Sunday Morning Videos: The End of a Wizards Fandom & Revisiting Fan Expectations | Truth About It.net

Sunday Morning Videos: The End of a Wizards Fandom & Revisiting Fan Expectations

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Updated: November 25, 2012



This Sunday morning brings a couple of videos from Wizards Nation. The first is from long-time fan (and TAI reader) Adam Gerloff. Adam is from the D.C. metro area (Northern Virginia, to be more exact) and has been a fan of the franchise since the late 1980s. He moved to New York in 1997, but still kept close tabs on his hometown team. Until now. The below video came via email this morning from Adam with the subject line: “I dumped the Wizards.” It will bring a smile to your face (not sure what kind of smile, as smiles come in different forms); it will make you sad; it will make you shake your head while sporting that obscurely emotional smile.

I’m not sure I completely believe Adam when he says it’s over—it’s certainly not a path I would take in year 22 of ardently following the Washington pro basketball team (since ’90). But, I wouldn’t dare question the decision that any Wizards fan (or ex-Wizards fan) might make at this point. There’s a lot of scar tissue surrounding this franchise, and telling fans to stay patient just doesn’t seem to work anymore. I’ll probably never stop being a Wizards follower—just can’t quit them. But when I might normally do so otherwise, in diff’rent times, who am I to judge anyone who wants to quit on them now?

This next video takes a rather different direction. With moving pictures from 2012 Wizards training camp at George Mason University—which began a mere 54 days ago—this video is all about fan expectations, which are always built upon hope, internally and or externally influenced. But when injuries become the narrative, as often seems the case with this team, hope becomes diminished by uncertainty. Fans are left baffled, wondering what goes through Ted Leonsis’ mind when considering the track record of Ernie Grunfeld in totality. Fans are left wondering why the team owner preaches patience, since there’s been so much change, in this the third year of the rebuilding project. The construction site is now mired with cost overruns and reconsidered blueprints; but it’s not without promise. If key players don’t succumb to uncertain ailments. If young players are allowed just a little more time to catch up, if they can somehow turn the oodles of on-the-job training into the next step, then their wild inconsistency wouldn’t keep them a grade behind.

The below video comes from local product Sholape Oriola, a Morgan State grad and previous contributor to TAI. This team still means something to a lot of people, myself included. Basketball is a game—a sport—and watching it as connected to the local community should bring joy to the people. One day, Wizards fans, one day.



6 Comments

  1. D Steele

    November 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I’m sorry, but having grown up as a Cubs and Saints fan, anyone who (boo hoo) is mad that their team isn’t winning and wants to “dump” the team wasn’t a fan to begin with. Everyone wins eventually, it’s that much sweeter for those who stick through the losing…

    • John Converse Townsend

      November 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      I would disagree, D Steele.

      Why must fanhood of a particular team, regardless of its history or championship count, be a lifelong obligation?

      • D Steele

        November 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

        Well, I mean, it’s sports, you can root for whoever you want. But what’s the fun in jumping to whoever is winning. If you’re a fan (short for fanatic) you root for your team, good or bad. Maybe that’s an overly traditional way of looking at things, but as a Saints fan I can tell you 2009 was SWEEEEEEET.

  2. D Steele

    November 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I will also add that there are exceptions to the rule – if I had been a Miami Marlins fan I would be looking for a new team, or at least ignoring that one until they got new ownership!

  3. John Converse Townsend

    November 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    A winning season (or two, or three, or 23) after a history of losing is going to feel great. Of course. But that wasn’t my point. Fanhood is flexible. Now, I can’t say for certain, but I’m guessing your allegiance to the Saints has changed over the years—and that’s expected. There are no rules in this game. Dismissing someone’s long-time relationship with a sports team—in Adam’s case, a 22-year affair—because they decided to take their time, dollars and interests elsewhere seems silly, doesn’t it?

    • D Steele

      November 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

      I guess I don’t really mean to dismiss his relationship with the team, if anything I’m just trying to point out the rewards of sticking it out. (Actually, to be technical, isn’t he the one dismissing a 22 year relationship?) To answer one point, no, my allegiance to the Saints has never wavered. Now, that’s not to say that I haven’t, at times, said, “I just can’t watch this week, I know they’re going to get beat down.” But I can’t imagine just saying, “Nope, not my team anymore.”

      Like I said, it’s totally different if the team has somehow violated whatever “pact” there is between team and fandom, but I don’t think the Wiz have ever done that. They might be guilty of sucking at basketball (or building a successful basketball team), but for the most part I don’t think you can say they haven’t tried to do the right thing.

      I’m a transplant to the DMV, but I’ve just really been drawn to this team (the Wizards) over the last 10 years and love rooting for them, even if the results have been (mostly) horrific. If they ever put together a magical season it’s going to be great and I’m going to feel great knowing that I stuck through it, thick and thin. I’m not saying anyone is a bad person if they feel differently, but to me the thick and thin is the very essence of being a fan.

      It’s an interesting conversation…

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