In a basketball season such as this, there are many ways that fans can take the season. Obviously, it’s a disappointment. It’s a disappointment to us as fans and likely even more so to the players and coaching staff. But, while the reactions game-in and game-out has been largely the same for the players - you know what I’m talking about, the lack of intensity on defense, the snowballing of errors and general frustration building into complete lack of caring - the reaction for fans can vary wildly.
Today, rather than rehash yet another disappointing week of Iowa basketball where we saw the Hawkeyes suffer two more losses on a collision course for the worst conference record in more than five decades, I’d like to dive into those fan reactions to help you all get to know yourselves better. After all, every 12-step program I’ve come across starts with acknowledging you have a problem.
So, here are the six types of Iowa fans watching Hawkeye hoops this season. Which are you?
1. The Ostrich
We all know this fan. If you don’t know them, it’s you. This is the person who doesn’t actually think there’s anything wrong with this basketball team. They’re still going on and on about the great depth and all the offensive weapons on the young roster. You can try leading this horse to water, but it isn’t drinking any of it - its head couldn’t get out of the sand even if you grabbed a shovel and started digging.
2. There’s Always a Silver Lining
A smidge better than the ostrich, silver linings fan at least knows things aren’t going according to plan. They’ll will openly admit there are some structural issues with the makeup of the roster and it probably isn’t going to get much better. But hey, look at who’s coming in next year!
This fan is both the best and worst person to watch a game with. At first, it can be refreshing to have someone talk you back from the ledge. They have a point, after all. But then it just gets annoying.
“Sure they gave up 96 to Michigan State, but they scored 93 and that’s a top 10 team!”
Seriously, just stop. Let me be Back in Black guy in peace.
3. Back in Black
No, I’m not talking about AC/DC or a big time Hawkeye football fan. This particular fan has a problem. A rage problem. And the Black is from Lewis Black, the actor/comedian who plays Rage in Disney’s Inside Out.
If you’ve never heard of or seen Lewis Black, I’m going to give you a minute to get acquainted. Quick warning, the video is 100% NSFW for children’s ears. Watch at your own risk.
He’s angry. A lot. Just like Back in Black fan (aka me, typically about 5 minutes into every. single. game.).
Another wide open three from the corner?
Another turnover leading to an uncontested dunk?
Another 18-0 run by the opponent?
There’s so much to set off Back in Black fan this season and I genuinely feel for anyone unfortunate enough to end up in the same room as him/her/me for more than a few minutes of any Iowa game this season.
4. Helping Hand
Not everyone has the temper of Back in Black fan. No, everyone has their own coping mechanism for when things really get ugly. Some look to the positive, some put their head in the sand, some let it all out. This particular fan chooses to keep it all in and turn to a helping hand. He leans on his friends for support.
His friends go by many names: Jack, Jim, The Captain, Bud, Miller, Busch, and so many more. And the Helping Hand friend prefers to drown his sorrows with his aforementioned pals than to take them out on his television set or act as if they don’t exist at all.
Can you blame him? 12-17
5. What Game?
Not to be confused with the Ostrich who may have missed the game, what with their head in the sand and all, or the Helping Hand fan who may have passed out and missed it, the What Game? fan is knowingly ignoring the basketball games. Not all games, of course, just the ones with Iowa playing in them - they are college hoops fans after all.
Perhaps this fan would be a Back in Black fan or Helping Hand fan if they actually watched, but they’ve seen enough of this season and have decided it’s best for all parties if they simply abstain. The family life has never been better and the housework has never been more manageable. Sure, there’s a bit of a hole in their heart where the Hawkeyes used to be, but football season is only 194 days away.
6. D. All of The Above
I can’t recall where I heard it, but you’ll have to trust that I did hear somewhere, some time ago that whenever you see the option “all of the above” in a multiple choice selection, you’re best off making that your pick. That is, of course, unless you can rule out one of the other options with 100% certainty.
D. All of the Above fan isn’t ruling out anything. There are games where they feel like the Ostrich, oblivious to how things are going. Others where they’re much more like the Silver Lining fan, still finding something to be positive about. Still others, this fan lets the game get the best of them and loses control like the Back in Black fan. And still others, this fan turns to his Helping Hand(s). And still others, All of the Above fan just can’t bear to watch.
But the thing about D. All of the Above fan is, they aren’t just any fan - that’s all of us as fans. We’ve all gone through this roller coaster ride of a season. We started out the season as the Ostrich, oblivious to the issues inherent with this team. Then, as things went south, we turned to the Silver Linings fan, grasping for straws and looking to the positive. At some point, the frustration overtook us and to varying degrees (and usages of profanity) we became the Back in Black fan. And most of us have dipped our toes in the Helping Hand fan at some point this year.
That brings us to today, less than a week from the conclusion of the regular season with only two games remaining and almost all of us have either had a moment where we’ve been the What Game? fan or we’ve turned into that fan full time. It’s a sad, miserable time to be an Iowa basketball fan. I’m sure it isn’t much better being a player or coach. Nobody expected to be here. Yet here we are.
And when the next week comes and goes, so too will the Big Ten Tournament and the entirety of the basketball season. We’ll all turn to Iowa football as our reprieve. Things are looking up on the gridiron. The team appears solid, the new north endzone project is underway and recruiting is on an upswing.
So what types of fans should we expect come September 1st?
My money’s on D. All of the Above.