The Florida Marlins are unhappy with their fans. They are tired of playing in a giant, empty, cavernous ballpark. They think that people should take the abnormal stance of showing up and supporting them when they play well. How arrogant, how presumptive, how… rational?
Randy Moss was scrutinized a couple of weeks ago for saying that people like to be recognized for doing a good job. It was talked about repeatedly for the next week, and there was much speculation about whether he was going to go all “RAN-DY MOSS!” straight-cash-homey crazy on the Patriots. But what he was expressing was a completely rational, normal human emotion. We seem to demonize athletes and celebrities for behaving in ways that we behave in every day. For instance;
If you were a salesperson, and you sold more, oh, I don’t know, Teletubby dolls than any other salesperson in your store, you would want to be recognized. You would want your manager to come over and say “Hey, good job on selling all of those Teletubbies.” When your time came for review, you would expect a huge bonus for your incredible weird androgynous doll-selling skills. You would expect it but you wouldn’t get it, because you are just doing your job and people generally don’t get accolades for simply doing their jobs. Good managers do give reinforcement when it’s warranted, but there are very, very few good managers in the world, so most of us have to trudge through life working for less money and even fewer positive reinforcements.
Point is, athletes have every right to have normal human reactions to things, but they also, for the most part, have never had normal jobs like the rest of us. They have never learned what most of us already know; no matter how much you love or hate your job, there are always parts of it that will be shitty regardless. In football, no matter how good you are you will never fully be appreciated until your career is over; maybe. And even then sometimes people have to have others lobby to get them into the hall of fame. While they are playing they are just another employee, and while people like Warren Sapp and Albert Haynseworth like to throw the “slave” word around so flippantly, the truth is they are treated far better than the rest of us (and of course far better than an actual slave.)
The vast majority of us do not have fan clubs. We do not have people cheering for us. We do not have people buying shirts with our names on it. I am not saying that athletes are spoiled, because they work just as hard for their money as anyone else, but their expectations of how people should treat them for what they do are way off. At most they are out of touch with the realities of the normal working environment. The only people in the world who truly get respect are the ones who sign the checks. That’s how it has always been and how it will always be. Nobody is going to pat you on the head and tell you good job everyday because you’re a great wide receiver the same way no one pats you on the head and tells you great job when you’re a great UPS delivery man. You just Hero Up and move on with your day.
Similarly, when you’re good at your job as a team, and the fans don’t show up… well, I can understand being pissed about that. Everybody wins first and foremost for themselves, but imagine what kind of assholes the Saints would have felt like if they came back to the SuperDome and played in front of 12k people? They would have quit the city. I’m not sure whose side to be on, because I’ve heard lots of reports on how Floridians are terrible sports fans (much like Atlanteans) who simply don’t show up to support their professional teams. Maybe it’s because they are more into College Sports than professional ones, maybe they just don’t have the money. Maybe the people just don’t like baseball, who knows? They have every right to want people in the stands, but the Rays have to play with the cards they were dealt. They play in a crappy market and that’s that. A lot of people have to work on holidays to pay the bills. Life sucks Evan, get a helmet and get on with it.
John Minus is a noted Bon-Vivant, Raconteur, and all-around Anti-Hero. He has a podcast called the Alter Negro Sho and co-hosts the Non-Productive Podcast. He can be contacted on twitter: www.twitter.com/DonCoyote and by his email JohnMinus@Non-Productive.com