Sports fans tend to have a set of unwritten rules; they’re things fans generally agree on, and fans may be looked down upon for breaking one of these unofficial rules.
For my column today, I’d like to share a few of my unofficial rules to being a sports fan.
If you’re from a city that has a team, you have to support them: I saw on Facebook the other day that one of my friends had posted about hating the Detroit Tigers, because they knocked out “his” Chicago White Sox. The problem with this is the fact that my friend is from Southern California, right between Anaheim and Los Angeles, and therefore should be either an Angels fan or a Dodgers fan.
Nothing, though, will make me angrier than seeing Miami Heat jerseys in Utah. I’m not even really that much of a Jazz fan, but it infuriates me, seeing people wear jerseys of a town they’ve probably never been to or cared about pre-Lebron James.
Exceptions: If you’re from somewhere without a team, you can pick any team to cheer for.
Switching teams is frowned upon: Once you pick a team, you’re pretty much stuck with them. There are a few exceptions where I’d say it’s acceptable to pick a new team, but for the most part, you’ve got to stick with them through thick and thin.
Exceptions: I’d say switching allegiances is a pretty serious thing to do when it comes to being a sports fan. A few acceptable reasons for switching teams that I can think of are:
You’re from somewhere without a team and moved to a place with a team. This one is probably the most acceptable. If you grew up without a hometown team, then later move to a place with a team, I’d say it’s totally acceptable to become a fan of your new city’s team.
You feel like the owners/coaching staff has abused the fanbase for a very long extended time, and decide to break ties with that team. The break would have to come after years of punishment. In the NFL, for example, I wouldn’t blame any Cleveland Browns fans for breaking up with the Browns; honestly, I’m amazed people still regularly go to their games.
If I were to ever pick a new team, I wouldn’t feel comfortable switching to a team that was higher in the league than my old team. It wouldn’t seem right to me to switch from a bottom-dwelling club to a team that was in the playoffs.
Don’t boo your team: This is something that really bothers me. It doesn’t happen all that often, but a few times a year I’ll see a clip of fans booing their team for some reason. I hate it, it drives me crazy and, under most circumstances, I don’t think it’s beneficial to the team at all.
It’s not helpful to the team. Hearing fans boo likely won’t inspire anyone to greatness or help them perform better. If anything, it is detrimental to your team to hear their fans boo them. Occasionally it can wake a team up from a bad performance, but most of the time, I don’t think it helps.
Exceptions: This could be acceptable if you’re trying to get a coach fired or an unliked player traded, or are a fan of a generally terrible team who keeps making horrible decisions, but for the most part, I would say don’t boo your team, no matter how bad it gets — unless you’re from Philadelphia, then I think it’s a requirement to boo your team at least three times a season.