CORBIN — By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
It’s an exciting week for sports fans nationwide, as the Final Four will be played this weekend as four teams battle for a spot in the NCAA Championship Game.
Fans from Florida, Kentucky, Connecticut and Florida will converge in Arlington, Texas (or North Texas, or Dallas, whichever you prefer) for what will be a three-day event for two teams, while two others will head home after Saturday night’s games.
I spoke out on Facebook last week as soon as the Wildcats knocked off Michigan to advance to the Final Four. I wanted to be one of the first UK fans to admit that I had lost faith in John Calipari and these young Wildcats as the regular season wound down.
I had dogged the system, ripped the coach and questioned the heart of the players wearing the beloved blue and white. To be honest, I was almost ready to call it quits.
A lot of people will argue until they're blue in the face that anybody that fusses and gets upset during a team’s struggles should never down the team at any time.
I disagree with that for a few reasons.
The first reason is that as fans, people spend hard-earned money on an athletic program by watching games, traveling to see them when they’re out-of-town or maybe by buying and wearing team merchandise.
No matter what level the team is, whether it’s a professional, minor league or college team, as a fan who spends money, I feel like people have the right to get upset or decide whether or not they choose to support a team wholeheartedly.
Now, does this make those particular people “bandwagon fans?” I don’t think so. I think it means they care a little more about the success of the program more than the casual fan who watches games when postseason play rolls around and a team gets on a roll.
The other reason I feel like it’s not completely wrong to voice an opinion when it comes to a struggling team is because a fan’s relationship with a sports team is kind of like a marriage.
As a married man, I’m smart enough to know that every marriage isn’t perfect and that just like any relationship, there are always going to be ups and downs.
When a spouse does something the other doesn’t agree with, they either argue or talk it out until things are settled and back to normal. In our relationships with sports teams, we get mad when we feel like a team has done wrong (played poorly).
Just like with every other relationship worth salvaging, you make amends with your favorite team in some way. This could mean admitting you were wrong about something yourself, or maybe you forgive the team after a rant over what you deemed as poor play.
The bottom line is this — as a fan who invest time and money in a program, you have a right to fuss when your team is performing poorly. Does that mean you hate them or will never root for them again? Most likely not.
Does it mean that if you spout off at the mouth you may owe said team an apology before your buddies will allow you to root for them again without giving you a hard time? Most likely.
I’ve apologized for ripping the Wildcats and in my opinion we’ve made up. Now, hopefully come Monday we’ll be talking about another big game.