Read my previous post to fully understand the point of this one.
I was going to write a real fan manifesto today, but considering it has been done already, I don't really see the point. Way back, Bill Simmons wrote a really good article on it. You can read it HERE.
Anyway, here is why you need three heartbreaking losses in your life to be a real sports fan. It eliminates the bandwagon and fair weather factor. It proves that you can take the pain of losing, while also embracing the pleasure of winning.
1st Loss: Anyone can experience one heartbreaker. You don't expect it and you don't know how to react. It's the first test and many people fail. They give up on them because they can't handle it. Do you know how many fans greeted the Pats when they arrived in Boston the other day? About 200 people. It would have probably been over a thousand if they won. Probably even more.
2nd Loss: Most people might have thought the first loss was a fluke. There's no way it can happen again. Then, it happens and people say they just can't take the pain. Seats become easier to buy as people aren't willing to spend triple the amount on them. People don't want to deal with being called a loser.
3rd Loss: This is the loss that hurts because it's like gets punch in the face by someone 2x bigger than you. Most people go back to just becoming bandwagoners because it's not worth wasting your time. The team's merchandise is not in every store and people don't care until they start winning again. Say goodbye to pink hats and jerseys.
Now, of course there is always the exception. Some heartbreakers hurt more than others. For example, if you survived the '86 World Series, then you don't need to experience three losses. That's enough if you can survive. Also, the more heartbreaks you've experienced, the more highly regarded you are. I have still have nothing on my Dad or grandfathers.
The point I'm trying to make is that too many people think they are "diehards" and "real fans", when they are nothing but fakes. They don't know a damn thing about their team and simply go with public opinion. They have no independent opinion, but rather goes with what's cool.
Look at the Boston Bruins for example. Arguably, the most popular sport in Boston during the 70s and right up there with the Celtics in the 80s. They start to lose, people don't want to be bothered. So what does everyone do? They abandon the team. Guess what? They make a deep playoff in the future and everyone will be a Bruins fan again. When that happens (it will eventually), I'm going to tell everyone to go to hell.
Look at the Patriots for another example. The laughing stock of the NFL until 1996. They make the Super Bowl and everyone is excited. Patriots gear everywhere. They lose and are mediocre for the next couple years. They win Super Bowl XXXVI and everyone is a diehard.
Look at the Celtics for my final example. Right after Bird, McHale, and Parish left, so did every fan and their brother. I can remember walking to the first or second row of courtside and watch a game back in mid 90s. No lie either. Got kicked out of the seat, but I actually sat there because no one was there. They get back to the playoffs and make a deep run in 2002, then lose. Everyone gives up on them again, until they retool in 2007. The whole season is sold out and now, every fan and their brother is back in Celtic green.
I don't even know what the point of this post is, besides it's easy to win, but will you still be around when they lose? No one likes a bandwagoner, just like no one likes a "playah".