The Athlete and the Fan
January 18, 2019
Does the fan make the athlete or the athlete make the fan?
This is a never ending debate that could be argued on either side of the question, but in my eyes, the fan makes the athlete and here’s why. Without the fan the sport is nothing, and the player’s are nobody. Without the fan, there aren’t any million dollar contracts, no billion dollar TV deals, no stage for the athlete to preach from. The fan is what has created the entire platform. So, why don’t these athletes realize that they wouldn’t be shit without us?!? Well some do, but most don’t…
Phil Mickelson is the happiest guy on the entire golf course. No matter how terrible or how good he is playing that day, he ALWAYS acknowledges the fan. There are thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people who have received the famous “Phil Mickelson Thumbs up” on a championship Sunday. Hell even I have received one of the “thumbs up” from Phil. 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah big Phil looked Gene and I right in the eye and gave us the thumb. Thank you. You da man Phil! You will always be the people’s champ!
JJ Watt tosses the ball with fans during pre-game warm ups. I LOVE this. This is Watt showing his appreciation to the people who have made him who he is today. Good stuff JJ, kudos for this.
As the Grail Sports Movement has grown, Gene and I have seen how some athletes really appreciate guys like us, fans. They acknowledge that we are a major part of their success. At the same time you have the opposite kind of athlete who won’t even give us the time of day.
For example, Gene met Clinton Portis a few months back at a Redskins game. Gave him a quick rundown on Grail Sports, and sent him a tee shirt. He immediately responds with a “Yo Man, LOVE the T. This is awesome!” What a GREAT guy. A simple note and he is now instantly our favorite running back of ALL time. Love this guy.
Meanwhile, Nick Mullens – a young QB on the rise out in San Francisco – Spain Park High School Alumni (as am I) – won’t respond to us at all! We have sent Mullens multiple DM’s on twitter, about 15 T-shirts, and a handwritten note, and we can’t even get a simple shout out. Does this mean that Nick Mullens is a bad dude? I doubt it… but all we want is a thank you! Yo Nick, give us something!
I know this is hard for some athletes. Some guys are private, the world is crazy, you never know who you can come in contact with. You can meet some obnoxious people that are absolutely mesmerized by the athlete, and I’m not going to lie that can get a little weird. But at some point you have to acknowledge the fan and say thanks. So to the athletes that do that, thank you.
As with everything there is always an anomaly… Tiger Woods is the anomaly in the fan appreciation category. Tiger never blinks. He rarely shows the appreciation that his fans so greatly deserve. When times were tough and his career was in shambles, many people trashed him. His fans could have easily jumped ship and wrote him off. But they didn’t. All Tiger’s fan did was cheer harder. They embraced the lows and willed him back into the spotlight. But why? Tiger never showed appreciation to these people… so why do they stay around? Tiger fans stay with Tiger because they CRAVE his attention. Tiger fans will forever keep their hopes up that at some point he will give them one of those famous Phil thumbs up, and for once let the fan in to his life.