My Worst (Fan) Behavior
“WORST MOTHERFUCKER NEVER LOVED US.”
This is the first line from Drake’s “Worst Behavior.” I have been listening to this song a lot lately because I am one of those motherfuckers who never loved Drake, got a late pass and decided to listen to this album a month ago. This song has stood out to me because it’s Drake’s musical double middle finger salute. It may be counteracted by “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but still, this song is the hardest I’ve heard by the rapper pejoratively referred to as Young Garnier Fructis by “Ghostface Killah.”
It’s a song that I didn’t see coming, but that’s because I never held any microscope to the former DeGrassi star. I just assumed Drake was going to keep doing Drake things, like sulking sensually. Nope, Drake has a breaking point when he can’t stop thinking about people like me who never thought he did anything other than the aforementioned. “Worst Behavior” is a Twitter rant, a response to being disrespected. It’s Roy Hibbert’s “y’all motherfuckers don’t watch us” set to a trap beat. It was the soundtrack to my attitude on Friday night, when my social media outlets filled with solid orange glee from Clemson fans.
Out of all the teams I’ve been assigned to root for since my birth in Akron, Ohio State has remained the only constant. The others – the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers – have all faded as I became more invested in the betterment of Charlotte, NC. But Ohio State is my link to my Midwestern roots, my extended family. It’s the bond we all share, though not all of us have attended and been able to experience a walk on the Oval, the Mirror Lake jump or a trip to the Varsity. Ohio State football is the only thing I’ve ever known, with memories of my dad drunkenly calling out the whole neighborhood after the 2001 national championship and the absolute heartbreak of two back-to-back losses in the national title game to the SEC.
I’ve been the fan who has designated himself as a member of the team with the use of “we,” though I’ve done nothing athletic to affect the outcome of a game. I’ve been the fan who has thrown fits in various living rooms that have been complete with hat throwing and a barrage of expletives that have only been rivaled by Ralphie’s dad in A Christmas Story. I’ve gotten in people’s faces, I’ve antagonized opposing fan bases, and I’ve just been an overall asshole. I have been the primal side of man that nobody ever wants to deal with on game day.
As I have grown up and witnessed some of the most diabolic fan behavior, language via the unflinching eye of social media, I have grown to become a bit more rational, more level-headed. It also does not hurt to adopt a defeatist attitude that the vocal minority of your fan base has pushed you toward. “But, you’re the same guy who wrote a whole venomous post on college rivalries,” you are telling yourself. Yeah, and you clearly missed the point.
Fandom is fun and helps you partake in the communal aspect of sports. But sometimes, it can be a mirror of people’s worst selves. My previous post on fandom was an exercise in cheekiness. I don’t believe that you being a fan of University X makes you any less smarter than being a fan of University Y. Or that if you’re a fan of another school you must have some sort of sexual transmitted disease. Yet, if you told me that last night when Clemson picked off an ailing Braxton Miller to end the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl last night, I would’ve told you to step the fuck off before screaming “WORST.”
The first indication that I would reach my breaking point in this shroud as the “rational fan” was when Tajh Boyd flew past defenders and into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. This elicited quite a response from me, which could best be summarized in the following tweet:
Ohio State responded on its possession with a run from Braxton Miller into the end zone. I was elated only to be let down again by the fact that the Buckeye secondary could not catch both Sammy Watkins or a cold. After the consumption of a few alcoholic beverages, I started resorting to telling myself, as always, that we were going to lose. It was inevitable. Ever since I’ve watched the Buckeyes in 2010, there was always something that kept us away from greatness or finishing out strong.
Hey! Remember the 2011 Sugar Bowl? Nope because it never happened according to the NCAA.
Wanna raise spirits by playing a less-than-stellar Florida team and finally put that SEC curse to bed? Nope, let’s just screw up everything on special teams instead.
Postseason 2012 should be fun, right? Nope, you don’t get a postseason according to the NCAA, you undefeated mess, you.
I have been molded for this attitude. Even with this background and the fact that we could not do anything about Sammy Watkins or Martavis Bryant or even fucking Stanton Seckinger, I still held out hope. Hope, in sports, is the cruelest friend you will ever meet in your life because only hope gives the ball to a clearly injured Braxton Miller to finish a drive rather than known competent closer Kenny Guiton. Hope turns into being let down because a clearly injured Miller was still on the field who threw the interception to put it away for Clemson. Being let down turns into more alcohol. More alcohol turns into letting go of your inhibitions.
My inhibition would be to not say anything except “good job” after a loss like this. Instead, I received a text from a friend of mine of the Clemson fan persuasion that said, “suck my left nut. Go Tigers!” On any other night, this would’ve lead to “whatever,” but Drunk Jimmy thought he was Drizzy Drake and well…”WORST.”
The response was a barrage of text messages which made the accusation that Clemson was an institution that supports the gross misappropriation of black culture by Miley Cyrus as well as Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. I also added something in there about Ohio State having the nuclear capacity to take out Clemson and that the closest Clemson got to achieving this was “having a guy who is nicknamed after nukes.” All of this behavior did not stop there.
I went back on to my favorite social media to voice my opinion and let the world know that I can still be a frothing idiot when it comes to sports:
Yeah. Wow. That guy, huh? Did I say I was going to scorch the area of Clemson University known as “Bowman Beach”? Yikes. Also, what’s this part in there about Tecumseh Sherman coming back to life and leading a march to Savannah that involves a vacant campus?
This, like Drake’s “Worst Behavior,” is an example of my breaking point. This is where I went from the subdued surrender cobra fan to bat shit crazy Harvey Updyke. These are sour grapes that have been left in the trash heap behind an Applebee’s. It’s all bad, and it’s all me being a sore loser for the first time since I had a complete mental breakdown during the 2010 Fiesta Bowl against Texas (don’t ask).
The point of divergence for why me and Drake are on our worst behaviors is a matter the side of the win-loss column on which you fall. Aubrey Graham is, by some measure, a winner. He’s pursued his dream with great success, he’s financially secure and he can wear the finest silks. He’s at his “worst” because he’s been afforded the luxury by being the temporary center of pop music. I am on my worst because I can’t handle watching Ohio State lose to a team that is coached by an excited five-year old. I am trying hard to fix this and move my passion for the game in a direction that isn’t as vitriolic as wanting to burn open fields with a flame thrower. I want to be able to be say “congratulations” and leave it at that. Yet with fans asking me to put my mouth on their genitalia after a loss, it’s going to be really, really, really hard.