Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Ugly Side of Winning

Dan wrote a great piece about GT fans earlier this month, and while it explains a lot - I'm not sure it even went far enough, as evidenced by the internet fan behavior of the past 24 hours. Since the moment GT went up 38-13 against VT and the game was basically over, there's been a sea change in the attitude of GT fans and it's very disturbing.

First, we've got "everybody back on board" effect. Sorry, you can't dedicate your existence to bad mouthing the coach, the program, the players, the quarterback, the OC, the stadium and the groundskeeper and then suddenly jump two feet on board the bandwagon when it's those same folks driving it. If you had a poll on your message board in the last two weeks seriously asking if the AD should fire the head coach in the middle of the season, you're off the bandwagon and not welcome back on. If you said you no longer consider yourself a GT fan, that's it - you're off. If you said you were cheering for ND in the opener because you openly hate our coach and want him gone, you're off. If you've mocked everyone who's said "you know, this offense isn't going to be half bad this year", don't come here now and start talking about ACC Championships with that very same offense you wasted so much time ripping.

Yes, I know fans are "fanatical" and do stupid stuff like this all the time, but come on. We claim to be a great educational institution, but I'd swear reading GT message boards and the comment sections for the past several years that there's plenty of evidence that even absolute morons are capable of getting a GT degree. The constant backbiting and whining has given the entire program a sour note, and if you've dedicated your past several years to undermining anything good that GT accomplishes, you can keep right on doing that. Don't suddenly change your attitude because of one win by the EXACT SAME PEOPLE YOU HAVE SPENT 4 YEARS SPEWING VEMON AT. Georgia Tech won in Blacksburg because of Reggie Ball, Chan Gailey and Patrick Nix. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

It's one thing to raise legitimate complaints about performance and issues with the program. But it's a whole different ball game to openly root against "your" team, which a number of GT "fans" have done. I've been critical of individual items during Gailey's and Ball's tenure on this blog (after the Utah game, for example), but I've never gone even remotely close to the level of bile displayed by a disgracefully large portion of our fanbase. I have a pretty happy overall outlook about the program (basketball, baseball or football) because I want to enjoy cheering for sports, not spending my weekends making myself and everyone around me miserable. I can't imagine what it's like for guys like Ball, who I secretly hope takes in the applause on senior night after a great final year and just throws the bird to half the stands. If he doesn't, he's a bigger man than me. Heck, during Gailey's post game interview I'm surprised he didn't just say "this was for all the **** that kept calling for me to be fired".

Secondly, and maybe more disturbing - the trash talking element of GT fans is suddenly out in full force. Check out the Maryland board, there's a bunch of people "informing" UMD of just how badly they will be beaten this weekend in Atlanta. Of course, these guys are also the same folks claiming a couple of weeks ago that Chan should be fired because he "always loses to one inferior team" - so I'm not sure how that logic works in the first place (again with that morons graduating from Tech thing). We as Tech fans talk all the time about what unsportsmanlike boors Georgia fans are, but give us one tiny taste of success and it's the same crap. Seriously, stop freaking shaming the majority of us who have three brain cells to rub together and realize what jackasses you are making us look like. The VT win was the biggest of Chan's career, to be sure - AU x2 and UM were nice, but never put us in the ACC drivers seat or in contention for a BCS bowl - but it doesn't suddenly make this football team some sort of invincible force. This isn't mid-90's Nebraska here, and we're supposedly great fans who don't act like fools, so just keep your yapper shut for a few more weeks, ok? I love Tech sports, I'm ambivalent about Tech fans. The "little brother" phenomenom is just so tightly woven into the fabric of the average Yellow Jacket fan I'm afraid it's nearly impossible to remove, and it's an ugly, ugly sight when it gets into the light of day.

/rant off

(oh yeah - actual coverage and commentary on GT is over on AOL now, if you care to read it)


Blogger Dan said...

I can't believe the folks we have trash talking now. The Maryland game is the the football equivalent of Ike Turner standing on my porch with flowers telling me what a changed man he is.

This weekend determines if I let him in my house or not.

As for the rest, I don't think I've ever been shy in saying that I was not completely sold on the Chan Gailey regime. I'm still not 100% sold, but he's doing a lot to prove me wrong and I couldn't be happier. That said, I always find myself moderating my views towards Gailey, because of the mouthbreathers over on my side of the debate. It's the same reason that I find the Hive to be the least annoying of all of our messageboards. I would rather deal with the foolishly optimistic than the hopelessly pessimistic.

I think a lot of the vitriol is that "don't fuck up or everyone will die" attitude that you and I have both mentioned. They have formed an opinion and to reverse said opinion means that they might have erred in some way. This of course would be unforgivable in Prof. Nenkasytastiz's class.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Genay said...

Mega Dittoes, NYC Nate.
Can we still get some Jayhawk commentary any time soon.

Give em Hell Tech!!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Yeah, check out AOL sometime this afternoon for a column about the KU @ NU game and Jon Cornish.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Spulture said...

I made this post in my own journal after the UVA game, and I still feel the same way. Chan needs to go. The win over Va Tech is exciting, and I do like to think that we could actually win the ACC and get to the BCS game we should have gone to during the Hamilton era.

But at the same time, we should have beat Notre Dame--that game was there for the taking. And deep down I'm afraid the VT game was a typical Gailey "Save My Job" show. He knocks off Auburn and Miami, but he loses to Duke or North Carolina or some other worthless squad. And how many wins over Georgia does he have?

5:59 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Spulture, do you just live to prove my points for me? Let me sum up your post:

"I won't give Gailey any credit even when things go well, because it would mean that I might have been wrong. By the way I drive a lexus and my degree is better than yours."

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I'm hesitant to respond to someone who uses terms like "jackasses" and "cocksuckers" (can I say that?) in a post. You never know what you will get in return but it probably won't be good.

Personally, I like critical and fair-weathered fans. It tells me they actually care about winning. Don't get me wrong. I'm not that way at all because winning is not the most important thing to me. But I do understand and respect these folks and they should be defended. They boo the team when they don't do well and they cheer when the do. And why not? The goal is to win. If not, why don't we just play for sixty minutes, have a big group hug and then go home. Critical feedback is important and so are standards. Hey, maybe we should just stop giving out grades at Ga Tech. In fact, we could just let everyone graduate with highest honors. Chan, Reggie, Pat, aren't the same folks now as they were then. How do I know this? They look better. They are winning. Things have definitely changed. Dare I say we are better because of previous criticism. An angry fan base can be a very good thing.

And I love trash talk. It comes from fans that are confident and supportive. Being the best always starts with thinking you are the best. That's what Georgia typically has and Tech typically lacks.

You call the "sea change" disturbing. I call it the miracle that comes from performing well. Isn't it wonderful that past performances can be erased by simply performing? Classic carrot and stick. What's wrong with that? Imagine a world where folks are actually judged on their performance.

You can think these folks are fools if you like but you are enjoying success partially because of them. I say "thank you". I wish there were more of them.

EE '79

PS. Congratulations Chan on a great win over Maryland! But, you looked bad doing it and almost let it get away. You need to shake this bad habit of playing to the level of your competition. If you do it again, I'm going to boo you.

7:24 AM  

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