Monday, August 4, 2008

My Rules of Fanhood

There are many rules in life... some matter, many more don't. In the real world, the following rules don't matter but this isn't the real world, it's the world of sports where they are of the utmost importance...

1) No sports bigamy allowed.
I cannot stress this enough... you CAN NOT be a fan of two teams in the same sport... it just doesn't work! What happens when they go head to head? A true fan supports his team regardless of the opponent but last I checked, you can't support both teams in a contest. The biggest copout is the 'fan' who says they are happy whichever team wins. How can you be a fan if you are happy your team loses!?

2) Team colors only.
This can also be referred to as the 'Pink Hat Rule.' As the Red Sox ascended to MLB dominance over the past decade, there was a rise in bandwagon fans and the ownership realized they could cash in on this by introducing pink colored apparel for these so-called fans. Unless your team had pink alternate or historical uniforms, there should be NO pink apparel whatsoever.

3) Support the local team.
If you grew up in an area that supports a professional franchise, you should support that franchise. It only makes sense to do so... it shows loyalty to your city/region while also giving you something in common with friends, coworkers and even strangers to shoot the shit about. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:

3.1) Supporting your father's/family's team. If your father supports a non-native team because he grew up in that region, it is acceptable to share his loyalties for the purposes of familial harmony and paternal bonding.

3.2) Franchise relocations. This is less common than 3.1 but still viable for older sports fans. If your team up and leaves only to be replaced years later, you are allowed to support the original franchise (though why you would want to is beyond me... they left you after all!).

3.3) Know someone on the team. I almost had this situation... a high school teammate of mine made it to the NFL as a special-teamer for a season so I followed that team (the Bills) a little more closely. Had he stayed in the league (and not been such a complete asshole) I may have had to think about changing allegiances. Thankfully it never came anywhere close to that, but I can understand why it could happen for others.

4) Know your game.
If you are gonna debate/discuss the game with fellow fans, have a clue about the history of the team, its players and the sport. Don't go spouting off with unverified facts that prove to be inaccurate or start talking about players based on the opinions of others. This is especially true when dealing with fans of a rival team since you will only serve to make your fellow fans, and thus your region, look bad.

5) Have some objectivity.
Basically, don't be an unabashed homer. There is nothing worse than the guy who says Kessel is better than Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin or any other proven non-Boston player, past or present. Just because they are your team does not mean each player is the best at his respective position... that is what the All-Star game is.

6) No comparing eras.
This relates back to 5... players from different eras cannot legitimately be compared to one another. The technology and rules of the game have progressed so dramatically with time, especially within the past two decades, that it just cannot be done. The fact that Bonds hit more home runs than Ruth does not make him the better player... for all we know, Ruth would have hit 1000+ home runs had he been born 40 years ago. Or he may not have even made it to the bigs. The point is, there is no way of knowing with all the differences between their times... just appreciate each for what they contributed to the game (or detracted in the case of Bonds).

7) Respect the past, live in the present.
This relates somewhat to #4 as you should know the history of your team and be proud of it. At the same time, don't go around boasting of the franchises successes that occurred long before you were born. This is especially true for fans of the Yankees, Canadiens and Celtics as they are clearly the historically dominant teams of their respective sports. I mean, who really cares if the Yankees won 26 titles if only 4 of them have come during the past three decades!

8) No membership card needed.
I only know of one instance where this rule can be applied but I fear there may be more in the future. The instance to which I refer is that of the recently discovered 'Red Sox Nation' (God I hate that term) and the teams implementation of membership cards. To put it simply, if you need a piece of paper to prove your fanhood, there is NO WAY you are a true fan (especially if you have to pay for it!).


Fairbs said...

Nice list. I agree on most. For 3, what if you move from one Team's town to anothers? If I moved to Toronto, there's no way I'm rooting against the Wings. Fortunately I moved to Portland, OR where people think of me as crazy for liking hockey so much.

Another rule could be supporting your Team, but not to the point of being obnoxious or violent towards other fans.

YODA from FanNation said...

Exception 3.4 --- When YOU relocate (as opposed to franchise relocation). There is a tipping point that determines at what point you have to divide loyalties between the teams in the city (or cities) where you grew up and the city you now live in (especially if you are talking about 10+ years in each place)