by Shelby Blevins
All the best people I know are fans of a team. Big fans. People whose lives revolve around two colors and a mascot. These are the people who know about passion, and how to stick with something that’s not always going to be perfect. These people can go through season after season of disappointment and still buy a shower curtain or a pair of socks with their teams logo on it, just because the sight of those colors and that mascot incites the same passion within them as they felt when they first fell in love with the team. These people truly believe that despite a bad performance, or a losing season, that their team is the greatest. They believe that even if the present isn’t paying off, there’s always the hope of the future.
This love that a fan has for their team is something as inexplicable as two regular people falling in love, and words fall short of its true meaning. In my case, it is just a matter of right place and right time. And just like in real life, everyone has their love stories on how they came to be fans of a team.
For example, just like in real life, you can’t always help who you fall for.
Some of us may hate a player so much, that you eventually confuse your negative passion towards his receding hairline for admiration of his commercial with his son and just as soon as your hate arrived, it vanishes, leaving you a very confused NBA fan. You do anything in your power to stay away from the members of this team, but they’re simply everywhere… and as suddenly as 3 talented men are brought together, you can almost hear the city of Cleveland gasp as they lose another neutral NBA fan to the Heat.
And just like in real life, sometimes you find someone when you least expect it, and never let them go.
Some of us just want to be one of the boys and have a team of your very own, and your fifth grade agenda leads you to watch a show about teenagers from Wisconsin, who all love a team from the Bay. Upon further research, you fall in love with their quarterback (which won’t be the first green and gold quarterback you fall for) and all the inspiration a coach from the 60’s brought to the team. Not to mention the fact that their fans wear your favorite food on their head. It was love at first sight, and still is today. You never question how it happened, it simply did, and you can’t explain it—but the Packers stole your 11 year old heart.
Finally, in some cases, it is meant to be from the very beginning.
Some of us are born into fanhood. As soon as you enter the world (and as a brief moment of disappointment overcomes your father as he realizes you are not the boy he dreamt of) there is a blue and white unisex wardrobe awaiting you. And growing up, every time an older relative thinks it’s cute to tell you to say, “Go Cats!” they have no idea how much it sticks with you. Or when your dad takes you in his arms to your first game, and your little eyes widen at the sudden realization that you have never been in the same place with that many people in your short lifetime. When you learn the game from a team, it is almost as if they become your first true love, and every nostalgic childhood memory you’ve ever had, has some sort of blue and white connected to it. You spend your entire lifetime simply believing that the people who came before you had a love strong enough for this team that you’d be stupid not to believe in it to. You absorb every name you hear of past players, and every amazing, historic play that shook the fan base with it’s brilliance, that you only missed because you weren’t born yet.
Of course, just like any long-term relationship, there are times when you may falter. As other types of love drift in and out of your life, you may try to adopt another person’s passion in the form of a red and white bird, or a semi-new football franchise in Texas. You hold love for those teams, but it’s different. You don’t love those teams because when you sleep you dream in their colors, or because your blood pressure rises when the score is close in a game. Your love for them is out of obligation, and so it fades quickly, especially when the person you loved the team for leaves the picture.
And that’s when you realize how much your own team means to you.
Because of this, because there are many people out there who have a team they love unconditionally, I have made my decision. I want my love story to be a sports love story.
One day I’ll notice a dude, and be impressed by his performance. Maybe I’ll make fun of him for a fumble, and maybe I’ll even dislike him for his cockiness. I’ll see him every weekend, working on his game, and maybe hear about something funny he did outside of the arena I know him from. I’ll creep on his Twitter and see that he is really pretty entertaining and begrudgingly follow him, despite my uneasiness about him. Eventually, he’ll execute some SportsCenter Top 10 worthy plays and before you know it, I’ll be rooting for him. My agitation towards his team will turn to appreciation and eventually before I even realize it, I’m a fan.
And just like in real life, the love I have for that team will be inexplicable, and despite losing seasons, I’m always going to rock my lucky team undies in hopes of a better season next time around.