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RunKC
10-13-2012, 02:15 AM
How much more can KC sports fans take?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/12/3864807/how-much-more-can-kc-sports-fans.html#storylink=cpy

Another year of dashed hopes and broken dreams is nearing its close here in Loserville.

Fan frustration?

We saw it boil over last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium when some spectators cheered quarterback Matt Cassel’s early exit from the Baltimore game after a hard hit left him with a concussion.

This was the year the Royals were finally supposed to contend, but the boys in blue finished below .500 as they have for 17 of the last 18 seasons.

The Chiefs were supposed to have promise, also, but instead 2012 has been a train wreck, with the team starting 1-4 — and heading into Sunday’s game against 1-3 Tampa Bay as the underdog.

“Please understand, I’m not condoning this,” Murray State University psychology professor Daniel Wann said of the crowd’s disturbing response to Cassel’s injury.

“But if you’re sitting there in the stands and you’ve just gone through last year’s Chiefs season, and this summer’s Royals season, man, you can’t believe you’re staring at another lost year in Kansas City sports.”

You’d think all this suckishness over a period of decades would have a stunting effect on the average KC sports fan’s psyche.

We’d either be walking around in a constant state of depression, or throwing up our hands, saying “no more!” and chaining ourselves to the George Brett Bridge until fortunes reversed.

But no. Kansas Citians continue to buy tickets, read box scores and proudly wear Royals caps and Chiefs jackets.

We endure.

To Wann, this curious phenomenon is not the least bit puzzling.

Since his days as a grad student at the University of Kansas, he’s been studying sports fans. Everything from their moods and motivations to how much testosterone their bodies produce while they watch the game, he’s factored it into the equation.

So when you ask him why Royals and Chiefs fans continue to follow the local teams even after getting burned again and again, he has studies to back up his answer.

In short, Wann and other academics have concluded that sports fans are a special breed of cat who can’t keep from hopping back on the hot stove.

What’s more, it’s good for their emotional health to remain committed to sports teams, whether they win or lose.

“I’m amazed at how resilient sports fans are,” Wann said.

After all, he asked, how many people would buy a pizza if there was a 50-50 chance they’d be disappointed after eating it?

Yet sports fans watch the game knowing their team might lose, but invest their time and money anyway.

“The craziest thing about sports fans is that there are sports fans at all.”

Fan solidarity

The lost years at the Truman Sports Complex have been piling up like empties at a frat house. It’s been decades since either team even came close to winning a title.

As a Kansas City native who remembers the golden years, Wann is well aware of this. You might call him a “long-suffering” Royals and Chiefs fan.

Except he’d likely correct you. Sports fans don’t suffer. Even when their teams stink up the joint year after year, they tend to live happier lives than people who pay no attention to sports.

Research suggests that sports fans are better adjusted, socially and emotionally, than the general population.

This might seem implausible to anyone who’s turned on the game and seen beery, bare-chested nutsos baying into the camera lens, their bodies painted in team colors like totem poles.

In fact, research shows that sports fans have higher self esteem than people who don’t live and die for their city’s pro team or Whatsamatta U.

“We don’t have as many social networks and social outlets as we did in the past,” said Western Kentucky University professor Rick Grieve. “But you look at the football stadiums, baseball stadiums and the hockey arenas, they’re full. I think the way we are filling our need for affiliation is by affiliating with a sports team.”

People nowadays are less likely to go to church, belong to the Lion’s Club or be on the bowling team. But we humans still desire a sense of community. Identifying with a team makes you part of a larger group.

“If I’m a Royals fan walking down the streets of Kansas City,” Grieve said, “I’m going to see a lot of friends wearing Royals fan gear as well.”

They might not be “friends,” as in people you actually know by name. However, in a bar filled with Royals and Chiefs fans, no one’s a stranger.

“It’s tough to be lonely in Kansas City if you’re a Chiefs fan this time of year,” Wann said.

Fact is, those ties might even be a bit stronger when your team is a perennial doormat. After all, anybody can follow a team when it’s doing well, says Edward Hirt, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University.

But sticking with a losing team is thought to build character.

“There’s a perverse pride,” Hirt said. “People think, ‘We’re the best fans because we stay loyal.’ ”

Look to next year

Baseball blogger Rany Jazayerli gets that.

A dermatologist by day, Jazayerli spend his off hours following and commenting on the exploits of our hapless Major League Baseball team at ranyontheroyals.com.

A recent post declared “three decades of Royals incompetence” while over another of his critiques was the headline “2013 Is Our Time, Or Else.” The ultimatum referred to Jazayerli’s belief that general manager Dayton Moore should be fired if his rebuilding plan fails to finally produce a winning Royals squad next season.

Yet as frustrating as it’s been to follow the Royals, Jazayerli remains a devoted fan.

“It’s better to root for a bad team than to root for no team at all,” he wrote in an email to The Star. “There’s something about living and dying with the same team day after day, year after year, that no amount of fair-weather fandom can replicate.”

Yes, and besides, there’s always next year!

Studies of sports fan behavior have turned up surprising data. Did you know that one’s testosterone level rises and falls depending on whether your team is winning or losing? Researchers have even charted variations from one play to the next.

Another study determined that men and women were both more likely to think they could land a date with that babe or hunk several levels above their pay grades after their local team won the big game. A loss and they’d settle for whatever closing time might bring.

But perhaps the most startling finding is that no matter how lousy their team is, your average sports fan remains optimistic. With next year will come the magic.

Royals and Chiefs fans remember or have heard tell of glory days. They look ahead to the new players who may be in the pipeline, either coming up through baseball’s farm system or from the higher draft picks that fall to losing NFL teams.

Naturally, not everyone stays true. Wann, for one, lost interest in the Chiefs after years of watching Marty Schottenheimer’s teams choke in the postseason. Still, he dreams of baseball glory at Kauffman Stadium.

Maybe if Moore adds some great pitchers to a young lineup that has some power at the plate, who knows, Wann tells his high school-age kids. Maybe today’s players will be as memorable as Rojas, Patek, Otis and Brett.

“They’ll ask me what was it like growing up (with the Royals) because they’ll hear the stories,” Wann said. “And I tell them, ‘It was great, because you always knew that you were going to be in the playoffs or you at least were going to compete.’ ”

That is why the rest of us carry on caring, he thinks.

“Fans in Kansas City are going to cope by holding on tightly to those glory years, whether it is the Royals or the Chiefs.”

And for anyone who can’t hold out, it’s still possible to catch a whiff of what professional sports success smells like.

Sporting KC tops its division and is heading for the playoffs for the second year in a row. Chiefs and Royals fans unfamiliar with the rules of Major League Soccer might be confused by what’s happening on the pitch.

But should they be lucky enough to score a ticket to the playoffs or last remaining regular season home game — sellouts are now common at Livestrong stadium, the way they used to be for Chiefs games — they just might recognize the excitement and positive energy in the park and on the faces of the rabid fans.

Arrowhead used to be like that, too, though it seems like a long time ago.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/12/3864807/how-much-more-can-kc-sports-fans.html#storylink=cpy

Deberg_1990
10-13-2012, 07:10 AM
I get the feeling that Chiefs and Royals = old school fans.

And

Sporting News = new generation fan

MahiMike
10-13-2012, 08:03 AM
This is extremely interesting. I now realize why I'm such a masochist. I'm still clinging to the Chief's SB win when I was 7.

Problem is the next generation. They don't feel the need to suffer like us old timers. In order to get their interest and $ they'll need to have some success.

Rausch
10-13-2012, 08:47 AM
This is extremely interesting. I now realize why I'm such a masochist. I'm still clinging to the Chief's SB win when I was 7.

I cling to 93 and remember the feeling when we landed Joe.

I remember a loss and thinking "this sucks, but we'll be back in the playoffs next year."

Problem is the next generation. They don't feel the need to suffer like us old timers. In order to get their interest and $ they'll need to have some success.

Okoye was the guy for me. He ran with a blue collar attitude. At times you'd just see a pile of Raiders moving down the field and when they all fell down Okoye would jump up after a 6 yard gain. There was nothing cute or tricky about it. He'd get hit about a yard after the LOS and just ****ing drag people for another 4 or 5 or 6.

Marty's teams were blue collar and about punching you in the mouth until YOU quit.

We are now exactly the type of team Marty wanted to play against.

There are no new fans. There is absolutely no one on this team for any casual fan to lock on to and identify with. There are 16 year olds that can't remember a time KC was even worth watching. There are no vocal leaders on this team (part of that is the Pioli way) and no player any young person could idolize and love watching...

PGM
10-13-2012, 08:48 AM
Our Time

AussieChiefsFan
10-13-2012, 08:48 AM
Our Time

Soon

Douche Baggins
10-13-2012, 08:57 AM
There's a great article about how insane we are all here, from a long-suffering Vikings fan. They arguably have it worse than Chiefs fans.

http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2012/10/12/3489958/the-lunacyof-fandom-they-killed-our-fathers-and-now-the-sons-of

The second half began. I could hear the announcers gearing up for the kickoff. Time was slipping away, and I was going to have to watch it do so. I had to do something. I threw myself down the stairs.

My father and brother left the game and rushed into the hallway to see what had happened. Such was the state of my commitment to the Minnesota Vikings that they didn’t have to ask. My feet were in the air. My shoulder was on the bottom riser and my head was between it and the leg of a rolltop desk. I extricated myself and stood up with my knee bleeding, both elbows skinned and a disc-like pain in my back. Exasperated and frightened, my father after some ineffectual scolding followed me back to the television. He suggested turning the game off. That idea didn’t fly. While I sat there, dazed and arching my spine against the pain, those crew-cutted white guys started running the ball with some success. They punched out a first down. They punched out a string of first downs. The Vikings marched the length of the field, for the first time, and scored. It was now 16 - 7.

There was, I understood, a direct linkage: if I threw myself down the stairs, they would score.

I got up, playing with pain for the sake of the team, and left the room. I still couldn’t bend over completely. My father and brother assumed that I was getting something from the kitchen, since there didn’t seem particular cause to worry after a Vikings score. I threw myself down the stairs again.

bevischief
10-13-2012, 08:58 AM
Sad, just sad...

PGM
10-13-2012, 08:59 AM
LMAO Gotta love superstitious dumbfucks

bevischief
10-13-2012, 09:00 AM
There's a great article about how insane we are all here, from a long-suffering Vikings fan. They arguably have it worse than Chiefs fans.

http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2012/10/12/3489958/the-lunacyof-fandom-they-killed-our-fathers-and-now-the-sons-of

Vikings fans are this desperate I have seen first hand last year.

gblowfish
10-13-2012, 10:13 AM
I read this in the "reading room" this AM. Glad I was taking a dump while reading it, as that was my base reaction to the story.

Now CHunt and Glass can say that endless losing makes Kansas City Fans better adjusted socially.

Great.

Just Great.

qabbaan
10-13-2012, 10:56 AM
Most people are old enough to remember the Chiefs being a successful team throughout the 90s. If this were a team that was always a doormat and had one successful season, people wouldn't be angry, they'd be apathetic. The fact that we are raising hell speaks to how passionate we are despite having no reason whatever to be passionate in the last 8-10 years.

memyselfI
10-13-2012, 11:05 AM
And for anyone who can’t hold out, it’s still possible to catch a whiff of what professional sports success smells like.

Sporting KC tops its division and is heading for the playoffs for the second year in a row. Chiefs and Royals fans unfamiliar with the rules of Major League Soccer might be confused by what’s happening on the pitch.

But should they be lucky enough to score a ticket to the playoffs or last remaining regular season home game — sellouts are now common at Livestrong stadium, the way they used to be for Chiefs games — they just might recognize the excitement and positive energy in the park and on the faces of the rabid fans.

Arrowhead used to be like that, too, though it seems like a long time ago.


Got my tickets for both games. It's going to be insane energy and excitement. It's going to be a younger crowd who have never known Chiefs or Royals success and has no allegiance other than birthright/place and certainly not based on anything other than mediocrity. They've grown up seeing the Royals and Chiefs perpetually lose or be mired in the status quo. They are ripe for the picking if a sports team can grab their interest and get them involved.That team will have a growing group of fans loyal to them first and the twin losers at Truman Sports Complex a distant second.