Outside of the Bears, my only other serious sports fandom belongs to the wayward New York Knicks. The Knicks only flash of national relevance in the last twenty years was quickly snuffed out by a ballhog unwilling to share the limelight. The team has drafted in the top ten for the last three years and only missed it in 2014 because they had traded their pick away for the chance to get Carmelo Anthony a few months before free agency. When the reports came out in the summer of 2017 that Phil Jackson was shopping Kristaps Porzingis because he didn’t show up for an exit interview (really), I hit the point where I seriously considered resigning my allegiance to the team. That was a bridge too far.
I mention all this because I know what the hopelessness of fandom can feel like.
That’s what confused me so much throughout this Bears season. Despite winning nearly every week it felt like all I was seeing (from both Bears fans and the national media) were questions about the quarterback. While life has interfered with my Bears fandom over the last few years, Nagy, Mack, Hicks, Cohen, and, of course, Trubisky, made it fun to watch the team again this season. I didn’t miss a game on TV, I taught my three year old “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” (it’s very cute), and I read all the Bears coverage I could find every Monday morning for the past 19 weeks.
Sports are entertainment and this team was nothing if not entertaining. So what’s the point in trying to pick apart a kid who holds the keys to a decade of possible relevance? I trust Jeff and the rest of the crew here are going to spend quite a bit of time breaking down the game, the season, and what’s in store for the next nine months, so I thought I’d spend a bit of time trying to get inside the head of the fans who love to hate Trubisky.
Here are my three best guesses for why people feel the need to pick apart a player who offers them their greatest hope for football salvation:
Protection From Disappointment
This is the most understandable reason, but then why be a fan? The difference between liking a sport and liking a team is whether you feel something when your guys win and lose. For the past 10 years in the NBA I’ve liked the sport more than the Knicks. It’s fun, I watch a bunch of games on League Pass, but there’s no real emotion there. I wanted LeBron to beat the Warriors, but I didn’t care when he didn’t. We are human and we crave feelings, both good and bad. It makes some sense to try and protect your emotions by playing down the hope, but if you really care about the team you’re going to lose that game with yourself.
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