Don't be that guy.
Don't be that gal.
Don't fall into that trap.
Look, I'm not here to tell you how to be a sports fan. I really to try avoid doing that. Root for the team you want, in the way you want (although do yourself a favor and set some boundaries, OK?). Depending on the moment, feel free to cheer, boo, hoot, holler, scream, bark, yelp, bellow and boogie.
I'm for all of that.
But by way of warning - almost like one of those public service announcements - let me offer this one caveat: Don't be that person.
As the NBA playoffs heat up (no pun intended) and each game seems to take on more significance, there surely is a natural temptation to make unrealistic comparisons. And considering the Utah Jazz missed the postseason by just two games, I'm certain there are fans all around us who've taken the bait and are now trapped in an endless maze of what-if, if-only and that-could-be-us thinking.
No doubt there are fans who've been watching teams like the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, shouting, "That should be US!!"
Surely there are fans who've taken notice of, say, the Pacers' Paul George or the Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, slapped their own forehead and asked, "Are you KIDDING me?"
I've got a sneaking suspicion there are those among us who've observed Memphis coach Lionel Hollins or Golden State's Mark Jackson, only to chuck their TV remotes while rolling their eyes and muttering, "Unbelievable."
These are all understandable reactions. After all, it must be painful for Jazz fans to see other smaller-market teams like Indiana, Memphis, San Antonio and even Oklahoma City having so much success while Utah sits at home following a mediocre season.
It must be frustrating to watch players like George, taken one pick after the Jazz selected Gordon Hayward in 2011; or Leonard, taken three picks after Utah took Alec Burks in 2011, playing vital roles in the postseason.
And seeing coaches like Jackson and Hollins leading their teams to great heights while the Jazz prepare for another season with Tyrone Corbin? Well, I know that's got some of you dry-heaving during commercial breaks.
I get it, I really do. But here's the thing: Not only is it useless to play those what-if games, it's grossly unfair to make such comparisons because each situation is completely different.
Comparing Hayward in Utah to George in Indiana -- or Leonard in San Antonio -- is like comparing apples to pomegranates and strawberries. Sure they're similar -- they taste pretty good -- but they're not the same thing.
And they never will be.
The same can be said for each team and its individual coaches, too.
Quite simply, there are myriad other factors involved, everything from a team's ownership to its injuries; from its remaining roster to the opponents its plays and the time it plays them.
No situation is exactly the same and no matter what's said by some ex-jock on a halftime show or a fast-talking P.E. dropout on the radio, it's never as simple as it seems.
Not to get too philosophical here, but the folks in Hollywood have created an entire genre around the "grass isn't always greener" concept, and there's a reason why it always sells.
Why? Because it's true.
Forgive me, but if "Freaky Friday," "Big," and all the others have taught us anything, it's to be careful what we wish for.
So go ahead and be a fan; go ahead and support your team how, when and where you want. But remember, you've been warned.
Don't take the bait.
Don't become that guy.