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If you’ve ever been to a bar or public place during a thrilling sports event, you know the atmosphere. It is sports fandom at it’s purest. Whether it’s complete strangers, common acquaintances or best friends -- there’s nothing like sharing a great sporting moment with those who love a team as much as you do. It is an unspeakable connection that not many things can even begin to touch. It has made grown men and self professed toughs hug and giggle like little school girls. It can bring down race, gender and difference barriers so effortlessly it sometimes makes us wonder why we think we’re all so different in the first place.
It’s impossible to explain to someone who’s never really come to love a sports team what it’s really like or what being a true fan is really about. Fans live and die with their teams -- their attitude often fluctuating on the recent wins and losses that they acquire or the anguish that is felt when their team falls just short of a championship. Some fans anguish is more extreme than others, obviously, but at it’s most basic form and to the average fan -- the extremes of winning big and losing bad are easily recalled.
From the moment sports were born they were a catalyst for the everyman to become a fan, and doing so had many advantages. Whether it was to take their mind off the real world, to feed their need for competition, plain old enjoyment or a combination of the bunch -- no matter what, it became a part of life itself. Your hometown baseball team’s fate had as much say about your daily mood than the inner workings of your automobile. So what if your car broke down in the rain, the Sox just won a key series against the Yanks in September. It isn’t just a thing to watch on T.V. or an excuse to throw back beers on weeknights -- it’s a part of your life.
That’s it. If you understand, you understand and if you don’t, you don’t.
Why the idea of a fan led franchise hasn’t been thought up before in America is beyond me. I’ve honestly, never even thought of it. But if you take a minute and think of it, it’s a brilliant idea. Who better to run a professional sports team than those who live and die with their every move? Why not put the fate of a franchise into it’s fans hands so they have only their selves to blame if they mess it up?
Most GM’s (while not all, mind you) have finance in mind when running a team. Sure they might be a fair-weather fan, but since when have you seen a hardcore fan of a particular team become the GM? Sure, Marc Cuban comes to mind -- but other than that, I got no one. Does that mean that they don’t exist? Absolutely not. Does it mean we need some? Absolutely yes.
Someone who runs a particular team should have more than just dumping salary or selling tickets in mind when trading, drafting or signing players. They should worry less about how the local fans will react to the team’s moves and more about how their moves will effect their own life. If the fans run the team, only the most logical and best-for-the-team moves will be made.
Again, if those moves don’t work -- they will have no one to blame but themselves. No more FireCoachSoandSo dot com‘s, no more excuses, no more blame. How could this not be good for sports? With all the things happening in regards to steroid scandals and spying cases, how could a logical step backward, to a simpler time be so bad? Even if it doesn’t work at first, why shouldn’t those who pay the taxes for a particular team, overpay to see them live and even buy papers and magazines to read about them not have a say in how they’re run?
Over the years money has become more important in sports than the actual outcomes of games. Players care more about their signing bonus than they’re own record. Not a contract year? Time to relax. Money talks, and we all know this -- but it’s now the focal point of the conversation for a thing that was once just all about competition. It was all about winning. It was all about your team winning the title and that was that. What would true fans choose between: the basketball arena grossing an extra 4 million or the basketball team adding a championship banner to the said arena. I think you know the answer.
Even if you disagree with this whole thing, please, just do me a favor. Stop and think about something for me. Stop and think about why you watch sports in the first place, why you love your favorite teams, why you would jump for joy if someone told you they had 50 yard line tickets to the next local pro football game. Literally, jump up and down for joy. What harm could it do to let the people who are so emotionally involved in a team that a loss can make a normally horrible Monday morning absolutely abysmal, run the show?
If you’ve agreed with this piece and you think it would be a good idea for fans to run what they love, head over to Project Franchise -- and before you start to make judgements, I thought to do this article all by my lonesome after reading about the whole thing on their website. It’s not a shameless whore like plug by them and more of a shameless whore like plug by me -- who's not affiliated with them in any way. So if you’ve ever thought you could do better and believe that the blue collared fan would fare better than the current money hungry GM’s -- do yourself a favor and head over to the Project Franchise site and read what it’s all about. Hell, you may even be a part of a revolution.