What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
On the last episode of the Blast-Cast with J-Dub and Meehan, J-Dub was posed a question about his loyalty in terms of being a fan of a certain team. That conversation quickly turned into an analogy between being a fan of multiple teams and the illusory nature of monogamous relationships. It may not be pretty, but people cheat on their significant others, and they cheat on their sports teams as well. Instead of wasting time about denying this ugly reality, its’ time for another Dubsism public service.
What’s funny in all of this is that while this conversation started about football, it is actually in baseball where J-Dub has a serious case of split loyalties; he is a fan of both the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Angels. How this happened isn’t all that important for now, those details will be coming in an upcoming installment of Tales of Depression and Sorrow. The short answer for purposes of this discussion is that J-Dub grew up in Southern California in the 1970’s, an era when the Dodgers were full of loathable characters like Tommy Lasorda and Steve Garvey, and the Angels were the hometown alternative. The Twins then and now have had a long history of providing the Orange County 9 some of their best players.
Having said all that, much like marriage puts a structure to this issue in terms of relationships, we are going to do the same with sports fandom.
I. General Rule
While multiples allegiances are allowed, there is a strict hierarchy which must be observed. There are 3 allowable levels.
1) “Favorite” – You must have a designated “favorite.” In terms of the conversation between Meehan and I during the podcast, this meas your “wife.” This means that if you have two or more teams with whom you have allegiances, you must clearly pick one to support should they meet at any time. Once you are over the age of 21, you are not allowed to change your “favorite” until the team is sold, relocated, or makes such a bad personnel decision that severing all ties is mandatory. Once you make this move with a “favorite,” you must then hate this team like an ex-wife who took all your stuff.
2) “Next Best” – If you want to think of this in terms of “favorites,” then this category is for the “second best” or “other favorite.” For purposes of the marriage analogy, think of this category as the “mistress.” Think of the movie “Goodfellas.” There’s two scenes that illustrate this point. the first is when Ray Liotta’s character (Henry Hill) is is out at a nightclub with his future wife, and every other wiseguy in the place is with their “mistresses.”
“Friday night at the Copa was for the wives, but Saturday night was for the girlfriends.”
In other words, if you are going to live a double life, you’ve got to figure out how not to get you action mixed. In J-Dubs’ case, this is exemplified by the 2002 American League Championship Series when the Angles faced the Twins. J-Dub was forced to make a decision, and he went with the Angels, if for no other reason that the Twins had already brought home two World Series trophies in his lifetime and it was time for the Angels to do the same.
The second is when Henry is holed up hiding from his wife at his girlfriend’s apartment and Paulie (Paul Sorvino) comes to see him with a short, but simple message.
“You don’t have to go back today, but you have to go back.”
When done correctly, sports and sex are both all about fun, but the bottom line is that at some point, you have to commit to something and stick with it.
3) “The Fling” – This is exactly what you think it is, that sort of relationship that is more than a one-night stand, but you aren’t in it long enough to start leaving an extra toothbrush at her place. In other words, here’s a team you like to watch, but you aren’t going to either leave your team, buy any of their gear, or tell your mother about it. Like J-Dub told Meehan during the Blast-Cast, he had a fling with the 49ers in the mid-1980’s when the Eagles were in the doldrums between Dick Vermiel and Buddy Ryan, and when San Francisco was the most entertaining team in the league to watch.
It faded as quickly as it started, and thanks to that cream from the free clinic, so did the rash.
II. Definition of “Allegiance”
An “allegiance” is the act of taking a vested interest in the performance of a particular team over an extended period of time. This includes watching, supporting, and wearing gear from a particular team. This does not include teams on which you have gambled, teams which have your fantasy players on them, or teams you’ve pretended to like because a woman you wanted to bang liked them.
This also does not include cheering for a team playing a team you hate.
III. Allowable Allegiances
1) You can pick any team for any reason as your “favorite.”
2) For any additional allegiances, you must observe the following conditions.
IV. Disallowed Allegiances
Allegiances of any kind are strictly forbidden for any team which falls into any of the following categories:
1) They are a rival of a team you to which you already have an allegiance. You cannot be both a Yankees and a Red Sox fan. You cannot be both a Packers and a Bears fan. To do so is a violation of nature and you should be banished from the sports world altogether. The only exception to this is that rare case in which the “relative/close friend” rule applies on both sides. Even then, being seen in public in those stupid “half and half ” jerseys is NEVER allowed.
2) Your only connection to the team is it contains one of your fantasy players.
3) Bandwagon jumping is strictly prohibited. Suddenly becoming a fan of a winning team just because they are winning is a banishment-level offense.
There should be a special condition for fans of teams like the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Vikings, and Vancouver Canucks. Fans of these teams shouldn’t be allowed any relief from the sad choices they have made; once you picked a team that you know for a fact will never win a goddamn thing in your lifetime, you should be forced to live with that decision. Besides, this is exactly why a Toronto Maple Leafs fan who died had his pallbearers all wear Maple Leafs jerseys so the team could “let him down one last time.”
We decided against that because there’s a reason why pencils have erasers, and there’s a reason why marriage has divorce. We really want to be as inclusive as we can be here; nobody really deserves the decades of skull-fuckery being hopelessly stuck in a bad marriage brings. Not to mention, J-Dub is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and that’s a team that couldn’t even win one of those little bullshit scratch-off games games fast-food restaurants have. Forget a Super Bowl, the Eagles couldn’t even win a free order of fries.
On top of that, to exclude anybody means why even come up with these rules in the first place? After all, the whole point is to add some structure to what is going to happen anyway; that way there’s nothing sordid about openly rooting for more than one team. All we ask is that you be a real fan; that you know your teams inside and out lest you be accused of breaking the rules of sports fan decency.