Expectations: Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t

During the spring of 2001, not long after the Beavers’ 41-9 thrashing of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, I boldly proclaimed to my friends:

“Next season, we are going 10-1 and to the Rose Bowl!”

My friends howled with laughter or rolled their eyes. But I thought I had the last laugh later that summer when Sports Illustrated ranked the Beavers No. 1 in its annual college football preview. It was proof that I wasn’t the only one with orange-colored glasses.

Sadly, we all know how the 2001 season turned out. The Beavers never recovered from being crushed by David Carr-led Fresno State in the season opener and limped to a disappointing 5-6 season.

My friends still give me crap about my way-too-optimistic prediction about that season. I was way off, but can you blame me? One of the toughest things about being a fan is staying objective. It’s a tough balancing act, too.

Too homerish, and you’ll be accused of drinking too much orange Kool-Aid. Too negative, and you’ll be labeled a jerkface. Don’t even try being a voice of reason, you’ll be dismissed. It’s really a no-win situation.

A wise coworker once told me that expectations are the first step toward disappointment…

That logic certainly applies to sports. We always hope and expect the best — that’s what good fans do, right? I mean, how often do we see people come out and see player X just won’t cut it, or the Beavers are going to suck?

But expectations are damming. Set ’em too high and you’ll likely be disappointed. You could set them low and be pleasantly surprised. That’s not much fun, though.

I bring this up because there’s been a lot of back-and-forth on the message boards about how the Beavers’ 2014 season will play out. A lot of fans are pretty pessimistic about any given thing.

Maybe it’s all those years of having dreams dashed by slow starts, losses to lesser devision schools, and a failure to beat the Ducks lately. Understandable, for sure.

What’s wrong with justing enjoying the ride — through the ups and down. After all, for most of us football is for entertainment purposes. Another wise coworker once said that the beauty of sports is that you can treat it like life or death, but at the end of the day, it’s just a game.

So don’t freak out, relax, and get ready for another season of spending time in beautiful Corvallis, hanging out with family and friends, and rooting on your beloved Beavers.

You might just find that it’s more enjoyable (and a lot easier) when you don’t have expectations and just enjoy the games for what they are… (RW)

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