As many lifelong fans of any sports team know, being a diehard, true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool - and any other trite, descriptive, word you can come up with for who we are - fan can be challenging. Especially when your team is losing.

Of course, even when your team is doing well it can be difficult because, as every Cowboys-hater knows, it is way easier to hate the Cowboys when they are winning, and, for Cowboys fans, dealing with Cowboys-haters can be a struggle.

Being a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan, it's fun to cheer them on as they demolish teams that stand in the way of Super Bowl dreams, but it hasn't always been that way.

There were times, both before and after Super Bowl XL that, being a Seahawks fan has not been fun, but I've stuck with them.

Sticking with a pro team, or even a college team, through the losing times is a little easier though than watching your favorite high school program lose year after year.

I was born and raised in Monmouth and have been a Central Panthers fan my entire life, but when I brought my family to live in Brookings, I became a Bruins' fan - a Bruins' fan for life.

What do I do though - what do We do - when the Bruins are losing?

It's horrible.

Right now, it's the football and volleyball teams. Both struggle to find victory and fans of both struggle to find ways to support the teams without groaning every time the schedule reminds us that they are going to play again.

First of all, it's important to remember that we are long-term fans. We have a responsibility to be there no matter whether they win or lose.

Second, it's important to be honest. Let them know that you realize how much it blows chunks to get hammered by a team that has no place being in the Far West League and that you can feel a bit of the pain they are going through.

Just as you're honest in your empathy, be honest in your cheering. Help them to realize that if they've given their best effort to a particular game and still got beat that they must work harder in practice. They must forget the pain of the past and work for the victory of the future. Help them to realize that part of winning is losing.

Watching young people become men and women as they grow, through sports, can be an amazing and agonizing process. We, as fans, have a responsibility to support our team, and the athletes on it, no matter the score, no matter the OSAA ranking, no matter the outcome.