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Why Do Fans Support Bad Teams?

Cincinnati Reds Fans

I thought this was an interesting column from Adam Hofstetter:

Their attendance, predictably, was as poor as their record, with an average of only 5,783 fans per game last season.  And yet, that means almost 6,000 fans had nothing better to do with their time or money than to go see the worst team in the WNBA lose a basketball game.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Where do we get that masochistic streak that keeps thousands of us going to see our favorite teams no matter how terrible they are?

We're all fans here obviously, but I think we all have to admit that it's been quite some time since the Reds have been any good. Probably since 1999, perhaps 2000 if you want to be generous and consider 85 wins to be good. So why do we put up with it?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. The Bengals ... well the Bengals found some creative ways to lose their last three games this season, needing only one win to make the playoffs. And then Ohio State got run over by Florida in the National Championship game. Those two events, combined with a disappointing Reds offseason caused me to start wondering a little why I do this to myself.

Not so much why am I still a fan, because that'll never change, but why I can't let go a little when it's obvious that things aren't going to go my favorite team's way. It was fairly clear that the Bengals weren't very good this year, but that didn't make it any less crushing when they mishandled the extra point against Denver or lost in overtime to Pittsburgh. Same thing with Ohio State to a degree, it was clear fairly early that they weren't going to beat Florida, but I still wasn't able to mentally check out. I had every bit as much invested in that game at the end as I did at the beginning.

This year the Reds might contend, they might not, but if they don't it'll hurt. Just like it always does, even though I'm not expecting them to do much.

So why is it this way? Why can't we step back and look at these teams objectively?

And maybe it's just me because of this site and other sites I have a hand in, but it seems like the stakes have been raised because of the internet. It was quite a bit easier for me to put the Reds on the backburner when the only sources of information I had were the Cincinnati Enquirer and 700 WLW.

I don't know, how do you deal with this? In bad years do you tune out once you realize the Reds aren't going to make a run? At the very least are you able to step back a little to handle the losing?