Word is out for NBA fans! Kevin Durant is taking his talents to Oakland California to play with the Golden State Warriors, and no one is safe! Alright that’s a little dramatic but the NBA universe is shocked by this move. Kevin Durant has been a faithful NBA player to the Oklahoma City Thunder since they transferred from being the Seattle Super-Sonics in 2008. He has given them 8 great years, and has won an MVP leading them alongside his partner Russel Westbrook. And now Kevin Durant is leaving and guess what… he doesn’t owe them anything!
I am a huge NBA fan, so naturally I get annoyed with other huge NBA fans. But there are two kinds of fans: Realist fans and impractical fans. Realist fans do indeed have they’re favorite teams, players, and even sometimes biased presumptions. However realist fans call it like it is. They are OK saying their team lost, it wasn’t the refs fault and “My team isn’t the best.” I personally like the realist fan. Impractical fans are devoted to their team, who they will always say is the best (even when they are obviously not), devoted to one player (he is better than Michael Jordan) and will cry and complain never agreeing that they’re team lost (excuse making). Now, here is another tick about the impractical fan: They will turn on a player (even burn their jerseys) the moment they believe their team is offended or if they are personally hurt because of that players “betrayal.”
Ultimately within any sport these fans exist. There is nothing wrong with loving a team or even carrying pride for them. However it gets a little ridiculous when emotional turmoil boils within us as fans when something so little (in comparison to a lot of things) happens on the field, off the court, or behind the dug out, whether this be a trade, free agency, corruption, or money talks. I bring up Kevin Durant because he is the most recent shock factor. I like Kevin Durant and I honestly respect his decision to move to a new team, though I wish he would have stayed with OKC. For fans who have either lost their minds or burned jerseys or who’s personal world has collapsed because of it, needs to look inward at their human heart, and perhaps which fan they need to be, a realist or an impractical one. Kevin Durant is a grown man, a professional athlete, and can make his own decisions that shouldn’t affect any fan’s well-being. His decision should not wear me down as a fan nor should it cause me to “hate” the player.
Especially as Christians, I believe we need to set the tone for how we help people view athletes. We were all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) yet sometimes when it comes to athletes we act like they are talented caged people meant for our enjoyment and “they better not disappoint!” I want to challenge a heart issue, as well as a fan issue we can sometimes face when we allow our emotions to get so wrapped up in one player or one team.
Reasons we need to get over our impracticality
- Athletes are people not puppets : We wish we could willed their power like puppets. But we can’t so when we “try” we get disappointed really easy. Athletes have hearts and souls and we should honestly pray for their well-being more than we pray for them to carry our team to be the next big thing.
- Athletes make money, like you: Athletes get pay checks! They even get raises! Even if that raise means they go to another team for more money, they make money just like you and deserve raises when their bosses give them one! These athletes make a millions more than most of us will ever see in our life time, but that does not mean we should get mad at them because they are “in it for the money.” Imagine being a young professional athlete and getting a check slipped to you on a desk, and you open that check and discover guaranteed millions of dollars. Stop judging and empathize with athletes for a moment.
- Athletes have to make decisions they think is best for them and their families, not their fans: Sometimes when an athlete does an interview or they tweet or blog out their intentions behind leaving a team, we become skeptical almost instantly. “They aren’t doing it for their family, they just want money.” Yea you’re right! They want money to support their families. They may need the money to get out of debt (and yes professional athletes do go into debt). Athletes do have their families to think about, and other reasons that are quite frankly none of our business as fans.
- Athletes are not that concerned with what you think and what you say to your TV screen: How many times have you often yelled at the TV screen “Durant! That was stupid! Don’t pass it! Shoot it!” How does that work for you? He has thousands of fans screaming live every night on the stage with bright lights in his eyes as he takes the floor, and you really think he’s thinking about screaming fans at home? Would you actually say that to him or any professional athlete you like in person? I highly doubt it. This does not mean that superstars don’t love their fans, it just means you can’t and don’t dictate their decisions. So stop “trying!” That’s what fantasy football is for!
Perhaps our anger at our favorite player or sports team for any decision or decisions they make is a reflection of how twisted we are sometimes in our thinking. I challenge you to be a realist, not an impractical fan. Go ahead and take off the pressure of calling a team “yours” and saying “us” when they win, because if you don’t get paid to play with them, you can’t say “us” because you don’t play! Take the pressure off yourself by not letting your blood boil because of the “betrayal” you’re experiencing. Don’t allow your mind to live vicariously through a professional athlete because you never made it. Once again, Kevin Durant (or fill in the blank with one of your favorite players) is a big boy, with a great future and he has to make a choice that’s best for him. This should not cause me anxiety!
Life can be easier when we don’t stress about small matters and though sports are a big deal in our country, compared to eternity and a lot of things we experience in this life, being a fan of sports is a small matter. Be a a realist!