People who know me know that I am a huge Cubs fan; a true dyed-in-the wool diehard who has lived and died with their failures and successes, and in my lifetime, it has been mostly failures. So when the Cubs finally won the World Series this past fall, it was nothing less than a trip to Nirvana for me.
I am also a life-long Chicago Blackhawks fan, and the three Stanley Cup championships in the past six years was sustenance for my sports soul. I was as intense in each of the three Cup playoff runs as I was in the just past Cubs post season. And I gloried and reveled in the glow of the Cup championships just as much.
I am also a Chicago Bulls fan, although I don’t follow it as closely as I once did because I really don’t care much for the way the NBA game is played today. But the Bulls six NBA championships in eight years during the Michael Jordan years of the 1990’s was like manna from heaven to a fan whose favorite teams had never won anything. Michael Jordan was simply the greatest player to ever take the court; and he played for my favorite NBA team and led them to the Promised Land.
I am also a Detroit Lions fan (I know, right? How does that happen?), and that’s where the Cinderella story ends. The Lions are one of just four teams along with the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans to never appear in a Super Bowl.
But the other three teams have an excuse. They are newer franchises. The current Browns came into existence in 1999, the Jaguars in 1995 and the Texans in 2002.
The Lions on the other hand, joined in the NFL in 1934. And although they have won four NFL championships, the last one came in 1957, when I was two.
My point is this: When I am a fan of a team, I am a fan of that team, period. It doesn’t matter whether they are good or bad, they are still my favorite team. I cannot change loyalties and jump on the bandwagon of some winning team like some fair-weather fan; I’m not made that way. So I suffer when they lose.
But I digress. Before any of my teams listed above won a championship there was one team I followed that was a shining light in the darkness: The Indiana Hoosiers basketball team.
I was an undergraduate student at IU in 1976 when they went undefeated (the last NCAA champion to do so) and won the National Championship. I fell in love with the Hoosiers from the first time I set foot in Assembly Hall as a freshman in 1974.
I thought at the time and still do that being on campus when they won the title was a once in a lifetime experience, and it was, the Cubs notwithstanding. The Hoosiers followed that up with NCAA titles in 1981 and 1987.
I was as rabid a fan as you could be. I never missed a game and would yell and scream at the television when things weren’t going well. But somewhere along the line, all that changed. I have become disaffected with IU basketball.
The definition of disaffectation conveys a double meaning. Disaffectation indicates separation or loss and suggests metaphorically a psychological separation from one’s emotions and the loss of the capacity to be in touch with one’s psychic reality; in other words, a severe lack of emotional awareness.
Today, I am not even aware when they are playing most of the time. I think I have seen parts of four games this season. I cheer for them when I actually do see them, but most of the time the Hoosiers are far from my mainstream of thought.
So how does this happen? I am still a Hoosier through and through. My loyalty to my teams knows no bounds. But the fact of the matter is that I have become disaffected with my beloved alma mater.
Maybe it started with the way the Bob Knight situation was handled and continues to fester to this day. Maybe it was compounded by the disaster that was the Kelvin Sampson era when IU was put on probation for recruiting violations.
I know I speak for many IU die-hards when I say that I would rather finish last in the Big Ten before I would cheat. Indiana basketball is above the crap that goes on annually at Kentucky or elsewhere.
And Tom Crean was the right guy to rebuild the program from the ashes. I still followed intensely as Indiana struggled to regain their rightful place among college basketball’s elite.
But maybe my disaffectation is because I don’t think Tom Crean is the guy who can take the Hoosiers back to the Promised Land. He is a great recruiter no doubt, but in my opinion Crean is an awful game coach who doesn’t know what an adjustment is. If the three pointers are falling IU wins. But if they don’t the Hoosiers lose. And they no longer play any defense, a hallmark of Bob Knight’s teams.
Maybe I have been spoiled by the success of my other teams (except the Lions, of course) in the years since 1987. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen a game in Assembly Hall since the 1981 Mid-East regionals (I know, I am ashamed). Maybe it’s because I can’t even remember when I last saw the Hoosiers in person.
I really don’t know. But somehow it has happened. I have become disaffected with the team that was my shining light in the darkness. The only team that I followed that ever won anything back in the day. And it bothers me. What do you think?

Chris Lannin can be e-mailed at