Being associated with an organization, group of individuals, or even an individual brings unintended consequences. One experiences the positive or negative, rarely anything in between, when one is candid about her/his connection to a team in sports. While cultural and sport reactions vary, rivals in any sports often express views of your team as if you are the object of attention. Red Sox fans talking about the Yankees, Doger fans talking about the Giants, Manchester United or Arsenal talking about Chelsea, Red Bull versus Mercedes, the list goes on and on. Everyone has an opinion, even if they had just met you! It is as if the teams you love are you.
Initially I was annoyed. I thought it was a modern reaction until a read an old author’s comment. Centuries ago he left us with an observation; “I love you more than I can say. Because I’m madly in love with you, they blame me for everything they dislike about you.” (Psalm 69.9) plug in a favorite player or manager and you have a synopsis of multiple conversations over the past week.
As I realized that this was normal, I began to wonder if there was an element of truth in the emotions. Before you dismiss the idea, let me suggest that there is a link that I had not thought about. We choose (or are chosen by) our team to be fans because there is something that connects us. An attribute, aspiration, or character trait, even a childhood connection binds us with our team and favorite players. While it is unfair to get slammed by anyone that lacks tangible insight, people do know what they dislike. Emotions expressed say more than one intentionally wants to express. Hard work ethics with relentless pursuit of winning is not always pretty or respected. If that is the reason for a badge of criticism then I am happy to wear it with pride.
There are multiple reasons I am attracted to certain sports teams. While I know each is far from perfect, I love them for a reason.