Why my Sports Teams are My Team

I was watching the Braves play the Cardinals yesterday and one of the Cardinals announcers said that he had always followed winning teams, so his fandom changed based on who was good. When Lebron signed with the Lakers yesterday I’m sure they picked up new fans who just follow wherever Lebron goes. I think the idea of changing favorite teams is weird. I can see having new interest in a team based on a new player, but not changing teams. Same with a personal move to a new city. I do have an odd collection of favorite teams. Here they are and why I’m a fan:

College Football and Basketball – University of Kentucky Wildcats – I grew up in Kentucky and attended UK for both undergrad and grad school. I watched the basketball games when I was a kid. I attended football and basketball games as a student. As a student. I had multiple classes with players from both teams. They will always be my team no matter where I live.

MLB – Atlanta Braves – I’ve always been a baseball fan. There is no team in Kentucky. I think a lot of people are fans of Cincinnati or St. Louis because they are the closest. I didn’t really have a team until TBS arrived and started airing Braves games. We started watching the Braves because all of the games were on TV. They were really bad, but we watched anyway. I was finally rewarded for my loyalty when they went through a stretch of being one of the best teams in the game. I stuck with them when they got bad again and am now enjoying a season where they are back in first place.

NFL – Baltimore Ravens – I didn’t really get invested in an NFL team as a kid. I don’t even remember watching much football. When we moved to the DC area, nothing about the Redskins made me want to change that. I didn’t start watching the Ravens when they fist came to town. It took a few years for me to start watching and then I was hooked and I’m now a season ticket owner(though I am trying to sell them)

NBA – Washington Wizards – This is the one where I can say I started watching because of a player, but at least they are local. I am a basketball fan, but never really watched the NBA. Since Calipari has been at UK there have been a lot of UK guys in the NBA. One of those is John Wall who was my favorite player on Calipari’s first team. He was drafted y our local team. It still took a while for me to become a fan of the team, but I’m there now. I have no idea if my interest will end when Wall leaves.

NHL – I just can’t get in to hockey. I don’t know why.

Those are my teams. I don’t expect it ti change. If Wall leaves Washington it’s more likely that I will watch less NBA than it is for me to pick a new team.

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The Worst Thing About Sports

There are many things written about what is wrong with sports. I think the worst thing about sports(except maybe people who write about what’s wrong with sports) is  the fans. Most normal people like me(ha) enjoy watching the games and then go on with our lives. We may scream at the TV and the officials when the game is being played. We might post random stuff on Facebook during the game expressing pleasure or displeasure about the results. We might even have players, coaches and officials we don’t like for whatever reason(although I don’t still hate Christian Laettner). What we don’t do, however, is go to the insane level some people do. Below are a few examples:

Ashley Judd(I love her) posted on Twitter after the SEC championship game that she thought Arkansas played dirty. I’m not sure I agree with that, but she has a right to express her opinion. What followed was a stream of replies on Twitter calling her names and threatening her. She has vowed to press charges against these people and I hope she does.

Saturday UK played Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a player with anger management issues stemming from a childhood tragedy. He was ejected from the previous game and many people felt he should not have been allowed to play in the UK game. There were some instance during the UK game when it looked like he might be heading toward another ejection. Some people in the UK fan base couldn’t just let it go after the win. They tweeted insults to the player after the game. I’m embarrassed that they are associated with my school.

It’s not just casual fans either. During the Maryland/WVU game, the WVU coach’s daughters tweeted negative things about Dez Wells and the accusations against him at Xavier. He was accused of sexual assault, kicked out of school, later acquitted and settled out of court in a lawsuit against the school.

Fans have always been fanatical, hence the name, but social media has unfortunately made it easier for fans to directly target players, coaches and other fans. Here are some rules to live by:

1. Remember these players are people. In the above cases they are college kids. They are someone’s kid. Would you want people to say those things to your kid? No? Then don’t say it to others.

2. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on Twitter. Too many people have internet courage. They feel free to do stuff like this because they are somewhat anonymous and don’t expect consequences.

3. Remember it is just a game. It’s supposed to be fun. If you care so much that you are doing the above, re-evaluate your  life priorities.

4. If you do stuff like this in real life and your internet life is just reflecting you seek help.