I've been thinking along these lines for quite some time, but finally have gotten around to sharing it with others.
I'd like to take a few minutes to encourage my fellow young Reds fans. I don't think it takes a genious to deduce that the last 10 years (give or take) have been very rough in term of relation to the rest of club history. Since we're looking at us fans under the age of 25 however, lets take a look at things from 1981 up until today:
13 losing seasons, including two 90 loss campaigns and one 100 loss season.
14 of the last 25 seasons have ended with the Reds trailing the division leader by 10+ games, seven times they've finished 20+ games back and once they've finished 30 games back.
Most, if not all of the positive situations of the last 25 years in Reds history happened before many of us were old enough to understand what was going on. Most of us probably don't remember anything at all about the 1990 World Championship simply because we were too young. Some might remember the 1995 playoff appearance, but most probably not.
Let's face it, many of our Reds memories are formed over the past 10 years of action and that time period has been one of the worst in franchise history. In that time span, we have witnessed exactly two winning seasons (not counting the 144 game 1995 schedule). Many of these losing seasons have been so much more than just losing seasons. Most of them were flat out painful to watch. I believe (and there are pleanty of threads around here covering this) that this recent run of futile Reds pitching is the worst in franchise history. Think about that folks....in all of franchise history. That's bad.
Now we have had a few memorable occasions over the past 10 years or so. We've been witness to the birth of potentially one of the greatest power hitters this team has ever known. We were all taken on that magic carpet ride that was the 1999 season. Even though things haven't worked out as we probably would have liked, February 10, 2000 was a day most of us as Reds fans will remember for the rest of our lives. That day eventually led to another one of our positive memories when Ken Griffey, Jr. joined one of the most elite groups ever in this great game of baseball when he hit his 500th career homerun. I'm sure others will have positive memories of thier own, these are just the ones that jumped into my mind.
I, myself, just turned 21 years old. I can speak from personal experience that many people our age just root for winners. I know more Yankees and Patriots "fans" than I'd care to know. It's easy to root for a winning team, but it takes character to root for struggling teams.
Don't ever be ashamed to be a fan of the Cincinnati Reds. I'm sure many of you at some point or another have been made fun of or ridiculed for being a fan of such a percieved awful team. I am no different in the slightest. It was almost a daily occurance in high school for someone (teacher or student) to say something along the lines of how bad the Reds were. But every single time someone would say something to me about it, I'd just smile and say "someday..." I hope you all do/did the same. It's much like having a disabled family member. People are going to stare and possibly even snicker, but you love that family member more than anything else in the world and are proud to say you are related to him/her. If the Reds hold as big a place in your hearts as they do mine, don't ever be ashamed to be proud to be a Reds fan...thick or thin.
All this ramble leads me to the point of this thread. Our best years as young Reds fans are undoubtedly in front of us. Us under 25 years old have a ton of baseball left to watch in our lives. It's been rough for us over most of our lives of being Reds fans.
Take heart in the fact that eventually things will get better for this franchise and we'll be right there to cheer it on.
Stay true to your team. Stay true to your love of the game of baseball. We will all be better baseball fans for having gone through this rough stretch and it will make the glory of victory that much better. To get to the good, many times you have to go through the bad but the bad makes the good feel so much better.
Losing doesn't feel good. I'm not telling people to accept losing and not be mad about it. Just trying to convey the opinion that you should never give up on something that means so much to you just because it might be the fashionable thing to do.
In closing (and I know I could have just said this at the very beginnging and been done with it), our best years are ahead of us!!!