New England Fan Base Pens Open Letter to Team USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Being from Colorado, we're not sure if you know about us. But here in New England, when it comes to our fan base with professional sports, simply put? We're the worst.
Nevermind booing people out of stadiums. Nevermind booing people out of cities. We've booed people out of states and time zones. And when you're dead to us, you're dead to us.
Just ask Tom Brady. ("Who?")
HOWEVER, here's the other thing about us that often gets overlooked. We're such intense fans because we're passionate. We care. Which is why when we watched the Winter Olympics last night and saw you register a second straight DNF in the Slalom, our hearts broke for you. Not only for the obvious heartbreak you yourself were feeling and the disappointment you probably felt as well, but because it brought a lot of us back to a heartbreaking time in our athletic lives.
Losing the final football game of a senior season that could put you into the playoffs, but instead causes a coin flip between three teams that puts an athlete as the odd team out.
Running through the competition for an entire season of your senior year playing volleyball, going undefeated and not even losing one single game (let alone an entire match), only to lose to your rival school in the final game of the state championship tournament.
The thing for us, though -- we didn't face the scrutiny that you did last night. While you were sitting off to the side of the course, digesting what probably amounts to countless emotions and thoughts -- we didn't have a camera zoomed in on us the whole time. We didn't have a major TV network split-screen us still seated in the snow while airing commercials.
And we didn't have some snot-nosed national TV commentators talking about what a shock and disappointment the situation was, as if you're incapable of being a human that just has an off run.
Then, ever the consummate professional, you still did your do-diligence as a professional athlete and went to talk to those same vultures in the press, once again showing your natural human reaction to what just happened.
Not only did our hearts shatter for you again, Mikaela, but we also wanted to throat-punch the moron interviewing you asking what exactly you're processing.
With all that said, Mikaela. And for all the flack New England gets for being intense fans with the hardest outer shell known in sports, here are some words from New Englanders that not only shatter that mold, but to let you know that we're all still supportive of you, and we're all still so damn proud of you for everything you have and will continue to accomplish.
"Oh my heart breaks for her... I think she has a lot going on and losing her dad is playing a big factor. I'm so sorry for her." - Crystal Brackett Arsenault
"Leave her alone and let her process. Probably thinking of her father, the pressure as the favorite, the lost opportunity, how to move on, how to deal with the pile of media folks at the bottom asking her for answers she doesn’t have. She owes us nothing. She is still among the very best. Time will heal..." - Steven Joyce
"...I wish the camera wasn't zoomed in on her the entire time. I'm sure she was just trying to process what went wrong." - Julianne Kolbe
"The NBC correspondent who interviewed her when she did face the media should have not asked how she was 'processing' it & instead offered a sincere statement that she was supported and to take care if her wellbeing first & foremost." - Beth Wadleigh Crosby
"It happens, she only human, when you are competing and expected the pressure is unreal… it’s important to remember athletes compete, it’s a sport this is part of it, wins, losses the up and downs, cant be perfect all the time. Two races also don’t define her, she’s just got to process and learn from it by herself, blowing her up on social media or news, doesn’t help, beyond these two races, her record is amazing, we can’t let two races define her." - Kelsey Crowley
"Love her thank you for trying you did just fine." - Joyce Racicot
"Glad she took the time she needed. We don't always take that time and taking it does make us stronger in the long run." - Adrienne Marie Wilson
"She is a champion. One run does not define her." - Carol Leyden Murrell
"Don't you just want to admire her for her passion and then give her a big hug!?" - Kathy Corbin Gregory
And there are countless other quotes in support and love of you, too, Mikaela. At the end of the day, you're a champion. You're not only the most-decorated Alpine skier in history. You're not only a National Champion. You made the U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM. That makes you the best in the world at what you do.
You still have three events left to compete in, Mikaela. And you're only 26, which means after you absolutely rock it in the Super G and your final two events, you'll be back for more Winter Olympics. And you'll continue to do what you've already done -- make us proud.
Go get 'em, Champ. New England is behind you, and if they're as smart as us, the rest of the country will be too.
All of New England