So Lance Armstrong finished 3rd in the 2009 Tour de France. And the 7-time champ is OK with that. In fact, he said it's probably good for his kids to see him finish 3rd.
It's not a bad philosophy overall: Winning ain't everything. It's a goal, but (a) the effort is more important, and (b) sometimes someone else is better.
The same applies to rooting for a team: If your expectation is "title or bust," most fans will be very disappointed. I'm not saying that's wrong, btw. I see it from two perspectives:
One of the things that drew me to Florida was the ridiculously high expectations -- anything less than a national title in football this season would disappoint me beyond belief.
As a Northwestern fan in the early-90s, however, all I wanted was to be competitive in games -- not get blown out. Any win was a good win, and a .500 season -- a bowl game! -- was the dream.
That's part of what made the miracle 1995 season so great -- not only was there a bowl game, but the freaking Rose Bowl -- but I think most NU fans are content with "bowl season."
If you're a Mariners fan, 3rd place might feel pretty good this year, all things considered. If you're a Yankees or Red Sox fan, it is utter disaster.
Expectations are everything. Something to keep in mind when you're teaching your kids about fandom.