Ben Johnson fighting against the ‘woe’ in Minnesota’s sports mindset

BleedGopher

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If there's any indication Johnson is truly "one of us" his understanding of the Minnesota sports fan tells it well:

per Greder:

Ben Johnson knows it intimately; that’s why the Gophers men’s basketball coach is fighting so hard against it.

When Minnesota suffered season-ending knee injuries to forwards Isaiah Ihnen and Parker Fox this summer, Johnson saw what he called a “here we go again” mindset.

“It’s the benefit of me being here for the majority of my life,” the Minneapolis native said. “I think it’s across sports. I don’t care whether you are talking Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Gophers. I’ve lived it. I know what it is. That’s why I can confidently say we all have to get over that.”


Go Gophers!!
 

Chico Gopher

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Can you imagine having the "Destined to Fail" attitude in your real life? You're in sales, the last 4 days, people said "No". Do you go into your next call assuming this guy is going to say "No" as well? Of course not! If you go into anything assuming some level of failure, you can't win. Most people who do well in whatever career they're in generally have a philosophy to avoid the "assume something will go wrong" types like a plague. Why? Because those types generally flounder around in the average to slightly below average level and have a tendency to drag others down with them.

It would be kinda interesting to see how the biggest mopers on this site are doing in whatever career they have or had. Are they highly regarded nationally or even regionally ("the one guy in Minnesota you want to be helping you" type), even a star in their county, or are they just one of a thousand interchangable guys in their business.
 



ecoperson

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Having been a lifetime MN resident, Coach Ben knew exactly what he was getting into; not sure why he feels the need to tell us how difficult his job is?
You obviously did not read the original post, read the article, or watch the videos, did you?

Johnson never said one thing about how difficult his job was.

Johnson's whole point is ditching the 'woe is me' attitude (specifically regarding the injuries to
Fox and Ihnen) and moving forward. He believes winners acknowledge any past failure or misfortune but then move forward towards their goals and aspirations.
 


GopherBlood666

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The perspective of a coach and fans are completely different. A coach's job is to impress the fans with how good they are at coaching. Woe is me makes sense for a fan who has experienced 40+ years of poor/mediocre performances. A coach in his second year trying to prove himself would be foolish to have that attitude, especially when he is in control of the team. Fans don't dictate team success, players and coaches do.
 

cjbfbp

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Do you go into your next call assuming this guy is going to say "No" as well? Of course not! If you go into anything assuming some level of failure, you can't win. Most people who do well in whatever career they're in generally have a philosophy to avoid the "assume something will go wrong" types like a plague.

You don't sound like the analytical type. There's an old saying: "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst."
 

Spottedmuskie

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The perspective of a coach and fans are completely different. A coach's job is to impress the fans with how good they are at coaching. Woe is me makes sense for a fan who has experienced 40+ years of poor/mediocre performances. A coach in his second year trying to prove himself would be foolish to have that attitude, especially when he is in control of the team. Fans don't dictate team success, players and coaches do.
Ben said he had identified it with his players after Isaiah and Parker went down, assuming they were very optimistic before hand.
 

cjbfbp

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Ben said he had identified it with his players after Isaiah and Parker went down, assuming they were very optimistic before hand.

Can't blame them. I was much more optimistic before those two injuries. But every cloud has a silver lining. Those injuries will create opportunities for other players and maybe those players will seize them.
 



ecoperson

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The perspective of a coach and fans are completely different. A coach's job is to impress the fans with how good they are at coaching. Woe is me makes sense for a fan who has experienced 40+ years of poor/mediocre performances. A coach in his second year trying to prove himself would be foolish to have that attitude, especially when he is in control of the team. Fans don't dictate team success, players and coaches do.
Fans need to show up and be engaged with the program and athletic department. Negative fans help steer local recruits away from the Gophers with their pansy a55 whining. A strong, passionate, and positive fan base make a HUGE difference.

Fans need to look at each season as a fresh start- not look at championship droughts and lack of recent success. Heck- there are 'fans' already asserting that this is another terrible year and that our recruits are all 2nd and 3rd tier. What a load of BS. Let's see them in action before judging.

I can't be at the homecoming game this Saturday but I sure hope that we get some cheers going for Evans and show him that Gopher fans care about this team. Go Gophers!
 

GopherBlood666

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Fans need to show up and be engaged with the program and athletic department. Negative fans help steer local recruits away from the Gophers with their pansy a55 whining. A strong, passionate, and positive fan base make a HUGE difference.

Fans need to look at each season as a fresh start- not look at championship droughts and lack of recent success. Heck- there are 'fans' already asserting that this is another terrible year and that our recruits are all 2nd and 3rd tier. What a load of BS. Let's see them in action before judging.

I can't be at the homecoming game this Saturday but I sure hope that we get some cheers going for Evans and show him that Gopher fans care about this team. Go Gophers!
Fans owe the program nothing, just like any other business. And make no mistake, college basketball programs are a business. Just like a bad movie, I'm not required to pay to see it just because someone made it. Fans are not required to show up just because they start dribbling the ball. A solid program earned their fan base at some point and never lost it because they showed up and excelled consistently. If you're blaming the fans, it's time to hire a new coach.
 

Dave H

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The perspective of a coach and fans are completely different. A coach's job is to impress the fans with how good they are at coaching. Woe is me makes sense for a fan who has experienced 40+ years of poor/mediocre performances. A coach in his second year trying to prove himself would be foolish to have that attitude, especially when he is in control of the team. Fans don't dictate team success, players and coaches do.

No "woe is me" is just a bunch of people with inferiority complexes who have lost the ability to have fun watching a game. Minnesota fans whine and ignore the fact that there are plenty of teams in each sport that have it worse than we do but somehow we have deluded ourselves into believing we are cursed, we are terrible, our teams are a joke and we are wasting our time watching them. We never allow ourselves the ability to step back and just enjoy it and let the chips fall where they may*. (unless it is the Twins)

As for the article Ben is saying the same thing PJ said...and PJ was right. You have to start thinking better things will come, that bad news is not just the other shoe dropping. You have to learn to expect success.

*I am obviously talking about the more vocal negative nancies...
 

ecoperson

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Fans owe the program nothing, just like any other business. And make no mistake, college basketball programs are a business. Just like a bad movie, I'm not required to pay to see it just because someone made it. Fans are not required to show up just because they start dribbling the ball. A solid program earned their fan base at some point and never lost it because they showed up and excelled consistently. If you're blaming the fans, it's time to hire a new coach.
What are you talking about? I never said fans owe the program anything.

The point of my post and of Coach Johnson's press conference is that whining about the past does absolutely nothing to help set the table for success in the future.

40 years of mediocrity?! Did you throw away all of your Final Four memorabilia just because the NCAA told the U to take down the banner?!

I have seen a lot of fantastic basketball over the last 20 years. While we haven't hoisted the hardware, they've made the tournament 6x during that time. 9 of those seasons included at least 20 wins and included some exciting basketball.

Even the 'disaster' of last season included an undefeated non-con including some clutch victories and some nice victories and competitive games in the conference season. Heck, Pitino's last season included 5 wins over ranked opponents. EACH season ALWAYS includes some quality basketball entertainment.

If the Gophers' success means so little to you, please go take your 'business' to another team. Why not be happy for once?! I hear Duke is looking for a new fan! Or maybe you'd like to support the new D-1 team in town?

All I know is we don't need pretend fans. You're either in the boat and rowing or you're getting in our way. You sound miserable. Now's the time to make the decision before they just disappoint you again.
 



MennoSota

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Can you imagine having the "Destined to Fail" attitude in your real life? You're in sales, the last 4 days, people said "No". Do you go into your next call assuming this guy is going to say "No" as well? Of course not! If you go into anything assuming some level of failure, you can't win. Most people who do well in whatever career they're in generally have a philosophy to avoid the "assume something will go wrong" types like a plague. Why? Because those types generally flounder around in the average to slightly below average level and have a tendency to drag others down with them.

It would be kinda interesting to see how the biggest mopers on this site are doing in whatever career they have or had. Are they highly regarded nationally or even regionally ("the one guy in Minnesota you want to be helping you" type), even a star in their county, or are they just one of a thousand interchangable guys in their business.
Are you openly dissing the "Common Man?!" 😏
 


leib0039

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Fans need to show up and be engaged with the program and athletic department. Negative fans help steer local recruits away from the Gophers with their pansy a55 whining. A strong, passionate, and positive fan base make a HUGE difference.

Fans need to look at each season as a fresh start- not look at championship droughts and lack of recent success. Heck- there are 'fans' already asserting that this is another terrible year and that our recruits are all 2nd and 3rd tier. What a load of BS. Let's see them in action before judging.

I can't be at the homecoming game this Saturday but I sure hope that we get some cheers going for Evans and show him that Gopher fans care about this team. Go Gophers!
I agree it doesn't hurt to have full stands and be engaged, but its not nearly as important as you make it. I will give you Nebraska football as a prime example. They sell out EVERYTHING football related, they are by all accounts a hugely interactive and positive group. Hasn't helped them get anyone of note or sway kids.

I would hazard a guess that 95% of recruiting trips end with the kid going "wow they LOVE me at school x!" I doubt any go well last year they had 5,000 fans a game and this school got 8000 well i know where im going!
 

Angry

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Take the good with the bad. Most of the rubes here think our football team is going to make the CFP. You can’t get much more positive than that.
 

MRJ

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I will simply offer this advice if Ben wants us all to get over the "woe is me" Minnesota sports mindset: Do something in the Big 10 or make the NCAA Tournament. Discussing the fans' "woe is me" mindset after finishing dead last in the league isn't going to cut it. Want some positive vibes? Do something truly positive on the court. Simple.
 

bga1

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I will simply offer this advice if Ben wants us all to get over the "woe is me" Minnesota sports mindset: Do something in the Big 10 or make the NCAA Tournament. Discussing the fans' "woe is me" mindset after finishing dead last in the league isn't going to cut it. Want some positive vibes? Do something truly positive on the court. Simple.
I was at a small event where Ben spoke yesterday. He was very impressive. I came away more confident that he is going to get this done in a big way. It WILL take fans getting behind the program to put this thing over the top.
 

GopherBlood666

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What are you talking about? I never said fans owe the program anything.

The point of my post and of Coach Johnson's press conference is that whining about the past does absolutely nothing to help set the table for success in the future.

40 years of mediocrity?! Did you throw away all of your Final Four memorabilia just because the NCAA told the U to take down the banner?!

I have seen a lot of fantastic basketball over the last 20 years. While we haven't hoisted the hardware, they've made the tournament 6x during that time. 9 of those seasons included at least 20 wins and included some exciting basketball.

Even the 'disaster' of last season included an undefeated non-con including some clutch victories and some nice victories and competitive games in the conference season. Heck, Pitino's last season included 5 wins over ranked opponents. EACH season ALWAYS includes some quality basketball entertainment.

If the Gophers' success means so little to you, please go take your 'business' to another team. Why not be happy for once?! I hear Duke is looking for a new fan! Or maybe you'd like to support the new D-1 team in town?

All I know is we don't need pretend fans. You're either in the boat and rowing or you're getting in our way. You sound miserable. Now's the time to make the decision before they just disappoint you again.
"I never said fans owe the program anything."
"All I know is we don't need pretend fans. You're either in the boat and rowing or you're getting in our way."
It's weird how you could make these statements in the same post and not realize your own hypocrisy. My at home work space is completely decked out with Gopher paraphernalia, including the autograph I got from Trevor Winter when I was 10. My statements were aimed at the casual fan who has several sports options in this town. This is who the Gophers need to grab, and they'll only do it by winning, and winning consistently. You sure make a lot of negative assumptions about others for someone ragging on everyone else for not being positive enough.
 

Chico Gopher

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Are you openly dissing the "Common Man?!" 😏
I will say that I tend to avoid people who assume the worst, start to lose hope when a couple of things go wrong, and generally have a negative outlook as opposed to a positive outlook. My experience is that people who expect the worst, generally get the worst and those who stay positive generally, eventually see some success.

People who were constantly discouraged, quick to criticize, never really helped make anything better for me or any situations I've ever been involved with. Those who were encouraging & positive were generally helpful in some way. Of course, that's just me. Maybe Negative Nancy's help other people achieve success. All I know is, that if was 0 for my last 10, walking to the plate assuming that I probably won't get a hit this time either was never a good mindset for success.
 

goldenboy

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If you don’t want your fans to be “woe is me,” don’t finish last in the conference; don’t let your top in-state recruit spurn you for your rival to the East. Show your fans you can be successful. As a start, get better every year.
 

Gopherfan84

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There is a difference in MN fandom compared to others. I didn’t know it until I met people who weren’t MN fans in my travels and they’ve pointed it out as an outlier trait. The difference here is the idea that are bad teams are the reason we carry that stupid mindset. This is most commonly a MN thing and it’s done with most of our sports teams. This isn’t as common in Wisconsin even.
 

ecoperson

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If you don’t want your fans to be “woe is me,” don’t finish last in the conference; don’t let your top in-state recruit spurn you for your rival to the East. Show your fans you can be successful. As a start, get better every year.
Winter is most certainly not the top in-state recruit. Chatman committed to OSU, another rival to the East. instead!

Until you back up the Brinks truck with all of your cash for NIL deals, Johnson can only do so much. He could be the best coach in the land but he won't be able to reel in the whoppers if he is using $50 bills while other coaches are dangling $100s.

Johnson is just starting his second year after what can only be called unique and rare conditions in his first.

Many 'fans' on this board are not willing to give Johnson and this team a chance to show that they can be successful and get better every year. They have already pre-judged this season to be another lost cause and that our recruits are 2nd and 3rd tier.
 

ecoperson

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"I never said fans owe the program anything."
"All I know is we don't need pretend fans. You're either in the boat and rowing or you're getting in our way."
It's weird how you could make these statements in the same post and not realize your own hypocrisy. My at home work space is completely decked out with Gopher paraphernalia, including the autograph I got from Trevor Winter when I was 10. My statements were aimed at the casual fan who has several sports options in this town. This is who the Gophers need to grab, and they'll only do it by winning, and winning consistently. You sure make a lot of negative assumptions about others for someone ragging on everyone else for not being positive enough.
Those first two statements are mutually exclusive. Fans don't owe anything but it sure doesn't help to have people writing off a team before they've played a game. The non-stop negativity is sickening and disgusting.

I can guarantee that a local like Nolan Winter sees all of the negativity in the fan base and that makes staying home just a little less interesting. Many kids dream of being a hometown hero but the negative attitude of the 'fans' here makes this much less appealing. Why would a local kid want to be put it all on the line for a bunch of Eeyores who assume the worst?

I have lived and gotten engaged in the sports scene in cities all across the country. Many of these cities have had successful teams and many have had perennial losers. Only in MN do so many 'fans' around the water cooler write off a season before it begins. In EVERY other town, hope springs eternal at the start of each season.

In EVERY one of these other towns, there are hometown kids who relish playing in front of the hometown fans because they are loyal, enthusiastic and optimistic. There are a million reasons for a hometown kid to want to leave, why do our pessimistic 'fans' have to be one of them?

In the meantime, let's give Johnson a second year to see what he can do. He's not being fired this year or next unless things go off the rails. Maybe if you and some others maintain even a neutral attitude about the season instead of a pessimistic one, you will be pleasantly surprised at the product and can maybe enjoy a game or two this season.
 

ecoperson

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I will simply offer this advice if Ben wants us all to get over the "woe is me" Minnesota sports mindset: Do something in the Big 10 or make the NCAA Tournament. Discussing the fans' "woe is me" mindset after finishing dead last in the league isn't going to cut it. Want some positive vibes? Do something truly positive on the court. Simple.
First, Johnson was referring primarily to 'woe' regarding the injuries to Fox and Ihnen. He wanted to ensure that the team did not get too down on this and looked to the future. He expanded this to his general mindset about acknowledging what has happened but looking forward.

Johnson literally just fired up official practices for his 2nd year! He is not Pitino and shouldn't be burdened by his predecessor's lack of success and continuity.

Johnson walked into a whirlwind as a first time head coach when the NCAA allowed free transfers. He lost all but one player to the portal. Within a few months of being hired, he cobbled together a roster in year one that looked seriously undermanned. EVERY media outlet predicted the Gophers would finish in last with many predicting record futility.

But the team instead went undefeated in the non-con including against some solid opponents. Despite the limited roster and injuries, this team beat some decent teams, played close with some great teams, and never looked out of place during the conference season. Where most thought that every game would be lost by 30+, they instead were in all but a few games.

Johnson went 13-17 in year 1. For those that must carry forward Pitino's legacy, his teams were only marginally better the previous 2 years by finishing with records of 14-15 and 15-16.

The team set a foundation of solid defense and always kept fighting. They showed glimpses of a competitive system that we haven't seen for quite a while.

Would you be willing to let Johnson and the team start year 2 and at least row the boat with us for a little while before jumping out and swimming for shore? That's all I ask.
 

GopherBlood666

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Those first two statements are mutually exclusive. Fans don't owe anything but it sure doesn't help to have people writing off a team before they've played a game. The non-stop negativity is sickening and disgusting.

I can guarantee that a local like Nolan Winter sees all of the negativity in the fan base and that makes staying home just a little less interesting. Many kids dream of being a hometown hero but the negative attitude of the 'fans' here makes this much less appealing. Why would a local kid want to be put it all on the line for a bunch of Eeyores who assume the worst?

I have lived and gotten engaged in the sports scene in cities all across the country. Many of these cities have had successful teams and many have had perennial losers. Only in MN do so many 'fans' around the water cooler write off a season before it begins. In EVERY other town, hope springs eternal at the start of each season.

In EVERY one of these other towns, there are hometown kids who relish playing in front of the hometown fans because they are loyal, enthusiastic and optimistic. There are a million reasons for a hometown kid to want to leave, why do our pessimistic 'fans' have to be one of them?

In the meantime, let's give Johnson a second year to see what he can do. He's not being fired this year or next unless things go off the rails. Maybe if you and some others maintain even a neutral attitude about the season instead of a pessimistic one, you will be pleasantly surprised at the product and can maybe enjoy a game or two this season.
Where did I say I was writing this season off and where was I negative about the prospects of this season? GH is not the place to be fighting these negative fan demons, just by being here we are way more engaged than the casual fan.
 

MRJ

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First, Johnson was referring primarily to 'woe' regarding the injuries to Fox and Ihnen. He wanted to ensure that the team did not get too down on this and looked to the future. He expanded this to his general mindset about acknowledging what has happened but looking forward.

Johnson literally just fired up official practices for his 2nd year! He is not Pitino and shouldn't be burdened by his predecessor's lack of success and continuity.

Johnson walked into a whirlwind as a first time head coach when the NCAA allowed free transfers. He lost all but one player to the portal. Within a few months of being hired, he cobbled together a roster in year one that looked seriously undermanned. EVERY media outlet predicted the Gophers would finish in last with many predicting record futility.

But the team instead went undefeated in the non-con including against some solid opponents. Despite the limited roster and injuries, this team beat some decent teams, played close with some great teams, and never looked out of place during the conference season. Where most thought that every game would be lost by 30+, they instead were in all but a few games.

Johnson went 13-17 in year 1. For those that must carry forward Pitino's legacy, his teams were only marginally better the previous 2 years by finishing with records of 14-15 and 15-16.

The team set a foundation of solid defense and always kept fighting. They showed glimpses of a competitive system that we haven't seen for quite a while.

Would you be willing to let Johnson and the team start year 2 and at least row the boat with us for a little while before jumping out and swimming for shore? That's all I ask.
Of course, but I'm not willing to get on fans for being pessimistic about Minnesota sports or Gopher hoops. And if we consider a more macro view, we've heard the same spiel from the Twins a few years ago when they made the playoffs with new management and new players. As you may recall, they all claimed "we're not the teams that failed in the past." And guess what happened? They failed just as miserably as all the teams before them.

Obviously, the team itself can't take a woe is me mindset. Or at the very least, they shouldn't. But that's as far as it can be expected to go currently.

Ben definitely deserves time and he definitely will get it. But addressing Minnesota's "woe is me" attitude isn't going to change just because a second-year coach wants everyone to have a positive approach. There's too much utter failure over the decades for that mindset to simply disappear because he wants it to happen.
 

ecoperson

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Where did I say I was writing this season off and where was I negative about the prospects of this season? GH is not the place to be fighting these negative fan demons, just by being here we are way more engaged than the casual fan.
I was talking about fans in general. Sadly, you've had a long history of negative 'shots' about this, that, and the other so you get lumped in with the BBs, and OOs of the world. I noticed your shift primarily around the time that Johnson was hired. You seem to now go out of your way to post cynical one-liners without adding the more nuanced value that I thought you did before.
 

Dave H

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If you don’t want your fans to be “woe is me,” don’t finish last in the conference; don’t let your top in-state recruit spurn you for your rival to the East. Show your fans you can be successful. As a start, get better every year.

Can he coach his second year first?

I remember when half the football board said the same thing about PJ...now they all spout the same catchphrases about "improving your best" they hated at first. How about instead of just crying like a 4 year old because a player got hurt you just wait and see how things play out?

I have no idea how the year will go or if Ben is a good coach or bad...but I am not going to pretend there is some voodoo curse on Minnesota sports because of a couple of knee injuries. We are hardly the only team dealing with injuries we just whine about them more than most because we are fragile. I applaud Ben for calling that out and hoping we can be better.
 




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