Fandom is interesting. Have you ever considered why you support the team(s) that you do? I know I am asked all the time about why I’m a Carolina Panthers fan considering I’m from the west coast. In fact, there are people in my family that are shocked when I root against the regional teams.
Growing up my mom was a die hard San Francisco 49ers fan and my dad was a die hard Oakland Raiders fan (they still are today). Sundays when the two teams met were always filled with cheers and boos from my parents as they took each other on. It was a great experience.
When I was 13 my aunt and uncle moved in with us for a while. They were die hard Dallas Cowboys fans, and let me tell you, as fans my parents had nothing on them. I had never seen fans so absolutely dedicated to their team. It was the first time when I found myself disliking a sports organization. I hate the Cowboys to this day. When I stop to think about it, I don’t really know why I don’t like them. All I can come up with is that my aunt and uncle planted a little seed of resentment deep inside my soul against Dallas and watered it every time they insisted that the Cowboys were the greatest team of all time. To me, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I dislike the Dallas Cowboys because my aunt and uncle loved them so much? But that is a part of fandom. There is no common sense involved.
I love football and when I was 15, I made the conscience decision to choose an NFL team. I didn’t want to be associated with either of my parents teams and there was no way in hell I was going to choose the Dallas Cowboys. Lucky for me that year there were two new expansion teams – the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. I chose the Panthers. They were not close to me and I would probably only catch one game every season when they played a regional team. But, they were new and they were pretty. A lot of people think that I became a Panthers fan when I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2006. The truth is that I had already been a fan for years before. My mother-in-law even asked me if we had chosen Charlotte because the Panthers were based there (of course it wasn’t, but it was a nice bonus). Now that we are back in Southern California, my North Carolina fans ask me often if I’ve abandoned the Panthers for one of the regional teams like the San Diego Chargers. Of course I haven’t! I am and I will always be a Carolina Panthers fan. Period.
One thing that I love about fandom is that you get to root against the teams you don’t like. And you don’t have to have any rationale for doing it! For example, I don’t like the San Diego Chargers, almost as much as I don’t like the Cowboys. I have no clue as to why I don’t like the Chargers. There is absolutely no reason for it. I can’t come up with players I don’t like, nothing. No reason. Though, I will admit that there is the added bonus of it being my brother-in-law’s team and I get to root against them.
Fandom is magical and stressful all at the same time. We stress when our favorite team is winning, we stress when they are loosing. We celebrate them as if we knew each player personally. I shout to my favorite player, #34 DeAngelo Williams as if he can hear me through the TV. As fans, we talk smack to each other in hopes our team will win over our friend’s and when we lose we shave our heads and grow out beards. We form groups, sit in freezing temperatures without shirts and big letters painted on across our chests spelling out “GO PACKERS” only to prove our dedication. Yes, being a fan brings out the stupidity in all of us. I love being a fan and I wouldn’t change it for the world.