This season hasn't gone so well as we've hoped. In the comment section we have fans blaming the players for "no heart", while others blame the coach who is making millions for not doing his job. So who's to blame?
1. Head Coach. He bears the ultimate responsibility for a program's success or failure. He'll get all the credit (deserving or not) when things go well, and he'll get all the credit (deserving or not) when things aren't.
2. Players. There are some minimum expectations we have on the players when they play for Purdue. For example, simple things like follow the coach's instructions, able to hit FTs, and if not, have the work ethic to work on those relentlessly until it is second nature.
3. The Athletic Dept. Little things like sending 2014 calendar in late Feb. Bigger things like empty VIP seats or put the students far away from the action. All of these help alienate the fanbase.
4. NCAA. The stupid rule change (or "emphasis") screws the TV schedule with games running over 2 hours becoming the norm , and makes some games further unwatchable when it is more like watching two teams taking FT practice. It also punishes teams who used to take pride in sacrificing your body and bravely taking charges.
5. Paint Crew. I dunno much about them, but from a recent fanpost, it seems like the quality and enthusiasm has dwindled down. I guess they have the excuse of "Well, the team is getting blown out so there's nothing to cheer about." As Nebraska shows, you can still cheer loudly for your team when they suck and no one expects them to win.
6. Fans in general. Admit it, we are fair-weather to some degree. We think it is a "waste of time" and watch games that we lost (or worse, get blown out). We are impatient, demand instant gratification, and find fault in everything that doesn't go right. Instead of providing support, we boo our own players who can't hit FTs, adding more pressure to him and more likely to miss. We seldom ask "What we can do for Purdue athletics," but with a sense of entitlement, we complain, "What has Purdue athletics done for me?"
I just finished reading "Trading Bases", and let me paraphrase its epilogue changing just certain few key words:
It's the kind of love that springs from the ashes of pain and, to my mind, is unique to being a Purdue fan. Purdue fans know what it's really like to be a fan. They know what it's like to be a Cubs fan in 2003, a Red Sox fan in 1986 and 2003, a Phillies fan in 1993, a Rangers fan in 2011, and so on. They'll be despondent for the near future, many won't watch another minute of the post-season, and they'll wonder how they let themselves so caught up with Purdue sports. Those fans who are parents of 8-, 9-, and 10-year olds might be spending a lot of time consoling their children the next day, explaining disappointment, while noting to themselves that this type of emotional devastation never seems to accompany an IU fan during football season after a
Notre Dame IU loss.
... As Purdue fans who have suffered excruciating defeat know, at some point, though, as spring wears on, the crushing disappointment subsides, and even if they swore, shortly after the devastating loss that they'd never let themselves get that caught up in the fortunes of a Purdue team, they'll start thinking about next season. They'll start thinking about the star QB or the stud incoming freshman, and they'll realize that they don't hate themselves for falling in love with the Boilermakers. No, they just hate the Indiana Hoosiers. And they'll think, "You know what, there's no reason we can't win the Big Ten this year." And they'll start talking to their kids about what games they want to attend. In the end, what really happened at the Barn on 2/24/2010, or the Fumble at Ross-Ade on 10/16/2004 wasn't necessarily how Purdue got "purdued" once again, but what truly bonded this group of irrational and stubborn individuals bleeding black and gold.
From one lifelong Purdue fan to another, I say "Welcome aboard. We have a lot to talk about."