“To hope, and not be impatient, is really to believe.” — George Meredith, “The Adventures of Harry Richmond”
Patience is a virtue, but as we’ve all seen at events ranging from little league games to the pros, sports fandom doesn’t always recruit the most “virtuous” people.
Fans want the team they follow to be successful, and they want it yesterday.
Yet patience is exactly what the Harker Heights fan base will need this year regarding nearly every sport outside of basketball and baseball.
At the professional level, it’s difficult for a fan base to endure long droughts of misery — just ask any Chicago Cubs fan.
But talk to a Boston Red Sox or New York Mets fan, and they’ll probably tell you the toil is all the sweeter after the payoff of a championship is achieved.
But until then, it’s a continually frustrating loop of mediocrity.
For an example, look no farther than the Dallas Cowboys and newly minted mega-millionaire quarterback Tony Romo.
While Dallas owner Jerry Jones keeps writing bigger checks for the single playoff victory his franchise has in nearly 20 years, Cowboys fans keep scratching their heads every time Romo makes a bad read or under throws Dez Bryant.
But each mounting loss or mistake doesn’t make fandom any easier.
Which is why I’m giving Harker Heights fans a little warning — the Knights athletic teams are likely going to be a work-in-progress throughout the 2013 school year.
The only foreseeable relief will likely come in basketball, which returns four of five starters and boasts a roster of potential Division I prospects. Baseball could find its way back to the postseason given, but in almost every other sport, the Knights and Lady Knights are rebuilding.
None of this is to say any team will be particularly bad, there is too much talent at Harker Heights to believe that. But with any new situation — be it a new coach or new players — it takes time for winning ways to prosper.
It’ll be a challenge to watch teams struggle to recreate the success of last season, when all four major boys teams made the playoffs and the girls volleyball team set a single-season wins record.
As seen in the first week of the volleyball season, wins look like they’ll be hard to come by this year, with only two returning players.
Wide-spread coaching turnover also comes into play this season.
Most notable is football, where first-time head coach Jerry Edwards will first see his players in pads today, five weeks after he was hired.
By all accounts, the Knights football team is making strides, but don’t be surprised if wins take a back seat — especially early in the season — as players and coaches get accustomed to one another.
All it’s going to take is a little patience, and maybe a few other virtues along the way.