hard to support when we are losing?

Then there is the inevitable squabbles between supporters who become offended when a favourite player (or even a personal friend) is ridiculed publically. In many instances the levels of anger become quite dangerous and reflect very poorly on the poster’s inability to think rationally when things haven’t quite worked out how they had hoped for. For them this would not be an isolated online phenomena either and would be a reflection on that person’s general social behaviour and attitude towards the people around them.

This problem also manifests itself inside the stadium as the opposition takes control of a game and the ‘supporter’ is left feeling frustrated and bewildered and thinking to themselves “Why are you doing this to me? I came here to watch you win!”

The very definition and purpose of a ‘supporter’ has been distorted by the corporatisation of sport. We once turned up and supported, now we are stakeholders. We have ‘invested’ in the team’s success and should success not materialise we feel ‘ripped off’ and betrayed. How often did I hear the cry from the seats behind me on Friday night; “I don’t pay my membership to watch this f-ing crap”. The promise of success is also central to the marketing of Club memberships. The ‘premiership guarantee’ adds a significant percentage to a club’s membership numbers. But these people don’t hang around when times are tough and wins hard to come by.

As supporters we know that without us on the terraces the game would not be worth playing and unfortunately it has lead to an over inflated sense of self worth. Supporters as a group are worth everything to their team and to the health of the game in general. However, individual supporters have no worth and the same applies to their uninformed opinions and public ranting, whether that is at the bar with a pot in hand, at school, at work or on an internet forum.”

die4pies, 22 May 2010, General Discussion Forum

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