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Saturday Live Thread: On partisanship and the things we love you for when you win

Mizzou Tigers pennant Your good traits create your bad traits

For all the reasons why people love Ehren Earleywine -- fiery competitor, straight-talker, etc. -- there is sometimes a downside to that. Sometimes he gets a little too fiery and talks a little too straight, and he ends up having to apologize. So yeah, Coach E has had to apologize publicly for this. Of course he has. He was accused of being a classless cheater, he said "oh I got this," and he clicked send on an e-mail -- complete with about 19 "AND ANOTHER THING(S)..." -- that he probably regretted pretty quickly.

And here's the most dead-on-accurate tweet from last night:

When you win a lot, fans turn anything you do into something endearing. Rip off a couple of .500 (or worse) seasons, however, and perceptions will change if or when you do exactly the same thing. That's the way this relationship works for every coach and every fan base in every sport in the world. Doesn't matter if you're made of barbed wire and have a permanent chip on your shoulder (Earleywine) or if you're prim and proper and never speak poorly of anybody (Kim Anderson, I guess?). Gary Pinkel is loyal and steadfast after every win and stubborn and bull-headed after every loss. Win, and you're awesome. Lose, and you're ... less than awesome.

Regardless, that was some pretty spectacular entertainment for a Friday evening. I simultaneously wanted to facepalm and build the man a statue. And needless to say, when we post the DONATE NOW link for the Stubble Drive next week, I'm not worried about donations shrinking in light of this incident...

Mizzou Tigers pennant And speaking of fandom...

I stumbled back across one of my favorite pieces of Internet writing ever yesterday evening. Before Brian Phillips was writing long, strange, often awesome essays at Grantland, he was heading up a wonderful soccer site called Run of Play. And one of his final RoP pieces was called Your Stupid Rage. I have to restrain myself to avoid simply blurbing the entire damn thing.

And here’s where I save your life. Because the truth about hyperpartisanship is that it is an absolutely miserable and unpleasant way to be a sports fan. No one talks about this, because (a) people who complain about rage in sports tend to want to mourn some lost standard of politeness, which has nothing to do with anything, and (b) because hyperpartisan fans are the most outwardly invested in their clubs, so there’s a presumption that they’re the most authentic or admirable supporters, even if they’re also, everyone knows, unbearably obnoxious. It’s the last bit, the presumption of authenticity, that’s the most concerning, because if you’re just getting into soccer, and you love your club, well, then you don’t want anyone to be more totally into your club than you are. So especially if you’re already surrounded by a lot of hyperpartisan fans in your daily life, your instinct may be to go in with blinders on and drink from the chalice of the faith.

The problem is that by doing so, you condemn yourself to a life of always being at least a little angry about a thing you supposedly love, a life of storing up slights and spinning them into bitter little stories, a life of basically hostile, suspicious, and un-fun commitment to a thing that only exists to give you joy. The sole and entire point of sports is to enjoy sports; even if you think athletic competition has a deeper purpose, that it helps with moral instruction or enforcing community ties or whatever else, it’s only able to serve that purpose because it’s fun in the first place.

If your love of soccer has brought you to a point where you’re no longer really able to see the game as something wonderful and amazing except in narrow moments of unequivocal triumph, then you are doing it wrong, no matter how many kills you rack up on the internet. On that note, it’s also not unimportant that the mind-warp of hyperpartisanship is eventually going to make you think and say things that are, let’s be frank, really f***ing stupid, and that there’s no need for you to be really f***ing stupid just to support your club.

If I went back and dug up posts I was making on Tigerboard in 1999, at age 21 (or, hell, maybe even on Rock M in 2007), I would probably be embarrassed by how fiery some of them are and how frequently I fell into the "fans of [whatever school] are so much dumber/worse than we are" and "pssh, they're probably cheating, that's the only way they could win" Internet traps. One day I realized that sports were making me angry like 98% of the time, and that this was a spectacularly unhealthy way of going through life. So I tried my damnedest to change.

Partisanship can be super fun. Talking a little bit of trash can be super fun, especially when your team wins. But when you forget that this is supposed to be fun, and that you're in it for entertainment and a good time ... and when you forget that fans of [whoever] are about 80% just like you, and that the other 20% has been sculpted differently simply because of geography and history, then it quickly becomes unhealthy.

The secret is to care, I mean really care, about something other than your club. That thing can be the game itself, or the truth, or just being a reasonable person. You can care about something other than your club and still be totallysupercommitted to your club. It doesn’t mean not supporting your team through thick and thin; it just means being able to tell the difference between thick and thin, and not thinking that your favorite forum, or your group of like-minded supporters, is so important that it throws reality on the wrong end of a greater-than sign.


Mizzou Tigers pennant Two more heading to T&F nationals Haarklau, Woodson Punch Their Tickets to Eugene

Senior Katrine Haarklau and junior Markesh Woodson highlighted day two of the NCAA West Preliminary Round on Friday (May 29), earning two more NCAA Championship qualifications for the Tigers. Sophomore LaQuisha Jackson will also be back in action, qualifying for the 200m dash quarterfinals on Saturday.  Ten Tigers will don the black and gold tomorrow for the final day of competition at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Tx. [...]

The final day of competition will kick off at noon on Saturday with the return of seniors Kearsten Peoples and Jill Rushin in the women's shot put. Both enter well-ranked in the region, with Rushin at fourth with her PR mark of 17.72m (58-1.75) and Peoples at eighth with her season's best 17.10m (56-1.25). Peoples has already secured her spot at the Championship meet, qualifying in the hammer throw on Thursday.

Other events to watch out for include the men's javelin, where senior Macauley Garton will return after his school record performance at the SEC Championships, earning his first All-SEC honor with a toss of 77.47m (254-2). Garton, who enters the meet ranked third in the event, will be joined by freshman Alex Pascal.

The men's triple jump is also set to be an exciting event for the black and gold, with a trio of Tigers chasing NCAA Championships qualification. Senior Jonathan Ilori leads the group, seeking his return to Eugene with his top mark of 16.07m (52-8.75). Joining him will be freshman John Warren and junior Tony Carodine, both of whom are entering the meet ranked within the top 20 of the field.