Originally Published: Aug 16, 2010 9:11 AM CDT
It’s okay to expect greatness. Tiger Woods makes five foot putts for all the butter because he “expects” to make them at least it was that way before the darned fire hydrant down there in Florida up and hit him which led to uncertainty in his life which beget uncertainty in his golf game which beget to “not expecting” to make every five footer).
Yes, it’s okay to expect greatness, because usually those who expect it have reason tothey’ve experienced it for a long time. The rub comes in when the word ‘expect’ is replaced by the word ‘demand.’
It’s ironic that schools like OU get a lot of great players and coaches because their fans expect greatnessbecause they’ve lived it. At the same time they must live with the wrath of those same fans who demand they play up to those expectations.
I’ve seenand heardfans who expected players to deliver them what they’d seen in the past. Unjustly, if for whatever reason they didn’t on that particular day, the kids drew the wrath of the (un)faithful. Doesn’t matter the reasons behind a player not playing up to those expectations. If he does, he gets cheered. If he doesn’t, he gets jeered.
There is absolutely nothing--aside from a coach losing confidence in a player--that is as despised by a talented player than a clueless ticket holder ranting loud and long about what a dog Johnnie is and making sure fans within earshot hear his reasons why.
I was driven into this business after sitting in the stands of an OU football game the year after my senior season. I was astonished at the venom spewed at coaches and players if a play did not reach their expectationsthere’s that word again. I was further astonished at the sheer lack of football knowledge from the spewers.
Remembering an unfortunate day when spewers in out in full throat the season before made me bite nails to keep from attacking the guy. The next game I watched from the press box and have never sat in the stands again. Not once.
The local tabloid took a poll of 101 OU fans. The results shout out why I decided it best for me to sit in an enclosed press box rather than with the herds (although, I’ll save for another day how the only thing worse than sitting next to the omnipotent fan is to sit near the omnipotent media member who sees it as his obligation to give running commentary after each play with less knowledge than the slimy spewer.
The expectations are startling. More people expect an undefeated season than a 1-loss, 2-loss, 3-loss or 4-loss season. And 43 percent expect the Sooners to play for the national championship.
OU lost lots of starters including four first-round NFL draft picks. Most of the returnees either were injured or under-performed a season ago. Their QB improved as the season progressed but no one is expecting this season for him to be a Josh Heupel, Jason White or Sam Bradford(oh yes they are). The Sooners are coming off a five-loss season. And they play an unnecessarily difficult schedule.
In the end the question is whether you prefer to have unrealistic expectations wrapped around your neck or have fans happy with going 8 and 4? Champions prefer the former. Also-rans prefer the comfort zone of the latter.