It would be ironic to say I hate the word hater, but I do. What is a hater? Well, the dictionary definition is basically someone who hates doing something. The Urban Dictionary definition is someone who can't be happy about another person's/team success. Hmm. Well I'm here to tell you that I'm not a hater. I love this team, I always will, and like everyone, I want nothing more than for this team to win a Superbowl.
The problem with labels is that every label has a certain connotation. A "hater" to one person is a someone with concerns about the team's direction to another. "Drunk off kool-aid" to one person means optimistic about the team's immediate future to another. In my mind, what really matters is how we define ourselves. But the world doesn't work that way. One seldom finds a person who is not driven by how people think of them.
It's easy to become defensive when someone accuses you of being something you aren't. We all do it. The kool aid vs. the hater. I know we disagree, often very vehemently, but at the root of our passion is one, singular desire: winning. These "haters" don't want the team to lose.
The interesting thing about sports is how it can bring us together as much as it can tear us apart. Let's take the Orioles, my favorite baseball team, for instance. In a year where it's finally fun to be an O's fan, we still disagree. Is this sustainable? Why is this happening? When will it end? Some of us believe, and some of us want to believe but can't see past the statistical improbabilities.
It's the same concept with the Redskins. There are those who think this team can win now, while others think we are still a long way off from dynastic dominance. This tears us apart. Things get personal. Insults are thrown. And when this team does finally win ten games, make the playoffs, hell, win the superbowl, we'll all believe. Until then, the "haters" and the "kool-aid drunk" will disagree.
There's something very healthy about that, though. In the Internet Age, often our words cannot be taken back because they are written in red pixels for eternity. What fun would this site be if everyone agreed? Yes, I could probably do without the vitriol, as would many of you. But I have a fascination with debate. That's probably why I'm a political science major. It's very therapeutic to vent frustrations about a team in a forum with no faces, no relationships, no lasting impact.
And that's the greatest thing about being a fan. The rush of debate. The thrill of being proven right. The crushing blow of being proven wrong. It's all so exciting, yet so fleeting, too. Seasons come and go, losing, winning, what have you. And new fights arise. We will always disagree, but hopefully, we're winning sometime soon.