Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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Fandom is a complicated thing. For any number of reasons, we attach ourselves to a group of people that get paid to play a sport. Geography, sentimentality, family history, peer pressure, and good old-fashioned television viewing access can have an impact on what teams we root for.
Often, over the course of a long season, our team’s performance can cause our devotion to waiver. We begin casting lustful eyes at the uniforms and stadiums of other teams and then we start to daydream about what the thrill of victory must feel like for these lucky fans. If nothing else, we know that as fans, we can be a mighty fickle bunch.
As our feelings begin to shift towards another team, we seem to guilt ourselves for not being true to our teams. You’d think we were married to them or something! There’s no certificate of fandom on file down at city hall, so why does this always feel so dirty? Surely there must be some way to separate ourselves from our teams if they have hurt us too many times. Surely there must be some sort of etiquette for situations just like this. Well, at least by the end of this post, there will be.
For starters, we typically choose our sports teams based on geography, family history, and television. We will develop our team leaving etiquette on those three factors.
Rule #1 – Geography – If you are living in the same area in which you were born and you initially chose that team from an early age, you may not leave that team until you move to a new team’s vicinity. This rule has been the bane of many an Ohioan’s existence for years, as many of them chose “The Tribe” when they were too young to know any better.
Rule #2 – Geography Part 2 – If you, for whatever reason, are a fan of a team from another geographical area and you feel you can no longer support that team, you must choose the team from the market you currently live in. In my case, having violated Rule #1 by ditching the Indians to become a Cubs fan, my only recourse is to switch to one of the Ohio teams if my relationship with the Cubs begins to sour. Since I live north of I-70, I must root for the Indians. People must exercise caution here, because often times, like in my case, switching teams take you from one ugly wife to another. (To clear myself of any metaphorical bleed over, my actual wife is beautiful!)
Rule #3 – Family History – If your family roots for a particular team, it behooves you to do the same. Failure to do so may result in shame, exile, and forfeiture of any inheritance to which you may have otherwise been entitled. However, if your family seems to root for many different teams (as mine did…hence why I am a Cubs fan) you may choose your own team from the selection that your family has established. Going outside that list may carry the above consequences.
Rule #4 – Family History Part 2 – If your family roots for multiple teams, you may switch between any team on that list as you see fit, provided you own at least one hat of the team to which you are switching.
Rule #5 – Television Availability – You may choose from any of the teams that receive consistent television coverage in your area. Not ESPN coverage once a week, but a dedicated local channel that picks up a majority of the season’s games.
Rule #6 – Relocation – If your team moves from your area…you are free. They left you, so find the proverbial hotter girl and go to town!
This is obviously a limited list. What other rules can you think of for choosing a team? Let us know. We may have to make an official rule poster that we can frame and hang in the Podcast studio for all to see.