Let me be clear; whether you root for the Baltimore Orioles or some other team, I don’t believe in being fickle when it comes to sports fandom. That’s easy for me to say as a writer who believes he should call things down the middle in a sense. But it goes deeper than that, as is generally the case.
Most people form their sports fandom at a young age, and in fact they generally tend to do so based on who their parents supported – which is generally the home team. Mind you folks, this is somewhat of a blanket statement, however I’m speaking in generalities. The point is that for most people, these sports loyalties run very deep.
Think of comedian Bill Murray, a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan who’s from the Chicagoland area. When interviewed after game seven of the World Series, Murray mentioned that he was thinking a lot about his Dad, grandfather, uncles – people with whom he had attended Cubs games as a kid. And he was wishing they were still there with him to see this. I think that’s something with which a lot of us can identify.
That aside, I saw someone on a message board saying that he was a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, and that he was switching his allegiance to a new team. Basically, he’s dropping the Browns and offering his services as a fan to whomever wanted them. And I’ve heard similar stories over time with various teams – including the Orioles. What gives?
What people are effectively saying is that they won’t support a loser. And while it makes no sense to support a loser, I think it’s a bit different in sports. Speaking for myself, it’s tough for me to turn my back on a team or tradition with which I had grown up. But…is this new “mentality” actually smarter?
People argue all the time that if enough people defect (which means that they stop going to games, buying merchandise, etc), the team will get the message and mend their ways. So…is that not in essence a smart thing to do? Could you not argue that they’re actually doing more for the team than the loyal fans who support them through thick and thin?
Those fans will make that argument for sure. And they’re within their rights to do so. Who am I to dictate how people spend their money? But my point goes back to the roots of why you rooted for that team to begin with. In my view, that’s turning your back on all of those days you spent watching that team with your family as a kid. And turning your back on your past is a tough thing.