Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's never fun when the shoe is on the other foot

Many times, the way a person reacts to a situation is dictated by what he has to gain.

After all, the first question many ask when change is occurring is: "What's in it for me?"

This isn't a very selfless approach to life, but if most folks are honest, they would have to admit that this is how many of us react. It is part of our human nature to worry first about ourselves and then others.

This type of behavior plays itself out every day. Among the most intriguing recent examples of this is the controversy surrounding the possible relocation of the Nashville Predators hockey club.

In recent weeks, Predators' fans have been in an uproar regarding the possible sale of the club to Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie. The sale is still in its early stages, but there is a widespread belief that if it goes through, Balsillie will want to move the team to Canada.

Since this all became public, it has been open season on Balsillie in Nashville and the mid-state. He hasn't exactly helped the situation by maintaining a lower profile than Jimmy Hoffa.

Local fans are justifiably concerned. Balsillie previously had an interest in buying the Pittsburgh Penguins with the thought of moving them. He is a zillionaire and will likely be able to buy his way out of any situation in order to move the team.

However, the reaction of local sports fans has been somewhat amusing in one respect. The same fans who are condemning Balsillie for trying to take away their team had no second thoughts whatsoever when local and state officials wooed Bud Adams and the Tennessee Titans away from Houston.

The irony here is pretty obvious. Local fans were happy as puppies when the cold-blooded business decision of an owner benefited them, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, these same fans are learning how deep the pain can run.

Though there are big differences in the Titans and Predators situations, they are similar in one important way: the biggest losers in both situations were/are the fans.

In the case of the Titans, they abandoned Houston fans who had supported the team for nearly four decades. As a boy, I can remember watching the "Luv Ya Blue" teams of coach Bum Phillips and players like Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini.

They were a talented and colorful team to watch.

Additionally, as a sports fan, I have had some bad experiences regarding greedy decisions by owners. The first pro football team I rooted for was the Baltimore Colts. I was a fan of the team in Johnny Unitas' final years and then later when Bert Jones was their quarterback.

However, in the early 1980s, the owner of that team poured decades of fan loyalty down the drain when he got a better offer from Indianapolis.

Since there was no way I could cheer for a team with ownership like that, I parted ways with them and then began supporting a team that had the same type of tradition as the old Colts: the Cleveland Browns.

Of course, that all unraveled in the 1990s when the owner of that team got a better deal and moved his team to Baltimore (of all places).

Having gotten twice burned, I did not support a team for a while. Then, the Titans came to Nashville and I gradually began to warm up to them.

Once again, irony abounds because I find myself cheering for a team owned by a man who basically did the same thing as the owners of the Colts and Browns. I had no problem condemning the owners of the Colts and Browns when they hurt me, but now I have accepted the Titans as my own.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Chris.

As for Predators fans, it is important to be realistic. If the sale takes place, the Predators are gone. If not sooner, then definitely later.

If they do leave, perhaps this is just a case of what goes around comes around.

We stole the Titans. Now, somebody is stealing the Predators from us.

I know this will hurt the Predators' fans, but look on the bright side.

Maybe we can steal an NBA team now.


Joltin' Django said...

"[Balsillie] hasn't exactly helped the situation by maintaining a lower profile than Jimmy Hoffa."

Brilliant observation!

As Goober Pyle once said to Howard Sprague, "Hey ... that's a good thing you said there!"

josh said...

"Maybe we can steal an NBA team now."

So... where is this mythical bright side of which you speak?

Chris said...

"So... where is this mythical bright side of which you speak?"

Ah, come on...don't you want the Nashville Grizzlies? Or the Nashville Hornets? Or the Nashville Supersonics?

Don't you like watching pro games in the 70s?

Anonymous said...

I would prefer having the NHL over the NBA. I've seen both in person and hockey is more entertaining.