Sometimes it’s great to be a fan

By now, most readers here know I grew up in the Baltimore area as an Orioles fan. I no longer go the games to cheer from the stands, but I feel lucky to have a job covering my childhood team.

There are so many memories of going to so many games at Memorial Stadium. I think I spent more time there than at home during some years. The team was really good and being a young fan was great.

In recent years, I seldom would get the chance to be a fan except when I would go to watch the football team play at my school - Towson University. Of course it was Towson State when I graduated in 1982 and I’ve still got a few TSU hats.

But watching the 2013 Tigers play football - and today they play for the FCS national championship - has been special and reminds me what it’s like to be a fan during such good times.

Like O’s fans, Towson sports fans have seen a lot of losing and tough times over a number of years. Let’s not even bring up the unfortunate saga of the baseball and soccer teams in the last year or so or that the basketball team went 1-31 a couple of years ago and the football team went 1-10 just three years ago. That’s 2-41 between the two by the way. Towson fans have been on the wrong side of too many 40-7 losses.

But things have gone better in recent years with CAA championships, playoff appearances and national rankings. Believe me, winning is always sweet, but never sweeter than when you know all too well what getting pounded for years felt like.

I’ve always been proud of my school and looking back, my parents telling me that going out of state to school wasn’t going to be in the cards for me worked out just fine.

Like many of you, I’m sure, I grew so much as a person during college and those years prepared me well for the career I’ve had so far. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

While I’m excited about the team and the great year, I’m also so happy for so many that work at Towson, attended Towson and/or attended so many of those losses and supported the school when few others did. Our bandwagon has grown a lot the last few weeks and I welcome everyone aboard, but I feel happiest for the many that worked so hard and believed in the school and the football team, and supported it when almost no one was watching.

Somehow, our great coaching staff convinced some talented kids to come here when they were offering only the chance to build a program. Man, what they have built.

As for today’s game, Towson is a big underdog against an amazing North Dakota State program that has won back-to-back national championships, going 42-2 the last three seasons. They began this year winning at Kansas State, the same Kansas State that just beat Michigan by 17 in a bowl game. They have a truly great program.

But I will be as proud of my team and school after this game as I am now, no matter the result. That won’t change.

The Tigers showed me again how amazing being a fan can be. I truly believe O’s fans will get to feel this way someday soon as well. The 2012 season was just a start.

I know I haven’t given you any great O’s topics to comment on today, so feel free to bail me out and leave any O’s comments you have.

As for this Tigers team, thanks for the many memorable Saturdays, for an incredible season, for having such heart and character and for bringing such exposure to the school. They were predicted to be a top-10 squad before the year and then they lived up to the hype. Every bit of it.

Time to grab that Towson sweatshirt one more time this football season.

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