Monday, May 6, 2013

Bob Lobel: The Inner Voices of Sports Fandom

By Bob Lobel

Who among us doesn't hear voices?

You know, those voices inside your head, the ones that come from where your fan identity hangs out. I certainly have read enough books on the subject to know that we should not be ruled by these voices, but it is sometimes hard to rule over them. It's much more difficult to drive the bus than to be the passenger.

The Celtics voice in my mind is quiet now. It stopped talking to me when they were down 26, but it perked back up during that last, futile, run against New York. Even then, it only said "Cool, great comeback! But hey, this isn't a championship team. Stay curious though..."

I did stay curious, and we all know what happened.

It's one of the reasons I can't stand the NBA. It can all be so predictable. If I'm going to spend my time and money to watch the reality show that is live sports, I would like a surprise every now and then. On a one game basis? Sure. But for a whole series? They're hard to find, and I've stopped looking.

The NHL offers much more in way of surprises, and that's the reason playoff hockey is my number one reality show this time of year. Yes, better than a prego Kardashian and a group of loser bachelorettes.

My fan voice speaks up again to me about the Bruins, and simply says "Don't worry about Toronto."

Listen, I'm the one that said Tim Thomas isn't walking through that door, but why would I worry about Toronto, especially when goaltending isn't the problem, goal scoring is.

"Plus Bob," that inner voice continues, "You must remember to be a thinking man's fan. When the Bruins won the Cup in 2011 they lost nine playoff games, and you can lose as many as 12. They went 16-9 the year they hoisted Lord Stanley's with Tim Thomas, and this team has only lost one so far."

That voice in my head has been extra chatty about the Bruins, but the problem is I have a competing voice for each sport. My Red Sox voice told me to go to sleep the other night instead of mulling over the sweep to Texas.

"Texas was better, you knew that coming in…. Blah, blah, blah."

But I shot back saying that if they could have just won ONE of those games I would feel so much better. Plus, if the Sox had been swept at this point last year, I would have given into the dark side and simply began taking shots at Bobby Valentine.

Something tells me there were a lot of inner voices in Red Sox Nation instructing their hosts to do just that in 2012.

"Ok Lobey, why can't we get players like Adrian Beltre?!" the voice roared inside.

That one was so obvious, I didn't even tweet it. Losing Adrian Beltre for Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis was hands-down the worst decision made by the previous GM.

Couldn't afford both Gonzalez and Beltre, and Beltre wanted to stay. Just a bad, bad decision all around. But we play the cards we're dealt, and I'll be interested to see how the local nine bounces back after this bump in the road.

By the way, thanks to my inner voice and a plethora of options, the TV remote has simultaneously become the greatest and most annoying invention of all time.