As Minnesota sports fans, we have become accustomed to failure, disappointment and false hope. Since the 1991 World Series win by Kirby Puckett, Jim Morris and the rest of our hometown Minnesota Twins, we’ve endured heartache and embarrassment from every major sports team besides the Minnesota Lynx's recent success.
With this history, Minnesota sports fans have become cynical and sarcastic in nature. It's no fault of our own, for we have been passed this torch from generations upon generations before us.
However, maybe our viewpoint is part of the problem. Maybe, just maybe, our veins run so deep in unresolved anger and disappointment that we don't see our part of the fault in this.
Yes, you heard that right. We are at fault to some degree for the lack of any real success from our sports teams.
There's always been the notion that a fan base can be a "12th man" in football, a rally starter in baseball, essentially an inspiring lift to a sports team. Sure enough, the majority of fans generally are in consensus that a crowd can have a positive impact on the outcome of a game, such as the support that a home team feels, known to most as a home-field advantage.
What boggles the mind is how the reciprocal effect is hardly ever acknowledged. That the crowd, or fan base, can have a negative impact on a team based on their attitude.
If we get some of the credit when things are going right, why don’t we get some blame when things are going wrong? Is our sarcastic and cynical nature rubbing off onto our sports organizations?
The players will never admit that it affects how they play the game. You’ll never hear Percy Harvin or Joe Mauer say that the fans affect the way they play in a negative way. They can’t. But, it happens.
It can't be easy to wake up every morning to a Jim Souhan or Patrick Reusse column talking about every negative aspect of being a Minnesota sports player, and being reminded constantly of your failure.
It can't be easy to wake up in the morning and get absolutely bashed via social media outlets like twitter, and facebook from your "fans." No question, booing your own team has to affect the players on the field mentally.
For a commoner, it’s like walking into an auditorium to make a speech, and as you are trying to make the speech, people are booing, making comments, among other things. Next thing you know, you lose your place in your speech, you fumble around for a bit and the boo birds snowball into one loud chant that you’re terrible and don’t belong.
Every single person is affected by self-confidence, even professional athletes (regardless of how cocky they seem most of the time). It’s easier to be cynical and pessimistic than to be optimistic and hopeful.
Yes, we’ve developed this attitude as a defense mechanism to avoid disappointed because of all the past failures.
However, as fans, let’s take the high road for once. Let’s get behind Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings for the upcoming season, starting with this week’s minicamp. Let’s take pride in Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins throughout the summer. Heck, let’s even show up to Minnesota Timberwolves games to cheer Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, and the guys.
Who knows, it might just be the spark this Minnesota sports scene needs.