Get a grip, sports fans

Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sportsmanship has been on my mind lately.

Last week, I took on the poor sports at the high school faculty game (and, yes, by “took on” I mean that I wrote a barely scathing 400 word column in a local newspaper, but hey, at least it’s something).

This week, I’m taking on the NCAA.

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That’s right, sore losers whose teams did not make the Final Four, I’m talking to you.

As any bracket-minded person can tell you, Connecticut, Villanova, Michigan State and, my personal pick, North Carolina have all made it to the top four for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Getting ready for the big games this weekend, I like to read some commentaries and blogs on various sites to see how the “experts” think the teams will measure up. Then, as I sometimes do here on the Suffolk News-Herald Web site, I made the mistake of reading comment posts from other readers of the articles.

Now, I don’t have a problem with people rooting for the underdog; in fact, I’m an underdog fan myself (Tyler Hansbrough, if you’re reading this, clearly I don’t mean this year). And rooting for another team to lose to further your bracket is all the part of making a bracket in the first place.

But reading comments on sports blogs lately, I have once again been reminded of how ridiculous people can be about their sports.

Comment after comment was posted about how bad the teams are that are left in the tournament. And how they’re only there because their conference is so weak. And they only made it this far because the refs ruined the game. And they wouldn’t even be there if the commenter’s team hadn’t had so many injuries.

Blah blah blah.

I get it that people like their teams better and hate their rival teams more, but, at the end of the day, a team cannot be bad if it’s in the Final Four.

My alma mater, Old Dominion, has never been in a men’s Final Four. It’s a sad fact, but I don’t go talking smack about Villanova to make up for it.

I would love to meet whatever former second-string high school player is writing these comments. How about we have him put down the NBA Live 09 on his Playstation 2, get out with 10 of his friends and play against any one of these supposed “scrub” 64 teams?

Then, we can talk about how bad they are or how weak their conference is.

My point is whether or not you’re a fan of these teams, it does not take away the hard work and even the talent of the team to make it this far.

Talking trash about them? Well, it just makes you sound ignorant and bitter.

In a professional sports world that is full of steroids, federal indictments, egos and overpaid sports “dynasties,” the NCAA tournament’s victors should earn a little more respect than that.