Sunday afternoon the Houston Texans did something that they had done for the previous three weeks, they lost a game.
At 2-4 for the season it is highly unlikely that the Texans, who some had predicted as a Super Bowl team, will even make the playoffs this year.
Such is the nature of sports. You win some. You lose some. And until the game is played one does not know which side of the coin one will fall on.
Sure there are sports like soccer where the outcome can just as easily be a nil to nil draw, but by and large the stick and ball sports that most Americans follow end with a winner and a loser when all is said and done.
With this clear distinction of only two outcomes, it stands to reason that a team on any given day has an equal opportunity to either win or lose.
Of course there is a whole industry from fantasy sports to the betting houses in Las Vegas that try to guess the outcome ahead of time but they are not always successful since no one can predict with 100 percent accuracy what will happen once the players take the field.
This brings us back to the Texans who by most accounts are falling well short of expectations for the season.
People are blaming coaches and players for the losing streak with some fans even calling for people to be fired or worse.
This came to a head during the game Sunday when the Texans quarterback left the game with a leg injury. Now, this same player had led the Texans to the postseason last year but he is off to a rough start this year and even set a NFL record with four consecutive games where he had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in a play known as a pick 6 which got its name from the fact that the interception, or pick, results in six points for the opposing team.
So when the Texans quarterback was down on the ground in pain there was a vocal group of fans in the stands that were cheering the injury since they felt that it would mean a new quarterback would enter the game and lead the team to victory.
Instead the new quarterback entered the game and threw, you guessed it, a pick 6.
So it seems that the Texans issues are not limited to a single player having an off year and point to more of an institutional off year which teams do tend to have from time to time.
Of course any sane person could see that since rarely does one player win or lose a team sport. It takes the entire team working on both offense and defense to secure a victory.
Still, there are those extreme fans who fixate on a single player as the cause of all of their issues. Normally this just involves yelling at the television but in some cases it can turn violent.
While there have not been any reports of Texans fans getting violent towards any players yet there have even been reports of fans driving by the quarterback’s house and confronting his family.
That is taking things too far. No one, regardless of their profession, should have to deal with people harassing their family members.
Remember it is just a game. The athletes are paid to entertain us and to give their all during the game. They do not owe us anything during their off time and cheering for someone to get injured harkens back to something out of the Roman Coliseum days.
We have moved beyond those days although I am not so sure that everyone in society made that trip and we do seem to be reverting back to a more barbaric society.
Of course there is time to stop that trend and return to a more civilized sporting environment. Watch the games, enjoying the effort but don’t take it too far to the point of cheering for someone to get hurt just because they threw some interceptions.
From 1982 to 1991 the Washington Redskins went to the Super Bowl four times, winning three times against the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills. The second of those four appearances resulted in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.
So as a fan of the Redskins during that time, winning it all sort of was expected despite the fact that only one team can win it all each year. It is sort of the way that fans of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and New England Patriots expected to win it all every year during the dominant years each of those franchises had.
During the 1985 or 1986 season I was watching a Washington Redskins game with quarterback Jay Schroeder behind center. Schroeder became the starting quarterback for the Redskins following a career ending leg injury to Joe Theismann. I mention this to point out that Theismann was a Hall of Famer and Schroeder was a backup at best who was thrust into the limelight due to an injury.
So during this particular game as younger me was watching from the couch and eating cheese and saltines Schroeder threw an interception. This upset me to the point that I clapped my hands together while shouting words to the effect of “Schroder you idiot.”
Of course yelling at the television did not accomplish anything other than causing me to break the ring I was wearing at the time from the force of my hands going together.
From that moment on I employed a strict no breakable jewelry during games policy but I also vowed to watch sports with a little less emotion.
Of course emotion is good when watching sports. I am definitely not saying to not cheer when one’s team does well. I am merely saying don’t jeer as much when they are doing poorly.
Yes, athletes are paid a lot of money to do what they do and very few people are as skilled at those sports. But those high paid athletes are also husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, etc.
I have mentioned before how much I cringe when I attend a game and see a father teaching their son or daughter how to heckle an opposing player. The next time you find yourself inclined to do that consider how you would feel if you were on the field and someone was saying that to you. Better still picture your son or daughter as a professional athlete and think about what it would be like to have them heckled.
I don’t buy the whole athletes have thick skin argument. They are flesh and blood just like the rest of us. The only difference is they can run and hit faster and further than the rest of us.
Time will tell what becomes of the Houston Texans this season and I certainly hope to avoid rabid fans as I go about my daily life but something tells me things will only get crazier. I just hope that they don’t turn violent.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a craving for some cheese and saltine crackers for some reason.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson