Monday, February 03, 2014

Choosing Whom to Root For

There's a very interesting article here on picking teams to cheer for.  The author is moving to NYC and casually said that he might end up a Yankees fan.  (I looked past the senseless political bashing.)  This has led him to ask questions about choosing teams.  It leads him to some interesting places.
I am not saying that it is terribly difficult to start supporting a team. It’s just that it demands more than an impartial approval of the team’s merits. You need to sign up to the mission. You need to add a new commitment to the other projects that define your life. I’m not sure that there any rules about how we acquire our projects. Many of them come with growing up. Later in life we lose old ones and find new ones. It depends on what interests and attracts us, on where and how we live, on who we hang out with. 
 There's a lot of truth to this.  In a very real way, Viking and Packer fans are simply different.  The history of the two teams have created two different cultures.  Packer fans are optimistic, while Viking fans are ready for disappointment.  When Aaron Rodgers got injured this season, Packer fans became almost sick at their new level of QB play.  Meanwhile, Viking fans have become bitterly resigned to poor QB play.  This is a very specific example, but you can see it long term.  Talk to fans from either team next summer and you'll see what I mean.  
Does this mean that by raising my kids as Viking fans, I'll be raising them to have some fear of disappointment?  That's probably the way to bet.  Meanwhile if I lived about 100 miles further east, they'd be in Packer land and maybe come to expect winning as some kind of birthright.  
Not that I regret my choices.  As a fan, I sometimes believe that there is nobility in suffering.  Or let me put it this way: the 2005 White Sox meant more to me than any individual Yankee team did to their fans.  That's not a bad thing.

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