Abraham Lincoln -- the President, not the vampire hunter - - once said you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. The saying originally described 1860's politics, but it also sums up the relationship between sports teams and their fans in the new millennium.
Let's be honest, as sports fans we are at best a fickle bunch. At worst we experience emotional swings that would make Lindsay Lohan embarrassed. We can go from thinking a player is the best to thinking he's a choker and back again faster than a Bugatti roadster goes from zero to 60 and it's all amplified by the instant gratification that is social media and the internet. That's not to say it's a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it's great. It makes the games and major events like trades and free agency more enjoyable.
These emotional outbursts should be about as surprising as finding out Nicolas Cage's hair isn't real in most movies. It's the reason for being a sports fan. It's also built into its definition. Fan is short for fanatic, as in obsessively and emotionally concerned with something. It's that obsession that leads us to strange and irrational behavior from time to time.
It's why over the years in Arizona we've turned Max Hall and Craig Counsell into cult heroes, rooted for Stoney Case and Ryan Roberts to be starters over more experienced players and thought that Josh McCown, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Marcel Shipp and Eric Byrnes were going to be Valley stars. (OK, I didn't think that, but I knew people who did.)
Our passion and desire to see our hometown -- or adopted hometown in many cases -- teams win makes us blind to how ridiculous or outlandish our actions as fans really are. Take the Cardinals Fan Fest for example. On the surface it looked like a meaningless practice three months before the season. But when you add in an audience of 15,000 football starved fans, things get a little strange. That's why when Kevin Kolb threw an interception and had a pass knocked down during the workout, the angry birds showed up.
Was booing the potential starting quarterback of your team, who was coming off a season in which he was under prepared due to a lockout and cut short due to concussions, the right thing to do? Of course not. Was it a complete overreaction to what amounted to a bad decision or two in an early summer practice? Yes. But that's the business we're in as fans.
Remember, we're the same group that thought a young quarterback from USC was a better starting option than a handsomely-stubbled former Super Bowl MVP. That is until one atrocious preseason start against Oakland a few days later helped swing the pendulum, and the opinion of most fans, the other way.
It's our right as fans to boo and criticise when we want to. Without that, sports wouldn't have drama, athletes wouldn't sign multi-million dollar contracts and when we talked about people with great closing skills we'd be talking about guys selling insurance for a chance to win a Cadillac or a set of steak knives from someone who looked like Alec Baldwin.
As fans, we're emotional and passionate. That's why we're in the stands and not sitting behind the desk of a sports team's front office. It's why we boo, cheer and question every little move teams make. It's also why we have to be ready to admit we're wrong because even though our favorite teams and athletes can't please us all of the time, that doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing.
Hopefully Kevin Kolb will prove that this fall.