The Five Stages of Being a SuperFan 

I have often been told that I am the most loyal Boston College “Superfan” known to ever walk this earth; what I think they meant was, “the only person who believes in Boston College athletics even in the bad times.” (Yes, I predicted BC football would beat No.9 USC this past season. I had this whole theory about how the weather would mess with their brains.) Either way, it came as a surprise to most when this week I predicted that we would lose in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to North Carolina — and I was right.

There comes a time in every most fan’s lives when reality hits them and they come to their senses. The voice of reason finds it’s way into their hearts and explains that, “True loyalty is remaining a fan even when you know they might–will– disappoint you–again.”

My freshman year, BC basketball consisted of a squad of nine freshman under the leadership of Junior guard, Matt Humphrey and a few others. Humphrey averaged 10.3 points per game, but what really stood out was that the rookie, Ryan Anderson, topped that with 11.2 ppg. Those numbers were not that great, but seeing that it was his freshman year there was only room for improvement, right?

The first stage.

Denial.

Ryan Anderson’s average increased to 14.9 ppg that next year. Olivier Hanlan, contributed his own 15.4 pg, and impressed the Atlantic Coast Conference, by earning the conference’s “Rookie of the Year” award that season. But don’t basketball teams usually have five players on the court? Of course not everyone can be –needs to be– in the spotlight, but there was not that much improvement in the second year. As a result the second stage was activated.

Anger.

Year three was rough. BC fell to No.14 in the ACC with their 4-14 season record. Hanlan’s scoring average improved to 18.5 ppg, while Anderson’s dropped to 14.3 ppg. But there was barely anyone else that could be relied on. It must also be noted that these numbers are in no way reflective of the way BC played.

Thus the bargaining stage. I must mention that we did beat No.1 Syracuse 62-59 in overtime, which proved we were getting better. So even though we lost 14 games, that specific win proved that we had value.

I cannot say that I suffered from severe depression, as most do in stage four, but I can say I became sad. Apparently a lot of other people were sad too — or maybe still in the “anger” stage — because that was the end of Donahue’s career as head coach. *I’m sure he was sad as well*

And so began the era of Jim Christian.

As you can probably tell by now, this story doesn’t get much better. The graduate students, Aaron Brown, and Dimitri Batten made a positive impact on BC’s game, but they along with Hanlan’s ever-improving 19.5 record, still were not enough.  The change of energy and style from the Eagles was evident, but it was only enough to land us at No.13 in a 15 team conference.

There are many factors to explain why four years could not create the team that a fan would hope for and sometimes that’s just how college sports work: Players transfer, others get injured, the recruits do not fulfill the program’s needs, coaching changes confuse the players, the team does not have the athleticism needed to compete, the lack of a viable bench limits the team during games, and the list goes on.

It took me four years, but the biggest lesson that can be learned from college sports is to accept the team you will root, flaws and all, and hope for the future. When you come to that final stage of acceptance, that is when you have become a true super-fan.

When this happens you will also have the clarity of mind to know that Virginia will, without a doubt, beat Duke in the ACC tournament. You will then proceed to secretly cheer for UVA– because it’s the right thing to do.

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