Friday Firesmith – Fans

Friday firesmithFans are by their very definition people whose opinions are not likely to be objective. I used to make a killing off college football fans, and especially those of Florida State University, which is located in nearby Tallahassee, because they would get so terribly excited about the game they would bet anything and everything if someone just put them in the right frame of mind before kickoff.

I made nearly a thousand dollars off their losses to Miami in the 80’s and still made money when they won because true Seminole fans would always spot me a few points. Sometimes more than a few and a Kurt Warner fan gave me 21 points in the Rams versus Patriots Superbowl game back in 2001. I would take nearly any team on earth against nearly any other if you would give me 21 points.

But that is the nature of fandom. I knew guys who had lived in South Georgia all their lives and had never graduated from High School and they were still rabid FSU fans. A friend of mine who drank too much could be counted on upping the bet if the Seminoles were losing. I paid rent for two months one year because he couldn’t give into the idea HIS TEAM might actually lose and lose big.

I knew a Raiders fan who watched very game with a helmet on. We went to a sports bar and he brought his hat, really he did. That was a very bad day because they lost in the final minutes of the game and we had the tab riding on it. There was no way I would have been able to pay that one off but I wasn’t worried. Helmet Boy had spotted me ten points.

I like football but not nearly as much as I once did. People who know me won’t bet with me anymore, not after that Tampa Bay Superbowl fame where I racked up four hundred bucks in side bets before half time and passed out in the third quarter. Online betting isn’t nearly as fun because you can’t make people defend their turf and give you points for it. Picking the team that will win isn’t really that hard but getting someone to pay you to do it is a bitch.

The time is coming where I won’t be a football fan at all, I fear. Seau’s death was something that I have some issues with because directly I have made money off that sport and indirectly I have supported the sport that helped kill him. There was a time when a brutal hit on the field excited me and even more so if I was in a room full of cheering people. Now I wonder if that’s the hit that will cause permanent damage.

Fans are not going to give up a sport just because their heroes are becoming brain damaged. Hell, people still sniff glue, huff gas and use meth. As long as it is big business it will survive even if the players do not.

I’m still a fan but I can feel it waning. Just wonder if I would have that feeling if I was still making money off of it.

Take Care,



Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


8 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Fans

  1. It may sound crazy, but what would happen if the NFL did away with helmets and those hugh pieces of armor that players sport? Maybe the game would actually be safer. Who wants to go first?


    • You know Richard I thought about that.

      But the reason that football became legislated in house is because so many college football player were being killed in games back in the early days. No really, it’s true. West Point had a player get killed and that’s what kicked off all the safety rules, in a manner of speaking.


  2. I don’t understand why anyone would be dumb enough to bet on a sport. Once gambling money is introduced, the incentive to fix games is too powerful. Look at the recent arrest of a large crime syndicate that was fixing soccer games all over the world.

    There is an old saying. When you join a poker game, and you can’t spot the sucker, then it is you. I feel the same way about sport betting of any kind. Unless you are in on the fix, then you are just a sucker waiting to be fleeced by those who are fixing things.


  3. I wouldn’t worry too much about feeling guilty liking football. Yes, it is a violent sport, but the players know what they are getting themselves into and get paid well to boot.

    Also, isn’t it the role of the player’s union to work with the owners to ensure the game is safe?

    Richard has a point–most sports with little protection for the players have less injuries than sports that have lots of protection for the players.


    • Tim,
      We played hard when I was young man and other than some bruises and a few teeth gone missing we survived.

      I wish it could be like that again, without the missing teeth. Tackle football was the best game ever when i was growing up.


  4. The same argument is going on in hockey. Since the introduction of “hard” padding the upper body and head injuries are going up. The pundits are saying go back to the “soft” padding.

    Hard rubber helmets instead of steel-like plastic? Those things are weapons.

    Anyone enjoy Aussie Rules Football? It can be brutal but, no padding.


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