Why are we so quick to be critical?
I know, it’s the world we live in we say and that is absolutely true. Question is, how did the current situation come to be where fans are on the bandwagon one minute before jumping off and pointing fingers the next?
Case in point number one: Mississippi State football.
The sound is still fresh in my head of Bulldog fans celebrating after their team took down defending national champion LSU behind a 623-yard, five touchdown performance from transfer quarterback K.J. Costello.
But Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom turned the tables on MSU, and dampened the Bulldogs spirits, by orchestrating a defense that intercepted Costello three times in a 21-14 Hogs upset win in Starkville.
State had joined the top-25 rankings at No. 16 after their season-opening win in Baton Rouge, but just as fast as they got there, they dropped right back out after falling to Arkansas.
Now, two more losses have the ‘Dogs sitting at 1-3 heading into a bye week.
Oh how soon Bulldog fans turned on their beloved team as evidenced by post after post of a very critical nature saying how bad their team is and was Mike Leach the right choice to lead the program?
One MSU fan even posted “If LSU had played zone against us, we would have lost by 20.”
See where I’m going with this?
Case and point number two: Same thing goes in Oxford, although the Rebels offense had given Rebel fans reason to believe a bright future was as close as an average defense.
One bad game by quarterback Matt Corral later (against, of all teams, Arkansas) and Ole Miss fans are suddenly all upset and throwing around negative remarks like they were darts.
“Corral sucks,” said one Rebel poster. “Why didn’t he (Kiffin) put in (reserve QB John Rhys) Plumlee? You’d think after three or four interceptions Kiffin would take Corral aside and say ‘this just isn’t your day’,” said another.
And the list of disparaging remarks goes on and on like a rap sheet.
It’s my belief, after years of covering sports teams at all levels, with the exception of the NFL, and trying to be as objective and non-biased as possible, that this is no new thing. Fans have been jumping on and off bandwagons for decades now. I can’t speak to the fans of teams as far back as the 1950s and earlier ... that was a different day and time.
What I have seen is the same impatience from fans over the past 20-30 years show up in even greater doses today. After all, we live in a “What have you done for me lately” world. Patience isn’t something we’re very good at as a society.
Ever get upset because we had to sit in a fast-food line longer than we thought should? Same difference. Same mentality.
I ask only that before we criticize we stop and think ‘What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if we were Matt Corral or Mike Leach or K.J. Costello? How would it affect us to read the same critical barbs they read after a bad game or two?
And remember, players and recruits from our favorite teams read these posts. Think about that and let it sink in before making another negative remark. Even if it’s warranted.
Speaking as a former athlete, believe me when I tell you these players feel bad enough without us adding to their misery when they have a poor performance. Not to mention the coaches will do all the criticizing and corrections that are needed to make them better players who hopefully won’t repeat their mistakes.
‘Til next time …
Kent Mohundro is sports editor of the Daily Corinthian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.