Eighteen years ago famed music producer Rick Rubin staged an elaborate funeral service for the word "def". With Reverand Al Sharpton presiding over the ceremony and stars such as Tom Petty in attendance, "def" was laid to rest in a Hollywood cemetary. As I was remembering this strange event it occured to me that we Coug fans could use a similar vocabularical purge.
Friends, loved ones, curious passers-by; today we lay to rest one of the most tired tropes in all of Cougar fandom… the idea that some fans are "afraid of winning". Rest in peace you silly, rediculous bit of total nonsense.
Fans show their concern that the Cougs might stage a comeback and ruin everything.
Let's be clear; Nobody is "afraid of winning". You will not find a Coug fan who would rather be 5-7 than 12-0. They don't exist. This trope is trotted out to bully fans who express concerns about the cost to the instiution that some methods to achieve wins come with. It seems the "win at any cost" camp isn't interested in those concerns, so to cover for their shameless disinterest in fairness, integrity, loyalty and just about anything else that scholastic athletics are supposed to promote, they create the ultimate straw man; an imaginary legion of (old, weak, sad, pathetic, etc.) fans who form a fifth column dedicated to keeping their own team down. Suddenly a 30 year multi-sport season ticket holder and CAF member who has dedicated a good portion of their lives and income to supporting the Cougs is "afraid of winning" since they don't agree with you that coach X should be fired. Nevermind that when the Cougs won conference championships, this fan didn't exactly burn all their gear. Rather they booked their flight to Pasadena before the clock hit 0.00 on the last game of the season.
Right now there is a tension between fans who are demanding success now and those who can somehow make it through an entire basketball game without throwing the remote through a window. I live in both camps at different times and sometimes I inhabit both during the course of a single game. But lets just drop this false premise that only the angry, fed up fans "want to win". We all want the Cougs to win every single game they play. We disagree with how they can, or should accomplish that, but that's it.
Just because "def" was dead and buried doesn't mean that zombie "def" doesn't continue to stock the earth, and I don't expect "afraid of winnning" to stay 6 feet deep in the Palouse clay either. But at least now we can acknowledge that all its good for is lurching about snacking on the brains of the living.
RIP, "afraid of winning". You will mos def not be missed.