Yes, you. I know who you are. I know who you are because you're just like me - marginally affected by a win, slightly more affected by a loss, occasionally offended when this site takes a turn for the negative. It's okay to be a loser fan. Really, it is. We can't all have the same degree of passion for UCLA athletics that the regulars on this site have, and that's okay as long as we're honest about it. But if we're going to be loser fans, it's incumbent upon us to be the best loser fans we can be.
I'm sure many of you think that it's unrealistic to expect 8-9 wins, including one over Southern Cal, this upcoming football season. You know what? You're right. It is unrealistic to expect that 8-9 wins and a victory over Southern Cal will just happen.
But what is realistic is to expect that all people in the athletic department, from the director to the coach to the lowliest intern, do their very best every day to give their team the best chance of winning. What is realistic is to expect that every man, woman, and child believes in the team every week. And if these two things happen, then UCLA athletics will be a success regardless of any setbacks we face along the way. We will win at least 8 games. And we will beat Southern Cal.
There are those that say that we are the reason for the supposed culture of mediocrity that permeates UCLA athletics. As much as it hurts to acknowledge it, they might have a point. There are only three reasons for mediocrity in any pursuit: lack of talent, lack of execution, and lack of belief. The players have the talent. They work hard so that on game day, they have the execution. But they need belief. Your belief.
I'm sure many of you think you don't have the capacity for blind faith. You're wrong. I know this because you have a blind faith that this site's regulars lost long ago. You have faith that Guerrero and Block and the Incompetent of the Week can restore UCLA athletics to its former glory. And if you have faith in that, then surely you can have faith in other aspects of UCLA athletics.
This upcoming athletic year, I'm asking you to take part in a challenge with me. The challenge is simple: be rationally optimistic about UCLA athletics. For some of you, the hard part is going to be "rational." I get it. We have a hard time dealing with anything negative and tend to take criticism of anyone associated with the university personally. To you, I ask, thicken your skin, recognize when critics have a point, and be prepared to be wrong. Not everything at UCLA is rainbows and butterflies and if we pretend otherwise we're no better than Trogan fans. For others of you, the hard part is going to be "optimistic." I get that too. We can't stop thinking of reasons why things won't work, and that includes reasons why UCLA can't succeed in the current climate of college athletics. To you, I ask, augment those thoughts with reasons why UCLA can succeed. For instance, we have great tradition. We have great location. We have great student-athletes. And we have the best loser fans in the world.