EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will be writing a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2004 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
Warning: Boo-birds in the house
First things first: I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend. We get so wrapped up in other things during the year that it's important to reflect on what's really important.
Second, I sure hope the team comes out energized on Sunday after such an emotional game against the Packers. I don't know about you all, but I'm still feeling it. Three and a half hours of yelling at Reliant on Sunday night and watching a winnable game slip from the grasp has stuck with me most of the week. I hope the players have purged it and come out strong.
Which brings me to my primary concern this week, aside from winning the game.
I go to all the games. I listen to the talk shows. I read the message boards. I can see it coming. I don't want it to happen but I feel it.
It's one of the things I despise the most as a sports fan.
You know and I know what's going to happen Sunday the first time the Texans run the ball two times in a row and end up going three and out.
Boo birds, and lots of them.
Some fans are primed to let the team know in this manner just how upset they are about the Texans' recent inability to win games. Most are blaming play calling. Some say the Texans are too conservative. Others aren't fans of certain members of the coaching staff. Whatever.
The Texans deserve plenty of criticism. The team played very poorly in two road losses at Denver and Indy. The team played poorly in the second half against Green Bay and lost a game they should have won. I get it. Most of us get it.
But booing the home team? That's even worse than "the wave" or arriving late and leaving early. I have some of the same concerns about this team's performance that many of you have but is that really the right way to communicate your message?
On one hand, you pay the price of your ticket and you have the right to do whatever you want, except for maybe throwing $7 beers at players lounging on the scorer's table. Sorry, wrong sport.
Anyway, there's a school of thought out there that suggests there are very few ways to let the team know that you are dissatisfied about some aspect of their performance so the only option is too boo your lungs out during the game when you're not happy. It's your right as a fan, gosh darn it. You're not going to settle for mediocrity. After all, you paid good money for those tickets and when you're not happy you're going to let them have it. Just don't spit on the back of my head or in my drink when you're doing it, okay? That's really annoying.
On the other hand, there's a school of thought (and this happens to be where I lean) that thinks booing the home team is destructive to team morale, causes divisiveness among fans and between fans and the team, and reflects badly on all Texans fans in general.
Booing the home team demoralizes the players. Just ask them. The first time something bad happens on Sunday, go ahead and boo your lungs out. It will do nothing but energize the Titans on Sunday. It will be music to their ears and will bring smiles to their faces – including Bud's – and he hasn't had much to smile about lately. I imagine Bud would delight in the fact that he's sitting there watching an NFL game in Houston and the boos are directed at someone else.
So before you get the urge, think about more constructive ways to make your feelings known without bringing the rest of us down with you on Sunday. Call into the talk shows; send letters or emails to the team or to the sports department at the Chronicle. Vent on the message boards – believe me, the Texans organization has a lot of people who regularly monitor message boards so your concerns will be read. Vent to me. I'll play Dr. Phil if you want.
We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out. Ideally the Texans will come out and play a solid, high-energy game on Sunday and all these concerns become moot. The Texans really need to bury this losing streak now before it gets out of control. Let's 'get behind' the team at Reliant on Sunday and cheer for a season sweep over Bud's bunch and to avoid going 0-for-November. And if it's not going our way, boo if you must, but I'd prefer that you go out and smoke a cigarette or go beat traffic instead.
Winning cures all so let's Git 'er Done!
You can email the "Voice of the Fan" at: firstname.lastname@example.org