I Come to Praise Fans, Not to Bury Them – From the Bird’s Nest
Yesterday, I wrote a blog concerning the Cajuns' latest victory in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. I was critical of a small group of fans who complained about the Cajuns' victory. Yep, they claim to be Cajuns fans. Many of them are the same fans who railed against the administration at UL for accepting a bid to the bowl in the Crescent City, suggesting the Cajuns should have held out for something "better." (Whatever that is.)
I wrote the article knowing, since the majority of fans are positive and excited, that I would be complimented. I also knew some of those miserable people would rip me for daring to criticize anyone in the UL fan base.
Well, to both groups, let me explain. I did it to prove a point.
It was to show the negative nellies that two can play the game of taking something wonderful (the UL fan base or the success of the program) and turning it into a negative.
Which is what those folks are doing when they criticize three straight bowl appearances and 27 wins, including the one Saturday night.
But hey, the good news is (as Stevie P. would say), those fans are few and far between.
You want to see TRUE Cajuns fans? Watch a replay of the game and take a look at the passion, the determination and the unbridled joy of nearly 40,000 Cajun faithful who were in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday night.
Those folks get it. And there are a LOT of them.
True, some of them are fairly new fans. But you know what? They're more than welcome to enjoy the ride. They're now buying season tickets, joining the RCAF, buying Cajuns apparel and understanding that winning is, always has been, and always will be, fun.
And, for the Cajun fan who was around for those dark days I talked about yesterday, the last three years have been especially euphoric. They waited. They were faithful. They were buying and giving when no one else would. They, like me, remember downright terrible football. And, they all know it is now a thing of the past. Those fans will never be dissatisfied with nine wins, although they'll want the program to strive to be better. Those fans will never be dissatisfied with a bowl bid, regardless of where it is. And, those fans will always cherish a bowl win, regardless of how it is accomplished.
The passion of Cajun fans was best put into perspective by Karl Benson, the commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference during halftime of the game on Saturday. He said there is no other school in America that travels its average attendance to a bowl game.
Think about that.
The Cajuns in 2013 averaged 25,975 fans. This year, they sold over 21,000 tickets to the game in New Orleans. That's just at the UL ticket office. That doesn't count those who bought the tickets online through Ticketmaster or those who purchased tickets the day of the game.
Trust me, no other fan base in America comes close to that.
Then, add to that the fact Cajun fans went into another schools home stadium and took it over, drawing three to four times more fans than their "home" opponent. You're not going to find THAT anywhere else at a bowl game, either.
Can you imagine Michigan traveling 100,000 to the Rose Bowl. Or LSU traveling 90,000 to the Outback Bowl?
That should put it all in perspective for you.
So you see...we all can harp on the negative, whether it be talking about the program or the fan base. But the bottom line is this.
Those loud, obnoxious, negative fans are few and far between, just as losses the last three years have been. The others are the ones Mark Hudspeth says are the best fans in America, enjoying the wave of success and never taking it for granted.
That's the REAL Cajun Nation.
Merry Christmas Everyone. Hope you get to hug the ones you love.