I suppose first I should explain my relationship with sports in general. But before I go into that, I should explain my understanding of some particular lingo points. For instance:
• A “Fan” is an individual who regularly watches games and is a constant supporter of “their” teams. They do follow individual players to an extent, but only on general terms.
• A “Real Fan” follows not just team stats, but also individual stats. They are more in-depth with their knowledge.
I’m a “Fan”. I couldn’t possibly tell you stats besides maybe a team’s Win/Loss record. Don’t get me wrong, there are some players I have tracked over the years, but it’s got nothing to do with numbers. I know the difference between Donovan McNabb’s rookie season, the height of his career, and his last two seasons. If you show me a piece of film from the Eagles in the past 14 years, I can tell you what year it was and how they ended up doing that season. But don’t ask me McNabb’s overall pass attempts that year, or his completion rating.
Honest to goodness I feel like I know enough to keep me afloat in the sports world, and I know that one day I’m going to share it with my little girl. I’ll teach her all the team names and in what league they are in across all different sports, even with sports that aren’t big in the U.S. like Rugby (Go All-Blacks!) But just like with Religion, I know that she will look at all these options and choose what works best for her, and I fully support her in doing so. I may not like where she ends up……but I support it. This brings up an interesting feeling within me that I wasn’t 100% aware of, however, and that is team pride.
Like I said, I’m a “Fan”. I have my favorite teams, my favorite players, and even secondary teams. But where it gets complicated for me is the notion of literal frustration when I think that one day my daughter might be a Cowboys fan. God help me if she ends up a Yankees fan or shows up to family dinner one day in a Patriots jersey. I start biting my nails at the thought that she’ll ever utter the phrases “Wanna go see an Avalanche game?” or “I hope the Dodgers go to the World Series”.
It goes to a player level as well. I don’t know what I’ll do if the particular name on the back of that Patriots jersey says “Brady”. I just might have the inclination to kick her out of the house. I won’t actually do it, I’ll just do what every other fan does and start a beef. But will that come between us? Will we have arguments or not even be able to look at one another whenever the Flyers play the Devils? I can’t believe this is a legitimate fear, but there it is.
Best I can figure is that this is just an extension of my inner need for tribal ownership. It’s the need to belong within a group that you feel most comfortable with, and show your pride and “one-ness” by wearing the tribe colors and shaming those who oppose your tribe. Basic human instinct to be “involved” with something bigger, and when your team wins over all others, your whole “tribe” feels and flaunts the victory.
Needless to say I’ll always support my daughter, and if we end up disagreeing about certain teams it’ll end up nothing more than a playful argument. I love her endlessly.
But for real…..no Brady jersey’s in the house.