Trials and Tribulations: Lessons in fandom from Joe Hallenbeck

Here at ®Evil we like our football.
v00d3w and I are on opposite sides of the fence, he a Georgia fan, I a Tennessee.

But blood is thicker than sod so to speak, and we forgive each other our transgressions. We have known each other too long to let a football game interfere between us. (Damn near twenty years now for the record.)

Neither of our teams are doing especially well.
So How does Joe Hallenbeck tie in to this?

Never saw the movie did ya?

More after the Jump

Probably on my top five list of favorite movies.

Georgia’s new, and now former, Athletic Director solidified the University of Georgia’s position as a party school.

Tennessee’s program was raped after Lane “What a Weasel!” Kiffin.

Now after a brief and problem free honeymoon with Derek Dooley, it is sadly over.

It’s times like these that can push a fan to their limits. We gnash our teeth, pull our hair and kick the walls.

We vent to ourselves on the way to work and demand to know why from the empty passenger seat beside us.

It’s not supposed to work this way, right?

But, it is also times like these that make us better fans. You see who the fair weather fans are. These are the moments you will talk to your kids about when they ask about days gone by with the team.

These are the moments that in 5 years will earn you a beer in the local sports bar for your knowledge, and for your dedication.

Players are people. They are individuals. They are no more indestructible on Saturday than they are on Friday. What they do is magnificent, amazing displays of human prowess and ability. But they are still human. And as humans, as not quite super stars, as young gentlemen and ladies they will make mistakes. Their mistakes will receive more publicity than their successes often, because of their status as quite literally want to be superstars and hometown hero’s.

Which means as individuals they make these mistakes, and those mistakes will reflect on the team as a whole. It is the actions of the coach and the University that will decide ultimately how we will view them. Will they punished? Will they be spoiled and got off lightly?

Either way we must support the team in itself. For the team in its entirety did not take part in this action. For everyone arrested, accused, or whom ends up on the front page pf the paper there are three whom we will never hear about whom were not and whom did the right thing.

We can’t let those few, those pitiful few whom make poor choices ruin it for the rest. They screwed up. Nothing to see here. Move along. Piss poor choices made by a young male absorbed by their own success.

Jimmy: “You’re a real bastard, ya know that, Joe?”

And then some.

However lets look at the bare bones here.
Yes they are talented, yes we hope for them, root for them, want them to succeed.

But the choices they make are their own. Mistakes they will make. Some will brush it off to rise again and err no more. Even on a professional level. Ray Lewis for example. It is their choice to decide if those decisions will define them for their rest of their lives, or if they will define it for themselves.

While we may not support the player for their choices, we can still support the rest of the team, for theirs.

In the end, that is what part of being a fan is about.

In the movie Joe Hallenbeck stopped watching football because of the poor decision making of Jimmy Dix.  Jimmy Dix was his hero, but he scourged himself with drugs and gambling. he chose to walk away from the rest of the team because of one individuals failures.

Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Marcone: Football is a dyin’ beast, Joe. No heroes left. Not anymore. Since ol’ Sonny Werblin paid four hundred thousand dollars to Joe Namath in ’66, the son of a bitches have just gotten greedier. God Almighty, when’s it enough? Jesus, free agents. “Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme.” …….The American public is piss-pot tired of it, and they’re changing the channel.

Maybe. Maybe not. Football is a way of life in the south east and an absolute religion in the deep South such as Tennessee and Georgia. Pro’s? I’m not really a pro football fan. I enjoy the Packers. I enjoy the Ravens.  I even like the Bills. But I wear none of their jerseys.

VolBrian wrote an excellent piece last year about letting go and enjoying.

“…I need to stop fretting and agonizing over every single piece of news about Tennessee as if it affected my life in any way. Lane Kiffin leaving hurts my team, but it doesn’t hurt my marriage, my business, or any other aspect of my life really. I need to go back to the way things were before 24 hour internet reporting and every high school player with talent got their own personal entourage of sportswriters. In a world where the whims of 16-17 year-old high-schoolers create huge chunks of revenue for “media” sources such as Rivals and Scout, I want to go back to the way things were when the newspaper was your source for Vol news and you didn’t really know who the freshmen were until the preseason reports hit your local sports section.

My epiphany was this: None of this garbage really matters. Lane Kiffin can leave. Players can decommit or transfer. Rival fans can talk smack on chat boards. ESPN can report every single secondary violation they want, but I’m now a changed man thanks to Lane Kiffin. I am hereby making it my New Year’s resolution to take myself back to the way things were. I’m not so naive to think I won’t be checking RTT, GVX, and ESPN for pertinent news stories about my beloved Volunteers, but when it all comes down to it, I’ll be sitting in my recliner cheering on those that want to and are lucky enough to wear the Orange and White and run through that T on autumn Saturdays. These are the ones that created my fandom to begin with and the ones that are deserving of something I take so personal. The players like Peyton Manning, Eric Berry, Wes Brown, and Josh McNeil. The ones that bleed Orange like me and we call our Vols. Not the coaches, directors, boosters, writers, rivals, or recruits. Win or lose Tennessee, I’ll be watching and hanging on every play, but then it’s back to the real world where my fandom is something I keep to myself where I enjoy it the most.

Underline emphasis mine.

He’s right. Root for the White and Orange. Or the Red and Black. Scream Woo Pig Souie or Roll Tide at the top of your lungs.

Water is wet. The Sky is Blue. Women have secrets. College Football Players make mistakes.

Lets hope the lessons they learn, are ones they take with them as they move on in life.

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