How to be a sports fan

Every time the New England Patriots or the Boston Red Sox are in the limelight, I always see negative Facebook status updates blasting my feed. Sometimes people even blast the Celtics, but I like to think I don’t tend to notice when that happens because people realize basketball is an awful sport run by an even more awful organization at the pro level. (As for the Boston Bruins, well, come on. Most people think hockey is either boring or just fighting. No one really cares about seeing constant action, what with how the hugely successful NFL and NBA are horribly run today – flag, flag, time-out, time-out, flag, gun fight, flag, time-out, dog fight, flag, time-out, time-out, TV time-out!)

Anyway. The reason this all stands out to me is that I’m from Maine. I’m a New Englander. And so are most of my friends. So I expect to see a heavy bias towards New England teams. But instead I have a Dallas fan, apparently Jets fans, Yankees fans, and sometimes just anti-New England teams fans. But are most of these people really good sports fans?

I’ve got to say no. And I think a recent comment in my feed from one real sports fan (who was at Disney World at the time) to another sums it all up:

I saw a guy here with a Lakers shirt, Yankees hat, and a Penguins pin. I wanted to ask if he liked the bandwagon ride at Disney.

That’s what most of these “fans” are: riders on the bandwagon. Very rarely do I see somebody making a spring training status update about how the Oakland A’s or Seattle Mariners are looking in the upcoming season. No, instead I just see people talking about all the teams that have either historically been great or that have recently been great. Hell, of the few hockey fans on my friends list, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Red Wings base out there – despite no one on my list being from Detroit.

Now, if there was a Red Wings base on my friends list and it was composed of people from near Detroit, it would be a little annoying, but it would also be so refreshing. Finally, some people who give a damn about their location. Because, really, that is the most appropriate basis for becoming a fan. That doesn’t mean everyone from Maine needs to be a Bruins fan or a Red Sox fan. I grew up with a die-hard Yankees lover. But his whole family was from New York. And then he went to NYU. And he loves New York City. I can accept that he likes an organization of assholes. But what does everyone else have to say? I can tell you what: nothing. They aren’t really fans of an organization; they’re just riding the bandwagon. (The worst are the people who like New York teams with no connection to the area. Come on, you jackholes. Of course those are going to historically be the best teams. They have the biggest audience from which to draw, and therefore the most money to spend on the best players. Don’t act like the Yankees are some sort of geniuses when they sign a Teixeira or a Sabathia.)

And yes, some questions spring from the location criteria. What about places with a couple of teams or people who live roughly equal distance from areas with teams? Is it okay to jump on the bandwagon then? Really? You’re asking that? NO. You never jump on the bandwagon. You pick a team based on some rational criteria. For instance, the Mets or the Yankees? Go with which league you like better. Since I don’t like boring baseball that gives an unfair advantage to the pitcher, thereby making every single pitching record just a little hollow, I tend to go with the American League and its designated hitter. But to each his own.

When it comes down to it, I find it impossible to respect a sports fan who praises some team half way across the country simply because that team has done or is doing well.

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2 Responses

  1. If people did support their hometown teams more often, they could give insight to the players on how to perfect their skills. People watching from the audience can see flaws faster than those playing.

    I think it’s best to go with a team that actually has talent instead of just going with a team that has been historically good all the time.

    People should support their own teams. That’s what makes the sport interesting. But simply going with a team because everybody else does is ridiculous.

  2. Michael, I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, I’ve blogged about this very same issue. I am unable to discuss sports with my brother-in-law for this very reason. He was born and raised and lived his whole life in Maine, and he enthusiastically follows the Lakers, the Steelers, the Penguins, and ignores baseball. He is vocal about his affiliations. You know, come to think of it, this odd behavior makes it difficult for me to talk to him about anything.

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