As a proud fan of the Miami Heat, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Miami Heat win two championships in a row. The hard work, sacrifice, dedication and teamwork that the Heat displayed made me feel very proud to be a fan. I recently rewatched the entire 2013 championship run and it gave me goosebumps. It is a truly remarkable accomplishment, one that was earned, not given.
I recall that not so long ago, another fanbase watched as their team won back-to-back. I'm certain they got quite the thrill out of it. After the party was over, some of those fans changed. They became almost unbearable, with their disrespectful and insulting talk of other fans and teams. Many poured onto every NBA related blog on the net, trolling and insulting everyone else. This fanbase I speak of, is that of the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, perhaps there are instances of other fanbases engaging in this type of behavior. Maybe those Lakers fans aren't alone in that regard. But they are the most recent, and that recency makes them much more firmly imprinted in my mind, however fair or unfair that may be.
I have read a few posts and comments here and elsewhere on the net which remind me of what I saw from those Lakers fans. Sadly, they were coming from a few Heat fans. I understand the nature of being a fan. I have felt the raw emotions of watching the Heat lose and felt the happiness of watching the Heat win. I have felt such frustration during games occasionally, that I had to turn off the TV and give myself a timeout. This is all part of being a fan. But is ugly arrogance also a part of it? Does it need to be?
We are an important part of sports, as fans. There is no doubt about that. Without us, the game is not the same. But the simple fact is, although we cheered our hearts out as the Heat faced each challenge during the Playoffs, it is their accomplishment. We don't get an official championship ring at the start of next season. The members of the Heat get those rings. Shouldn't we follow their example? They are respectful of their opponents. They do not engage in ugly displays of arrogance and hubris. At least, they haven't yet. And I would hope that continues to be the case. Just as much as I hope that all Heat fans are able to avoid displays of arrogance or disrespect. For those who are tempted to engage in that type of talk, I ask that you consider how it reflects on the entirety of Heat fans. Because it does. Lets have some class about ourselves and be respectful of opposing teams and their fans.