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Why do you feel so strongly PERSONALLY about these STRANGERS?

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Ninety5rpm said:
I'm not a big sporting fan in general, but my impression is that fans of other sports are not so obsessed about the personalities, characters and moralities of the greats in those other sports. I mean, sure, you have strong personalities in all sports, but not these obsessions, and not such strong personal feelings about them.

Oh you're very very wrong about that. I've followed the NFL since age 7 and I can tell you that the fans in that sport are far, far, far more rabid and obsessed than any cycling fan I've ever met.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
Actually, Zook was bad, but Spurrier is the anti-Christ.

I agree, "darth visor" was a major d-bag; good offensive coach though. Remember how good his offense was for years at Florida, particularly the Fred Taylor at RB and Danny Wuerfel at QB years - downright scary.
 
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BikeCentric said:
I agree, "darth visor" was a major d-bag; good offensive coach though. Remember how good his offense was for years at Florida, particularly the Fred Taylor at RB and Danny Wuerfel at QB years - downright scary.

He made Duke a good team. Only the anti-Christ could perform such a miracle. Of course, he cannot do the same for SC, but then that would take an even higher authority.......
 
BikeCentric said:
Oh you're very very wrong about that. I've followed the NFL since age 7 and I can tell you that the fans in that sport are far, far, far more rabid and obsessed than any cycling fan I've ever met.
Rabid and obsessed, sure, but are any NFL stars held in particularly high or low esteem not as athletes, but as people? Any football player regularly referred to as a wonderful person while others see him as an a-hole? Who?
 

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Ninety5rpm said:
Rabid and obsessed, sure, but are any NFL stars held in particularly high or low esteem not as athletes, but as people? Any football player regularly referred to as a wonderful person while others see him as an a-hole? Who?

Most of my friends follow soccer and rugby - and they take it very seriously!

Cycling is slightly different because the teams are trade teams and there is a lot of movement of riders people tend to follow and associate with particular riders, usually of their own nationality.

To answer your question though - a good friend of mine followed a particular team and always stood up for a particular player when others slated him.

However this player (Sherringham) changed teams and of course this changed my friends opinion of him.
I remember in one drink fueled outburst he said "Teddy Sherringham should be shoved up a dogs ar$e and shot"!
 
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lostintime said:
This is absolutely true. College football comes to mind. I seem to remember a coach in Florida who some fans hated so much they started a website called FireRonZook.com That's puttin' your money where your mouth is! I see there is still a blog by that name, and the coach has been gone from Florida for years! Have you ever wondered why at every college football game in the South, a State Trooper is next to the coach at All times? I'm surprised no one has ever tried to hurt a coach, but the troopers are a deterrent.

I live in the Pittsburgh media market. Fans here talk about Steelers, Penguins and Pirate players like they are a part of the team, doing drills..... in the locker room. They say we when referring to the players. Talk about mis-identification.

Then again, where else but cycling to get a fan to punch Eddie Merckx in the kidney in the middle of the TDF. Nuts!

Zook was pretty bad. I think college football is a little different. I graduated from UF and gave them plenty of my money. That gives me a little bit more stake in the game than say my favorite pro team which I have no ties too.
 
You know why this bothers me so much? Because when we judge people - not their actions but them as a whole ("what an a-hole!") - on such superficial grounds (if you're judging someone, not just their actions, that you haven't met - it's on superficial grounds) - we are diminishing the humanity and complexity that is inherent in all of us.

To insult Lance, Vino, Cadel, any celebrity, another forum member, or anyone you only know as a public persona, or hardly know, is to insult all human beings, including yourself.

Whoever it is, you have not been in their shoes. Surely you value your own humanity enough to to respect and not dislike a public person who is essentially a total stranger to you? Rise above the self-hate. Spread the love, even to those who rub you the wrong way. Make the world a better place.

Life is too short for anger and hatred.
 
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Ninety5rpm said:
Rabid and obsessed, sure, but are any NFL stars held in particularly high or low esteem not as athletes, but as people? Any football player regularly referred to as a wonderful person while others see him as an a-hole? Who?

T.O. Manning. Favre. Belichick. The list goes on an on.

I live in the Philly market. It's a soap opera here every day. Sometimes more interesting than the games themselves.

Other sports where fans demonize/canonize competitors?

The NHL. Again, people love/hate prominent players like Gretzky. And then there are the less prominent players who have a reputation. Even though it has been over 10 years since Darius Kasperaitus gave Eric Lindros a concussion with a bone crushing check, I think the man still needs police protection when he comes to Philly.

NASCAR and F1 for sure. When Schumacher was driving he attracted as much passionate love and hate as Armstrong ever has. Probably more. Go read an F1 board. They still argue about him. It's crazy there; and most of those fans wouldn't know a clutch pedal from an apex and have never set foot inside a race car. Dale Earnhardt anyone? Jeff Gordon? Enough said.

It is a testament to cycling's appeal, in the absence of the level of marketing of personalities that we see in other sports, that fans are so passionate about the riders. If the day comes when fans become indifferent about the riders, pro cycling will be in real trouble.
 
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BikeCentric said:
Also if you saw "Hell on Wheels" they interviewed this French historian guy that had catalogued the history of the Tour. He had this cool quote that has something to do with your question:

"The Tour has always been a story of men: great men, and lessor ones."

Yeah but he was completely crackers. "The Olympics, it doesn't exist, the World Cup, it doesn't exist. You people with the cameras, you don't exist... "
 
John Stevenson said:
Yeah but he was completely crackers. "The Olympics, it doesn't exist, the World Cup, it doesn't exist. You people with the cameras, you don't exist... "

Yes well he was obviously a rabid French Nationalist and clearly thought the Tour was the best thing ever. Now I agree with you that he's a bit nuts (in an endearable way IMHO) but that doesn't mean that the prior quote is not pretty cool.
 
Ninety5rpm said:
Rabid and obsessed, sure, but are any NFL stars held in particularly high or low esteem not as athletes, but as people? Any football player regularly referred to as a wonderful person while others see him as an a-hole? Who?

Seriously dude? Every Quarterback on every NFL team to start with is scrutinized like no cyclist ever has been. I lived in Denver for years and there they STILL literally worship John Elway like the second coming of Christ. They treat the man like a living God and everything he says and does is STILL reported in the paper almost 10 years after his retirement.

Go to the football discussion board at the Denver Post right now and look how they are talking about their new Quarterback. They lost a really good QB last year (Jay Cutler) and ended up with a not so good QB named Kyle Orton and right now all the fans are screaming at each other about running the guy out of town right now because he's a bum and the "just give him a chance" crowd. I guarantee you the poor ******* won't last a season in Denver. They literally either annoint their QB's as living Gods or they crucify them publicly. It's really pretty sad the way the fans and media treat those players. This forum is like touch football with a mini nerf ball by comparison, I kid you not - go look if you don't believe me.
 
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How can you assign any kind of significance to feelings you have for a person you have never met, much less walked a mile in their moccasins?

I think any of us who have ridden a bike and given every ounce of energy we have to give can relate to these pro riders. We admire them because we know what almost killed us is a walk in the park for them.
 
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Extremism of media

Have you noticed that when you sit in a bar arguing this stuff you say extreme things and everybody laughs. Sometimes at what you said, sometimes at you, but in general it's good humored. Even when the crowd is composed of fans of both teams it normally stays sane.
Then you get to a radio call in show and all of a sudden the good humor seems to fall away and it becomes more aggressive. Now that I don't look my opponent in the face the the signals we all use (body language, facial expressions, etc.) are either hidden or not used. We just have tone of voice, which works fairly well, but not the same as face to face.
Here on the web we have nothing but weak smileys to provide that depth of communication and social balancing. We don't have to look the 15 year old cancer survivor Lance fanboy in the face when we crush his hero (whether with merit or not.) We don't see the anger rising in the Seminoles fan's face and dial back a bit. We don't have the wry grin that tells the guy in the Phillies cap that we're just trying to get under his skin.
Especially for you guys new to forums, if you want civility, stay away. This medium is never civil. You can find this stuff on anything from sports to politics to Mac vs PC to the latest movie buzz.
 
Simple, they are public personas. And everything that's thrown into the public arena is up for ruthless scrutiny. They, in this sense, are like politicians. Athletes and politicians are the two figures we most love to scrutinize, to tear down or build uo as we see fit, and it has been that way since the ancient Roman Empire. Because they both hold power over peoples' lives. Athletes because they entertain us and politicians because they govern us.

And it is completely normal that it should be so.
 
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First off, I'd like to say that I participate in message boards for another sport and from what I see there's not much difference in what I read there from what I read on these cycling forums. People are people everywhere and the media platform is the same. The output should be fairly predictable.

For example, RigelKent is a putz.

;)

Beyond all the above I'll take a stab at a couple of points that seem to have come up in this conversation:

1. Why do we care about these cyclists who we don't know or will never meet?

2. Why do we talk the way we do about them?


1. Look, this is sport. Fans decide to give their emotion to a particular sport or team because they want to be involved. The involvement can be in many ways but normally from the perspective that it allows us to compete, figuratively, in some way. IMO people who don't like to compete are generally not very emotionally involved fans. Those of us with competitive natures like an output. Some of us can barely throw a frisbee but we love the feeling of winning. Others of us can compete in 1 or more sports at a pretty high level, but still find it interesting to follow certain sports as a fan.

We have emotional energy or passion available to give, we have a desire, we pick something interesting and we get into it.

We attach ourselves to various teams or participants for whatever many reasons are attractive to us. They are participants in the sport for the most part, not humans. That sounds cold but really, isn't that true? They are meaningless to us except for the value they bring to our fan experience. We don't know them, we are not exposed to them, we likely have more than 3 degrees seperating us from most of them. Their value to us is not based on humanity, it's based on what we get from from.

That said, for some of us, maybe a lot of us, we prefer to hitch our wagons to individuals that we feel we can respect. Maybe it's people we can identify with, maybe it's people we want to be able to look up to. Maybe we even want a hero. So we find out about our favorites and are gratified that they are what we want them to be. Or we think they are. Or we are disappointed to find out they don't measure up. In that case maybe we move along to another target. Either way, we end up with people we feel comfortable identifying with (cheering for).

I think that is why we care about these people we don't know. I think that is where the emotional attachment comes from.

2. Why do we talk the way we do about them? Because we can. We're completely anonymous here. I wonder if we all used our first and last names rather than a generic ID, maybe add the city where we live, if we would still comment the way we do?

The fact that we can say what we want but hide in safety allows us to forget the effort necessary for polite or tactful conversation. We can let our base emotions free. For what harm is there to us?

To some extent I understand this. I can allow myself to do this as well and I have. But for the most part, I try to live with the guideline that you don't write something that you wouldn't want your subject or their family to read. Because based on my experience with message boards in other sports, that can and does happen. And I for one, even with my moniker, would still like to think that if one of them read what I wrote they may not like it but would consider it fair.

There's room for criticism and for differences of opinion, but it's a lot more fun and productive if people can be civil, are willing to state their points of view, provide facts to back up claims and exhibit an interest in honest dialogue.

But that's just me.
 
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Oh, well let me tell you, being born and raised and still living in Texas.....people takes sports very perosnally, especially football, and I have seen grown adults make high school kids, KIDS!, into demi-gawds and/or satan. People around here either love or hate certain players, and that love/hates begins when these kids are 16/18/22 years old. People move entire families to different cities so their star kid will get more "love" (playing time) in a different school district.

And, being from Texas and living in Austin, I can tell you that I do have a personal opinion and preference towards certain athletes. Some I have met, some I have not met, some of which would know me if I called them on the phone, most would not. So no, I don't "know them" very well, that much is true. I only know what I have seen in person or heard from others or see in interviews, etc. Mostly you hear a mix - nice guy/a$$. The elite athletes that I DO know and have met are a combination of both, as many of us are. Without exception, when it comes to whatever their sport is, they are an expert in their own minds and passionate.

I think it is hard not to have personal ......I am not sure they are feelings, although it is close - for athletes that participate in sports that you care about, especially if you have a tie to them in some way (met, watched as they matured into the sport, ridden on the road with, live in the same city, seen at events, etc).

Yes - I like LA. He seems like a cool dude. He was cool to my friends when they were all riding the same stretch of road. The people I know that work for his organization like him. The professional football players that I DO know and who know him, like him. I like what he has done for Austin. I really really like what he is helping do for cancer.

barry switzer - hate the man with a passion, wont watch a show he is on, never met him, dont want to meet him, dont know anyone who does know him, still hate the man :p
 
rhubroma said:
Simple, they are public personas. And everything that's thrown into the public arena is up for ruthless scrutiny. They, in this sense, are like politicians. Athletes and politicians are the two figures we most love to scrutinize, to tear down or build uo as we see fit, and it has been that way since the ancient Roman Empire. Because they both hold power over peoples' lives. Athletes because they entertain us and politicians because they govern us.

And it is completely normal that it should be so.

I think it's normal to judge an athlete's or politician's decisions as manifested by their actions, but I don't think it's normal to judge a person who is a complete stranger to you.

There is a big difference between judging someone, and judging something that they do.

What I see here is a lot of judging of the person, rather than what he does. Sometimes it is about what he does, but it often goes beyond that to judging the person himself.
 

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Ninety5rpm said:
I think it's normal to judge an athlete's or politician's decisions as manifested by their actions, but I don't think it's normal to judge a person who is a complete stranger to you.

There is a big difference between judging someone, and judging something that they do.

What I see here is a lot of judging of the person, rather than what he does. Sometimes it is about what he does, but it often goes beyond that to judging the person himself.

That's because those who can do and those who can't hate them for it. There are a lot of couch climbers on here make themselves feel better by entering a delusional state where they convince themselves that if it were not for "outside help" people like LA and others would just be Cat 5 club racers like themselves.
 
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Ninety5rpm said:
You know why this bothers me so much? Because when we judge ... a public person who is essentially a total stranger to you? Rise above the self-hate. Spread the love, even to those who rub you the wrong way. Make the world a better place.

Life is too short for anger and hatred.

First, while it is probably true that many people on this board have no personal connection with riders you mention guess what? Some do.
You profess to know better. Why is that ? Why do you feel it is your job to "enlighten" especially when you yourself don't know the facts?

As far as passing judgement,
Please reflect on the cycling coverage that is not predominately race footage but rather multiple examinations of the riders lives off the bike. They share every part of their lives in an effort to sway our allegiance THEIR WAY.
Think of all the Lance Nike commercials, "he's not doing it for the critics, he is doing it for that poor little boy lying in that hospital bed so he can walk again"
we see this ad constantly and yet we should not form any opinion?
According to you we should LOVE someone we don't know, why is that?
Why do you want to manipulate my feelings & control me?

BTW just because someone does not enjoy being manipulated and strikes out against the perp responsible, it does not mean hate is involved.
I don't like it, i don't like Lance, I have a professional relationship with people who are in his close circle and they don't like him either.
but i don't hate him.
And i don't hate you either, However i think you could do with a bit of counseling.

You should quit trying to be GOD
I know GOD and he never mentions you....:D
 
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UTFan2 said:
Oh, well let me tell you, being born and raised and still living in Texas...
barry switzer - hate the man with a passion, wont watch a show he is on, never met him, dont want to meet him, dont know anyone who does know him, still hate the man :p

Gosh could it be that he helped kick TEXAS *** when he was at OK????