That being said, I don’t feel guilty at all for enjoying it. If you put yourself out there as a super fan of some sort, you put yourself out there for this to happen. When I was a student at K-State, for 2 years a couple friends and I stood on the front row at every football game wearing purple togas. People knew who we were, and on the rare occasion we lost a game, we knew there was more to be directed at us by the opposing fans (see, the game we never speak of in 1998). The more passionate you are about anything, sports or otherwise, the more sweet the wins will be, and the harder the losses.
Sports has winners and losers. If it wasn’t so, there would be no sports. When you cheer for a team, you’ll find others cheering with you, and others cheering for the other team. And some may be cheering for the other team specifically because they don’t like your team. Deal with it. Am I a bad person because I take great joy in KU losing? No. It’s a freaking game. I’m sorry if you have the misfortune of being a KU fan. I get that you buy into the idea that if people don’t cheer for your silly little mythical bird, that they are somehow cheering against America. I get that somewhere deep down you’re deeply and personally offended by those of us who don’t buy into the theory that if they live in the same state for which your school is named after (and by your school I mean the one you probably didn’t actually go to, but for some reason live and die for anyway). I live on the Missouri side of Kansas City now anyway, so by that logic, shouldn’t I be a Mizzou fan and hate KU all the more?
I went to K-State. I’m proud to have gone to K-State. No matter how you try to spin it, in no way am I ever, under any circumstances, obligated to cheer for KU or any other team whose fans think that I should.
For some reason, in my experience, KU fans take it deeply personal. You know, it’s really not about you. When I say I hate KU, I didn’t say “I hate every bit of who you, personally, are as a human being.” But for some reason people take it that way. They claim that KU fans don’t cheer against K-State (while large amounts of vocal KU fans show otherwise), but even if they don’t, that in no way obligates me to cheer for KU, or to feel sad when they lose amidst the easiest path to the Final Four since 2008 to an 11 seed and Mr. Sad Jayhawk gets posted all over the internet. This week I had a choice. I could cheer for VCU or for KU. The choice was easy. If you don’t like my choice, that just isn’t really my problem. My 4 year old nephew once said to me, “Now Uncle Mike… different people like different teams… and I like the traitor people.” He was talking about Nebraska, but you get the point. I may not like that he’s cheering for the traitor people, and you might not like that I’m cheering against your team, but life goes on… and when it’s all said and done, none of our teams are in the Final Four.
I do think there’s a decorum and class to hating in sports. I don’t wish actual harm on anyone. I’m not secretly praying for KU’s plane to crash and I didn’t take joy in the sad stories about what Thomas Robinson went through this year. Would I like to see them crumble and suddenly lose every game for the rest of humanity? Of course. But there’s a difference between a game and destroying their humanity. How fans are treated matters to me as well. While I may have celebrated KU’s loss on Facebook, Twitter, and real life, I didn’t do so specifically to rub it into particular people. I somehow have a few friends left who are KU fans, and I didn’t call them or text them to rub it in. I didn’t direct anything specifically to them, or write on their Facebook walls to try and rub their faces in it. It hurts when a team you care about loses. I get that. It hurts me when K-State loses to a 4 seed, so I know it has to hurt when KU loses to an 11 seed (really?!?). In this instance I get to celebrate. You don’t. Plenty of other times it has gone the other way around.
Different people like different teams.
Deal with it.