I’ve found a new way of enjoying the Trail Blazers: root for them to lose. Yes, I’ve become a rabid anti-fan of Oregon’s one and only big-time professional sports franchise.
I enjoy the televised games even more than I did when I was a positive-fan. Call me perverse, but there’s a special joy in watching a detested team lose that isn’t there when an admired team wins. It’s sort of like watching NASCAR races just for the wrecks, yet more guilt free—because nobody gets hurt when the Blazers lose.
You can save quite a bit of time if you’re an anti-fan rather than a fan. I’m really only interested in the Trail Blazers’ fourth quarter, for if they’re going to lose, this obviously is when it’s going to happen. Fans want to see how the team plays throughout the game because they genuinely care. Since I only care about seeing the Blazers embarrass themselves with another loss, my viewing time is considerably compressed.
I generally turn on the TV near the end of the first half to check the score. If the Trail Blazers are behind by a goodly amount, as they were yesterday (Lakers game), I rub my anti-fan hands together in anticipatory glee: “Ah, this could be a good night,” I mutter to myself.
I don’t want to give the Blazers too much attention, even negative, so I try to wait until about eight minutes are left in the fourth quarter before I settle onto the couch for what I hope will be another satisfying Portland loss. Last night’s game was tense. When Stoudamire got hot, hit a couple of threes, and brought the Trail Blazers back to within three points of the Lakers, I started to sweat.
It was a nail-biter down to the final seconds. When Abdur-Rahim’s three-point try bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded I jumped to my feet. “Yes! There is a god!” Joy is another Blazers loss. I knew that I’d be sleeping like a baby that night with a big anti-fan smile on my face.
In case I sound like a degenerate, twisted Oregon Sports Scrooge, I want to assure you that I root sincerely for the U of O Ducks and OSU Beavers to win. Also my graduate school alma mater, the Portland State Vikings (who I hope will get into the NCAA tournament and put the state’s big boy college teams to shame). So it’s just the Trail Blazers who have earned my disdain.
I’m not alone, according to an interesting Blue Oregon post by Kari Chisholm, “Blazers: Still not fan-friendly.” He reports on an analysis that shows the Blazers ranking #26 out of 29 NBA teams on the question, “Are fans getting what they deserve from their hometown team?” On the issue of fan relations, the Trail Blazers were a highly deserved #29 out of 29.
Way to go! We’re #1 in fan dissatisfaction!
Kari shared a follow-up post after, horror of horrors, he actually went to a Blazers game—the same Lakers game I saw on TV. He estimated that at least a third of the crowd was rooting for the Lakers, which means I have a lot of anti-fan company.
I simply don’t care about any of the players on the current roster, with the possible exception of Joel Przybilla. He’s got a great last name and plays hard, but hasn’t been on the team long enough to be much of a positive offset against my inherent dislike, or at best, apathy, towards the other guys.
Back in the good old days of 1977 things were a lot different. I moved to Salem from Portland that year and was overjoyed to find that the cable TV system here had all the Blazers games on for absolutely free. I had some great times that championship season bonding with Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas, Dave Twardzik, Lionel Hollins, and the other members of a team that oozed character on and off the court.
This year I’m also looking forward to the NBA playoffs: to the Trail Blazers not being in them, I mean. The season’s prospects appear promising so far. A few more home court losses and this anti-fan can start to relax.