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Column: Sometimes you lose

Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at 1:51 PM

I've written a lot about how great it feels when the team or athlete I cheer for wins. I always write that it feels like I've won, too.

I've also written about how great it is when I believe the players I love to be good people who represent me and the teams I love in a way that makes me proud.

Well, the teams I cheer for don't always win and the players sometimes embarrass themselves, and their teams and me.

That's not so great.

My complete list of teams and athletes I unabashedly cheer for and loyally support is as follows: Novak Djokovic, the St. Louis Cardinals and anybody wearing a Mizzou uniform.

That means I support them all the same through wins and losses, which can sometimes mean exchanging logic for blind love, and I'm fine with that -- as long as we're talking only about what happens on the field or court.

I probably get more enjoyment than I should out of watching college athletes succeed at my alma mater, but I also feel the failures of Mizzou coaches and athletes more than I'd like to admit.

There aren't any great stories to tell from this Mizzou football season. I could tell you about how I felt watching the Tigers finish the season 5-7, but it wouldn't make for a very good story.

I mostly feel bad for the players, particularly the seniors, whose careers I know didnąt end the way they had hoped. I leave the anger and questioning for other people and just suffer along with the team. I consider it a privilege of being a fan in a twisted way.

That's not always fun, particularly when athletes fail to represent their school well.

I have no idea if Michael Dixon, the point guard who recently announced his transfer from Mizzou after it was discovered he'd twice been investigated for rape at the university, broke any laws.

I don't know if he'll ever be convicted of a crime or if he was treated favorably or unfairly or otherwise because of his spot on the Mizzou basketball team.

I do know I felt personally embarrassed and ashamed as I read the graphic and detailed police reports that were released ahead of the announcement that Dixon would transfer. I know I cringed every time I saw a tweet or a headline with "Mizzou" and "Dixon" and "rape" in it.

I know enough to know that Dixon is not someone I'm proud to have representing Mizzou, no matter how many games he won.

Obviously this is an extreme case, but it got me thinking about how often or even if athletes realize the extent to which they represent their communities and the people who cheer for them ‹ and not just when they're on the floor.

Dixon has much bigger things to worry about than my feelings right now, and I don't need or want an apology from him any more than I needed his permission to cheer him on and attach my pride to his actions. That was a decision I made, and one for which I am ultimately responsible.

Unfortunately, sometimes we lose as sports fans, even when our favorite teams don't.

Racher Crader is editor of semoball.com.

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Rachel Crader is the editor of semoball.com. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2009 before spending the summer covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Highlights from Rachel's days in college include having a class down the hall from Chase Daniel and having NCAA wrestling champion Ben Askren hold the door open for her at Brady Commons, Mizzou's student center. She spent time covering Mizzou basketball, softball and baseball while working for the Columbia Missourian and is excited to return home to Southeast Missouri to cover local sports for semoball.com.

Rachel has covered three Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournaments for the Southeast Missourian and semoball.com, and she'll see you courtside again this year.