Thursday, January 31, 2008

Confessions of A College Facepainter

In response to a post left on the USCHO fan forum by screen name Burnt Orange Husky.

You face painters make me laugh, you're such homers! You should get out of Houghton more often.

The team finally played well at GLI this year and I acknowledged that in a post. I bet you weren't even ALIVE the last time Tech won GLI. They won it SIX YEARS IN A ROW when I was at Tech. The 1979 Ann Arbor News sports section lead story had the headline, "Tech Owns GLI".

So excuse me when I don't pat Russell on the back and say, "Good Job. We had a winning season last year." I expect more than that. When they play well, I'll cheer them on. But when they play poorly, I'll kick them in the butt. They can call their moms if they want a hug...

We are not band wagoners, we are not the ones who cheer for our team because everybody else is, and then disappear when they fall out of fashion. We are not fair weather fans, we are the not ones who have no problem cheering for the team when they are on top, and then turn around and rip on the players and coaches when things aren't going in our favor.

We are facepainters. We are the upper echelon of sport fans, or the bottom tier depending on where you're sitting. We are the ones on the front lines, forsaking the small aspects of our own live for the sole affirmation that comes with watching other pursue their craft. We are the irrational, we are the manic, we are the lunatics bordering on insanity that always believes that the next game will be the best game.

We are the ones who have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the name of supporting our team. We are the ones who have skipped parties, and weddings, and funerals, exams and countless other activities just so that when the puck dropped we would be there. We are the ones that fells the world spinning off it's axle every time a goal is scored and we're not there to celebrate it. We are the ones who have been driven to tears at the sound of galvanized rubber hitting an iron post. We are the ones who have celebrated to the brink of causing injuries to ourselves and others because this time the score worked out in our favor.

We are the ones who cheer our team no matter what. We are the ones who have no problem wearing our allegiance on our skin, because we know are loyalties will never change. We are the ones willing to to lose our voices for weeks at a time, because we know that sometimes the difference in playing hard and hard enough to win is simply knowing that others believe in you.

We may be homers, our glasses may be colored in the shade of our schools colors but that doesn't mean we are blind to the truth. We are still the ones who feel the pain when our team drops a game to the last place in the league, and even when they are that last placed team, but we still cheer. We know the pain of being called celler-dwellers and a disgrace to the sport, but we still believe. We know the feeling of shame as other programs cheer for you because you're harmless, but we know that one day it'll be different. And even though we know that our team is not as dominant as it once was, it is still our team. We know that the second you give up hope that you can't win is the moment you should stop playing. And we know that the day when you step into a building and don't feel like you can win is the day that you should stop cheering.

All that may be common knowledge, but here's the confession, deep down inside we are the ones who know, that the players aren't playing for us. They are playing for themselves, they are playing because they want to be the best, they are playing because they love the game, they are playing for pride. We know that we can't change how they play, or change why they play so the only way we can effect the game is to make sure that they fell the confidence and pride that we feel.

We are the ones that know that in the long run coaches and players may come and go, but facepainters are forever.


Yager said...

nice post, very nice post

MeanEgirl said...

Ok, Rob Green... edit this post and fix all your grammatical and spelling errors. There are quite a few. I don't want to do it this time. =P

Goon said...

you engineers are way too creative for us sociology majors. lol. :)