Thursday, January 19, 2012

On Sports Loyalties...

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not a fan of the Redskins, although I do count fans of them among my closest friends - such is the nature of living in this area for nearly twenty-three years. However, despite not liking the team and actively rooting for the Redskins to finish with double digit losses every season, I can completely respect the loyal fan who knows that this is his team, no matter what.

On that note, I was gratified to read a column by Robert McCartney in the Washington Post Metro section entitled "No Self-Respecting Redskins Fan Dares Root For the Ravens".

(However, there is a caveat to this gratification - I do NOT consider the Ravens to be in any way, shape, or form to be a 'rival' to the Redskins.  At all.  Under any circumstances.  The Redskins' rivals are the Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants.  The Ravens' rivals are the Steelers and Browns.  The fact that they play thirty miles apart is of no consequence.  They don't even play in the same conference, much less the same division.  The Olympics, for God's sake, happen as often as a Ravens-Redskins regular season game.  Ok, so that is now off my chest. Back to the regularly scheduled programming blogging.)

No adult who has selected a particular team to follow should be allowed to actively root for another team.  It's one thing to be happy for another team, or to pull for another team, but to actively root for another team as if it is one's own, is a mortal sin in the annals of sports fandom.  It irks the hell out of me for, say, an Eagles fan to 'adopt' the Packers as his 'new team' in the playoffs.  No, you are an Eagles fan, and that's that. Of course, not everyone agrees, like this guy quoted in the column...
Ben Rapisardi, 26, suggested people like that [those who root for one team and one team only -- J.L.] need professional help.

“There’s something psychologically wrong with you if you’re from Maryland, and you don’t root for the Ravens,” Rapisardi declared at Babes in Silver Spring.
That's complete and utter nonsense.  I am from Maryland, but I don't root for the Ravens.  I suggest that people who believe that they need to be beholden to artificial political borders to root for a team need to be slapped.  Don't get me wrong, the Ravens have done a marvelous job in marketing themselves as 'Maryland's Team', even co-opting the Maryland flag in some of its logos (see here for what I mean) despite the inconvenient fact the Redskins play in...Maryland.  

Ravens fans are Ravens fans, but let's not try to pretend that dual loyalties are healthy or a good thing.  I dislike the Ravens as well, mostly due to their whiny, conspiracy theorist fans and their incredibly boring style of playing football.  In the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, I know for whom I will be pulling - the Antichrist and the Pretty Boy.  I hope New England puts fifty points up on Baltimore. I will be joining Mr. McCartney and real Redskins fans everywhere in their desire for the Patriots to metaphorically piss on the Ravens' Super Bowl hopes.  

See!  There can be common ground between people like me and Redskins fans - hate on the Cowboys, hate on the Giants, and hope that the Ravens have to set up tee times by January 23rd.  

True loyalty is an underrated attribute in sports fandom, but unfortunately it seems to be slipping away in this fantasy sports universe.  Too bad.  Thankfully we have some that have kept their sanity.

Well played, Mr. McCartney.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Amen! I have been hawking this idea for years, especially working in a school with a clear majority of Ravens fans, going to school in Baltimore, and going to a college that draws the vast majority of its studens from Baltimore (despite being located inside the WASHINGTON beltway). I have had to defend my Redskins fandom for years despite the Ravens being my "hometown" team.

The bottom line is this. Everyone wants to be a winner, everyone wants to be a frontrunner. These fencesitters who are nominal Redskins fans are so starved to be a winner (like that Rapisardi guy)that they will jump off the bandwagon at the drop of a hat so they can be one. Your odds of being a winner increase if you root for more than one team. Given those odds, I could declare myself a die hard fan of all 32 teams in the NFL. I'd never lose! But for self-respecting Skins fans (and Eagles fans lest we forget and Ravens fans too), you put with with enough losing that when you do win (or if in the case of the Eagles) it feels that much sweeter, and THAT makes it worth heartache.