Monday, February 6, 2012

- Uncharted Territory

This past weekend the USA played in a 7's tournament in Wellington.

Yep, this is going to be all about rugby.

And self-awareness.  Twist! 

If you were to check the tournament results the USA's performance would look well...dismal.  We lost every single game.  3 were shut outs.  It was a little bit eesh and a whole lotta womp womp.

I took it hard.  All the guys were excited and seemed to be feeling good coming out of camp.  Spirits felt high on the heels of USA Rugby offering their first full time training contracts to 11 guys, with 4 more up for grabs.  This is my opinion based on intel gained mostly from Twitter.  And here's where Twitter maybe screws me over a bit because it's made this new "obsession" of mine a bit too accessible.  Between reading tweets and blog posts I sort of kind of maybe feel like we're all friends.  Yes, that was totally embarrassing to admit.
So, after Day 1 of the tournament I was reading an update post on the USA Eagles Fan Facebook page (Just to really drive home how I have every form of internet stalking covered) and I happened to notice that the first comment was something like: "Man they fu**in suck".  I should have known better, but I read the rest of the comments.  They were 99% negative.  And rude.  Disrespectful.  No one was spared from the wrath as the horrific criticisms were directed at players, coaches, the whole organization and I think someone even posted a picture of flag burning.  Not really on that last part.

I am ALL for freedom of speech.  And this was not the first time I'd heard opinions or read comments like this.  But, I kind of feel there's a time and a place for such things.  That place is probably not the FAN page.  The 1% of the comments that weren't negative were seriously from family members and friends of the players.  I mean, it's a small community.  The games from Day 1 aren't broadcast here in the USA...so we depend on the fan page for real time score updates - or the people who aren't on Twitter do.  I was angry when I first read the posts, but when I started to recognize last names that were common with a lot of the players...I was heartbroken.  They shouldn't have to see such derogatory comments like that, especially in what should be considered a safe place.

Somewhere in the midst of the crushing sadness I was feeling for the players - because no self proclaimed fan will ever be as disappointed in their performance as much as they are in themselves - it hit me.  This is just another one of those times where I find myself navigating through the unfamiliar territory of New Found Legit Sports Fan-Dom.  Even though following rugby has become a major hobby and I'm used to how much time I devote to it...it is still completely surprising to find myself on the brink of tears because someone is badmouthing "my" boys.

It took me pretty much a whole day to shake myself out of the funk.  A sports-induced funk.

Yep, this is new.

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