Have you ever witnessed an argument between two people with opposing views? One person argues his or her side while the other defends his or hers. The exchange continues to varying degrees of enthusiasm until one person has decided he or she has had enough and both sides are left feeling worse at the end of the whole thing.
At the end of the day, nobody has won. You can never win an argument because in the end one party (or both) has failed to win the other’s emotions over. That’s exactly what happened after Syracuse’s loss Saturday at Pittsburgh.
Winning tends to round out the rough edges while glossing over inefficiencies whereas losses tend to put a magnifying glass on exposed weaknesses. After the loss Saturday, the Syracuse fan base was quickly divided, which was reflected in the comment section here and on the twittersphere.
While it goes deeper than just three camps and we can’t just boil ourselves down into groups, Brent Axe did a wonderful job breaking down the twitterverse into three categories.
To put it simply, Axe suggested three groups. Those three groups are: the homers, the naysayers and the twitter police. The homers defend the home team in any way while ignoring certain realities and refuse to be swayed by the naysayers. The naysayers only show up when they have something negative to say about the team, and they suck the life from the homers while perhaps pointing out certain realities that need to be addressed. Lastly, the twitter police is the group that tries to tell you right from wrong, how to be a fan and how not to be.
This all occurs over the internet today, presumably because there isn’t a convenient high school cafeteria nearby to throw a food fight in.
Axe didn’t exclude himself either, suggesting that sometimes he falls into the twitter police category, so I won’t exclude us here either to be fair. I think John would be the first to admit that he sometimes falls into the twitter police category. I certainly don’t lack the self-awareness to suggest that I don’t fall into the homer category. Often times I’m very quick to defend a polarizing player. We’re all human, and we’re all biased in some way.
And you know what?
Neither of the three groups is right or wrong.
This has been going on for some time and irrespective of how you feel, you’re not going to convert one group to another. The homers are going to be homers no matter what you have to say. The naysayers or going to naysay, some might even suggest that haters are gonna hate! Some people are going to think that so-and-so left for the NBA too early. Some are still going to think Jim Boeheim is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But nothing you do or say will change their view.
You know what I see though?
The homers? They care about Syracuse. The naysayers? They care about Syracuse. The twitter police? They care about Syracuse. It’s okay to have differences in opinion — it’s what makes the world go ‘round.
We all care about Syracuse, so one thing that won’t be tolerated is the vitriolic comments and personalization around these parts that happened after Saturday’s game. That’s not the TNIAAM I’ve come to know and love. We’re better than that.
So we can start by rebuilding an empathetic community.
To be sure, I’m not asking you to pick sides or to not have an opinion. I’m not suggesting a way to cheer or a way for you to care. I’m not even asking you to like us or each other, I just ask that you learn to live with it and understand that differences in opinion are what helped shape this community and our similarities are what still band us together. As a staff, we’ll make sure to abide by those same ideas.
So while we’re very quick to point to our differences in tough times, let’s rise above that and understand that this place and the greater Syracuse community will always have more in common than it will ever have in contrast.