The Sports Team and the Man

I like sports. I tend to prefer contact sports. Football and wrestling are my favorites, but I like and play others as well.

However, there is one illogical and ungentlemanly trap men fall into with sports—love of the team. Yes, your favorite team is the greatest team and deserves to win, even if they are 1-15 and suck. Anyone that doesn’t also bow down in reverence deserves to be punched. If this describes you, you are wrong and need to quit.

First, for the vast majority team choices are made geographically. If that is your reasoning you have no moral justification in being angry about another’s choice in team. Geography is not a basis for moral superiority. Besides, this isn’t old days where the Green Bay Packers where actually the local meatpacking plant’s team.

Suppose another team’s fans are ribbing you, or even unjustly criticizing your team. O.K. Are they right, or are they wrong? You might say they are misrepresenting the truth, but don’t pretend this is a sleight. Your choice is also based on the arbitrariness of your location, or perhaps identification. You were born in Pitt; they were born in Philly. Congrats.

However, if you do chose your team based on qualities you perceive about the team you still have no excuse for the hero worship I see many men throw their team’s way. I’d hate to be a Big Ten fan in SEC country.

Let’s assume you chose your team based on some moral quality. You think the team is a “class act,” or the fans are dedicated, or whatever. Even if you could quantify a moral superiority common to a particular region, it’s not as though they are without faults. And I’m sure you’d be wrong anyway. Athletes are not exactly known for their moral uprightness, and fans have all the evil of mankind in general.

But maybe your local team is the Eviltown Nazis, but you choose to root for Utopiapolis’s Dudley Do-Rights, which you chose solely for their demonstrable moral uprightness and local selection of athletes. They are even generally the best team in the league. How boring would the game be if there was a clear “good-guy”? It wouldn’t be a competition of the sport anymore.

Watching the Harlem Globetrotters may be entertaining, but never exciting. Every team they play is the “bad guy” who loses. The Globetrotters don’t have any real “fans” either, only spectators, because there is no mystery, only shenanigans.

So don’t get angry or despise team X because you root for team Y. Unlike the rest of life football is a zero sum game. Someone’s disappointed every game, and it’s not morality that determines it. Celebrate your differences and have fun.

Except the Raiders. I hate the Raiders.

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