A fair-weather fan will come and go as a team's winning percentage rises and falls. A casual fan will have a vague idea of how a team is doing and typically ask questions like, "Did they play last night?" or "Who's playing point guard for them now?"
If you're a die-hard fan, though, you're different. For you, the season never ends, because you're always thinking about the next game, whether it's next Saturday or next September. You're not so obsessed (or maybe you are) that you skip family gatherings for important games, but you only attend knowing that your DVR is faithfully watching for you and that the game itself is only as far away as the phone in your pocket.
If you're this type of fan there are certain ethical tradeoffs you have to make. If your power forward has been accused of infidelity, you might give him the benefit of the doubt if he's averaging thirteen rebounds a game. Dozens of witnesses could claim that your right fielder has been taking steroids, but that might not matter to you if he hits forty home runs a year.
When others question these choices you'll either hide behind the Constitution ("he's innocent until proven guilty") or the jersey ("I root for the team, not the player"), but either argument leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth. No matter what you say out loud, there is always a small voice in the corner of your mind that whispers the truth.
There are no whispers with Andrew Luck.
We can easily measure Luck's passing prowess in yards, his judgment in touchdown to interception ratio, and his strength in flattened defensive backs, but his true greatness cannot be quantified with statistics. He is a scholar and a leader, and even if he'd never picked up a football you'd be thrilled if he rang your doorbell and asked to date your daughter -- as long as he promised to shave that beard first.
This fall there will be dozens of interviews and magazine covers and newspaper stories promoting Luck as a Heisman candidate, but most of them will miss the key aspect of the story: we can be proud of Andrew Luck.
Speaking of Mr. Luck, here a few recent links:
- Heisman Pundit discusses what Luck must do to win the trophy. (7/18/2011)
- From College Football Live, a conversation about leadership with Urban Meyer. (7/16/2011)
- Scott Allen from Rule of Tree wonders about how important winning is for Luck's Heisman candidacy. (7/13/2011)
- From ThePostGame, a suggestion that Luck could me the Missing Manning Brother. (7/11/2011)
- From The Bleacher Report, Jon Gruden says Luck is the best prospect he's studied. (7/11/2011)
- Following the Manning Passing Academy, Luck reflected again on his Decision and the upcoming season. (7/11/2011)
- And in case you missed it, from Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg, a profile of Luck and his decision to return. (1/7/2011)