Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

True Fans Keep Rooting When Teams Are Losing

Don’t call me a sore loser. For that matter, don’t call me a loser at all. I’m not the one playing in the games.

I’ve realized something over the past few months: I always end up cheering for losing teams.

In my career as a sports fan, I’ve not only gotten used to cheering for the losing team, I’ve gotten downright good at it.

Before I get into my Georgetown experience, let me give you a cursory overview of how I developed my supreme skills as a fan of losing teams. I grew up cheering for the Lions (we won a national championship in the ’50s . I think), Tigers (I’m not going to say anything else, and neither should you) and Pistons (remember when they had teal jerseys?). Simply said, my teams were a bunch of losers (God save the Red Wings).

So, I came to college a highly-trained supporter of losing squads. My teams sucked, I knew it and I loved them anyway . I still do for that matter.

But that was then. I decided to whisk away to the East for college, leaving the Big 10 (winners) behind and finding a college where I would feel more comfortable (Patriot League).

But on the other hand, I thought that coming to Georgetown might be hard. We had reputations to uphold here – we had legacies of winning. Our basketball program wasn’t even a program, really – it was a tradition. I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to acclimate to all the winning.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

Right away, we were favored to win the national championships in lacrosse. We were ranked in the top few teams, and we had almost won the year before. But then we lost … to Princeton … again. And I was OK with it. I’d still stand by the Hoyas. I’m a veteran supporter of the second-bests, has-beens and wannabes. Victories aren’t what we should go to the games to watch – we should look forward to great plays and comebacks … even failed comebacks! Or maybe that’s just me.

I think I might actually like the pain that comes from losing. It’s something that gives us character. When my team has a big lead, I’m the girl secretly wishing that the opposing squad catches up. I like to watch a good game, even at the expense of my team (Well, unless it’s the playoffs, and then we should win as swiftly and soundly as possible).

My biggest fear, though, was our basketball team.

I didn’t even realize the kind of tradition we had here until I walked into McDonough Gymnasium as a freshman and saw the photos of all the greats on the wall. This might be a little difficult, I thought. We might be winners here.

They were just playing with me.

Over the past two years, our team has gotten so good at letting us down at the last minute. Watching the Big East tournament last year, I told my dad that even if we were winning, we’d give it away in the end.

Lo and behold, in the Syracuse game, we played well and gave it away at the end. I sat there, trying to find something good about the game, and my dad gave me a nudge. “At least you saw it coming,” he laughed.

I guess he had a point. I must be so experienced at cheering for losing teams that I can even predict how it’s going to happen. Maybe that’s why I can take it so well – not from experience but from expectation.

And then, of course, there’s our football team. While we may be getting better every year, we still don’t have a winning record. There is one thing, though, that I can always count on about football: poorly attended games.

I’m not trying to say that I don’t want more fans at the games. By all means, I’d preach about going to football games every week if I thought it would make a difference.

I do, however, think that it’s nice to see that, no matter how many wins or losses we have, there are still a few hard-core fans (girlfriends, roommates and family members) out there. Who wants to jump on the bandwagon when you can ride in the caboose all season?

I guess it boils down to the fact that I don’t need to see victories to support my team. I’m always going to support the teams that I love – my hometown sports, my alma mater – no matter what.

It all seems to work out in the end because, I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a good underdog. Here at Georgetown, we seem to play that part season after season.

That doesn’t mean that I hold my head up high after a tough loss.

That doesn’t mean that I want us to lose.

It just means that I can cheer my brains out when we’re down by 20 in a basketball game.

It means that, even if we don’t win the championship game, I can feel proud that our team played in a national final.

It means that, no matter what our record is, I can sit on the hill and cheer for our football team.

Because it is my team. It is our team.

And, every so often, there are games like last Saturday when we not only win, but our football team stomps all over the other team by 20 points.

Call me crazy, but when you’re used to losing all the time, it feels so good to win.

Erin Brown can be reached at RUNNING THE OPTION appears every Tuesday.

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