It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. - Earth Book, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
There are books from different eras that provide one with wisdom from the past to handle the crashing waves of the present. Four circle pertinently in this charred mind. The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, and The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. It is the legendary Japanese swordsman whose words come to the aid of the misguided and bewildered amongst us. What is the Way of the fan? Even if fans have no natural ability in supporting a club when fortunes of a club can change constantly, they can still be deemed sensible by adhering diligently to certain principles. What are these principles? They must be found through your own journey in supporting your chosen clubs and will reveal themselves to you in time.
Despite such deliberately obtuse and evasive utterances, acceptance is one essential principle fans must understand. This frees people from the perils of delusion, agitation, impatience, idleness, and widespread ridicule. Do not be fooled unwanted reader. Accepting something is not akin to inviting defeat or giving up the disgusting notion of hope that seems to be cherished among the populace. No, acceptance is understanding the way and reality of the present. Naturally, personal beliefs and predilections colour one's appraisal of today. A warrior must accept that each battle brings the possibility of mortal obliteration. You may be convinced that you will not die today and indeed, your skills are such that death may likely swoop elsewhere. Yet immortality is not the preserve of humanity and so, you can die.
Whose team has a divine right to claim victory? Please refrain from citing that tiresome spectre of history, a notion that continues to be a mystery. Defeat is part of the game, and although it is right to anticipate something better, such disproportionate reactions to its arrival indicates that expectations lie elsewhere. Yes, a fan should live in hope for that game being the one to: turn it around, burn an unforgettable memory, provide bragging rights, and upset the odds. The problem is that the best clubs usually win over the course of the season. There will be surprising results, and a club or two will perform below expectations. However, most clubs will end up exactly where they deserve to be. Your rituals will not change a single thing and neither will your rage. All that is left is to hope.
Fans are peculiar creatures and their dedication is admirable. They keep on going even when the fates conspire to shove further misery down obstinate gullets. They do not accept. They hope. They dream. They defy all sensible odds to believe in what could be. Some go into battle with the resolute acceptance of defeat, but most will refuse to entertain such conclusions. Strange. Even now, Liverpool fans believe Brendan Rodgers can give something more in spite of the man's insupportable obduracy and needless aloofness.
Upon further consideration, it appears that the ways of the fan are beguiling, even somewhat paradoxical. Acceptance must figure somewhere, yet its place is still largely unknown and open to interpretation.