Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: When it comes to fans, it's easy to spot the realists and dreamers

Fans come in all types. Elsa/Getty Images

This time of year brings out the best and worst of sports fandom. Football season is upon us for the NFL and NCAA. The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has passed as the waiver wire trade deadline looms. NBA teams have executed their offseason plans and are looking forward to the upcoming season. The rollercoaster of emotions can be trying. Some fan bases are so Jekyll and Hyde this time of year, it can be a full time job to keep up with them.

What I’ve noticed most, is the variance of opinions within fan bases. They range from the Realists: the ones who seem to know exactly what their team is capable of and leans towards logic, to the Dreamers: the fans who think no matter what, their team can win it all, despite whatever odds they face. The vast majority fall somewhere in between: optimistic about their team’s chances, yet guarded as to what could actually happen. I tend to reside in the gray area.

The Realists are the fans that most other fans tend to dislike. They do their research or homework on things. These are the fans that are well-versed in the goings-on and minutia of what their team is doing. They speak in absolutes and facts. When asking a Realist what their team will do in the upcoming season, they’ll most likely respond with a well-thought out answer based on previous seasons as well as the team’s offseason improvements. These fans are ones that don’t give a damn what other fans think because they feel in their heart of hearts they’re telling the truth. They are the fans who will wear the gear, buy tickets, tailgate, but leave feeling OK because they know the potential outcome.

The Dreamers are the section of fans that other team’s fans tend to dislike because of their obnoxious optimism. They’re the sect of fans that perpetually believe their team is going to win it all. This type of fan is blinded by team colored glasses and can’t fathom anything other than tremendous success. A conversation with one of them typically will end in frustration because they aren’t capable of logical thought. Craig Shelton coined the phrase “suckas for love” when referencing this particular division of Texans/Rockets fans. They are blindly devoted to any direction their team takes and will fight you if you try to convince them otherwise. Dreamers don’t give a damn what other fans think because their minds can’t be changed. Think Thelma and Louise when they jumped the cliff.

The gray area of fandom falls somewhere in between these two opposite ends of the spectrum. They will believe in their team, but have a conservative approach. They will be supportive, but cautious of overdoing it. They’ll also ride the fence when asked to make a prediction. Not to say that they’ll follow the crowd, but they tend to fall right down the middle. If a Realist says their NFL team will go 8-8, the Dreamers will say 14-2; this set of fans will say 10-6 or 11-5.

It doesn’t take much to spot any of these fans. The worst of the worst are the NFL fans I’ve heard over the past week that think their team is a Super Bowl contender after one freaking preseason game! Or the ones who think random NBA veterans, obscure free agent acquisitions, and a rookie drafted in the second round will lead their team to the playoff success over the Warriors. Yes, I’m looking at you overly-optimistic Rockets fans. Wherever you fall on the fan spectrum this time of year, please remember to keep it respectful. Don’t let your opinions cloud your judgment and lead to you looking foolish.

 

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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