I'm Tired of Old, Angry Sportswriters Trying to Get Views (A Response to Jim Souhan of Minneapolis)

According to Jim, the crowd behind Nazr Mohammed in this picture are just a bunch of mindless sheep.

So, if you've been paying attention to the buzz around Oklahoma City today, you heard that some sportswriter from Minneapolis talked smack about how horrible Oklahoma City Thunder fans were. To be specific, his name is Jim Souhan from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. And his article reeks of last year's article from the Denver Post calling Oklahoma City the "asterisks" because they got favorable treatment. It's just another angry sportswriter trying to get people to read his column.

Now, I know people might accuse me of the same thing. After all, I am the same man that wrote an article thrashing the Derek Fisher signing. But the difference is that my article wasn't based off of a pile of horseradish. Derek Fisher was outright terrible in the regular season. I don't post articles attacking people for how they decide to express themselves.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that most OKC fans hate the article and what it insinuates. But, just for the fun of it, I'll respond to every portion of his article and tear it apart.

1. Dress yourself: You might think it's cute when the local team lays monochromatic T-shirts on your seat, so you can all look identical on TV, but you wind up looking like a class of first-graders whose parents enrolled you in a school requiring uniforms so they don't have to fight with you about clothes at 6 every morning.

It's bad enough for a middle-aged male with a beer gut to wear an ironic Troy Hudson jersey. It's worse when you wear clothes provided by someone you don't know.

Be adults, not sheep. Wear your own clothes.

Oh please. Wearing a shirt is not a symbol of being a sheep, it's a symbol of being united around a team. If you think wearing the same shirt as everyone else is silly, then about about the clothes that you just bought? None of them are unique. There's hundreds, possibly thousands of other people wearing the same apparel you have on right now. Oh yeah, and you just paid tens to hundreds of dollars to sit in a seat for two hours at an event that's broadcast on TV. And you're supporting your hometown team, just like everybody else in your hometown. By your definition of the word, "sheep", you pretty much described everybody who lives in modern society. Congratulations.

I'll tell you why people all wear the same color at a sporting event. Because it's intimidating. I remember the first time I went to an OU football game. Despite the team handing out no shirts whatsoever, the entire stadium managed to be a vast sea of crimson and cream. I couldn't find anybody that deviated. And it was a sight. To see so many people united behind a cause is a beautiful thing. And if you're playing away in that arena, you can't deny that it's at least a little bit intimidating. If you had Jim Traber's truth serum in you, anyway.

And don't get me started on jerseys. Who are you to say what other people should or shouldn't wear? Why do you feel the need to impose some sort of dress code? And if people comply with your wish, aren't they "sheep" as well? Just following the instructions of another? Already, the column has contradicted itself.

Below: Responses to All 9 Criticisms, and a 9 Point List of Our Own!

2. If you can't get a ticket, don't gather like zombies: Thunder fans gathered outdoors to watch the game on TV. This doesn't demonstrate unity. This demonstrates that there is nothing else to do in your town.

Yeah. We've got to all sit at home and be anti-social, or only gather with select friends in a bar. Don't even dare think of going out to a mass event and meeting new people. Or enjoying the various festivities the Thunder have on hand. Because if you don't have tickets, you might as well just do something else entirely.

3. Don't stand the entire game: The guy behind you paid 200 bucks for that seat, and you're not letting him use it? You should be Tased.

Stand up when your team lifts you out of your seat, not when some marketing guy who's trying to get a job with the Heat tells you to.

If I had it my way, I'd remove all seats from the Chesapeake Energy Arena. But I don't have it my way, and you don't have it your way either. So the people around each other compromise. And if the majority of people decide that they want to stand up, than that's what's going to happen. And they don't do it because the Thunder ask them do. They do it because it creates a great atmosphere.

And that's what going to a game is, isn't it? It's about being there in the actual arena, witnessing the thrill of dunks and the energy of the fast break. It's not about sitting in your seat and looking fashionable, eating overpriced food, and watching the team like they're a YouTube highlight reel. It's like the difference between going to a live performance and a movie. When you go to a movie, you're not expected to do anything, because no one is there to hear your applause. But when you go to a concert or play, the performers expect you to react to and interact with the performance. It's just common courtesy. If you're not going to the game to be a part of the crowd, then just go home and watch it on your big screen. Or wander around a suite or something.

4. Never chant "Beat L.A.!'': Nothing makes a fan base sound more small-time, more like a bunch of hick wannabes, than borrowing a decades-old chant about those bullies from the big city.

Okay, it's old, but what else are we supposed to chant? It's not like we do it all game. I hear it maybe once or twice.

5. Act like you've been there before: This isn't your senior prom. If you're really good, you'll get to do this again.

What's wrong with acting like you're enjoying the playoff run? If it looks like we're there for the first time, that's all the better, in my opinion. All it means is that fans are going to act wild, crazy, and stupid.

6. Don't boo the greats: Do you really think you're accomplishing something, or affecting the game, when you boo Kobe Bryant or any player of his stature? He loves shutting you up. Better to display a little perspective and revel in your chance to watch a Hall of Famer up close.

(There is an exception: You are always allowed to boo the Heat. And Dwight Howard.)

No, but we are supporting our team. And Kobe is one of the NBA's more polarizing figures. People seem to forget that in his old age. But even if he was, say, Tim Duncan, I wouldn't have a problem with it. He's not on our team, we're cheering against him. He loves shutting us up as much as we love to see him miss. I don't see why Kobe should get an exemption for being "great".

Oh yeah, and didn't you just say that we were supposed to act like we've been here before? If we're doing that, aren't we supposed to act like we've seen superstars before as well? How are we supposed to revel in a superstar while simultaneously acting like we've already seen his schtick? Once again, this article fumbles all over itself.

7. Don't copy.

8. Don't complain about bias.

9. Pick new music.

I don't see how any of these problems are unique to Oklahoma, so I'll leave them alone. These are more valid complaints, but something that's inevitable when you have 18,000 people trying to agree on something. Generic stuff is distributed because people need to like whatever's being sold. People like to come up with excuses for their team's failure, so they blame officials. And lots of people want to hear the Party Rock Anthem, so it's going to be played.

But honestly, I don't know where this guy gets off talking the smack he does. Or really, any article that criticizes another body of people because the people don't fit their "standards". What do they expect to get out of writing these articles? Will someone take a look at themselves and say, "Oh god, look what I've become! I'll sit down and wear street clothes from now on."

In the end, the reason this article fails is because it describes a game environment that could never possibly exist. To summarize, I'll throw it over to my co-writer, OKLuschen, who made a 9 point list of what an ideal environment for this sports writer would be:

1. Wearing street clothes.
2. Watching the game by yourself in your house if you can't go.
3. Sitting down all the time.
4. Not chanting Beat LA.
5. Not being too excited about anything.
6. Admiring the other team's best players.
7. Completely different soundtrack.
8. Not complaining about refs.
9. Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, and Beard Like Harden all game every game.

'Nuff Said.

Thanks go to OKLuschen for helping me develop this article, and for providing the ending list.

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