I had a conversation with a friend the other day. He’s a huge Georgia fan. HUGE. And after their win against Kentucky, UGA was written into the SEC Championship game. He was SO excited. He couldn’t stop talking about it. And every time he talked about the Dawgs, he said “WE”. “WE will need to be ready for LSU”, “I can’t believe WE made it to that game”, “Gee, I hope WE can pull it out”. I thought to myself, “Hey, homey…did YOU play for Georgia? What years did you letter? What position did you play?”. I used to think it was kind of silly for a grown person to be talking in second person about a team he or she roots for. I’ve always felt that way. Until recently. I’ve changed sides on the issue and changed drastically. I now feel that it’s not only ok to talk about your favorite team as “WE”, but it’s sort of natural and therapeutic. Cathartic. Soul affirming. Saying WE and not THEM gives you the ownership of that team that you show with your lifestyle. Players come and go. So do managers. So do owners for that matter. But there is ONE constant. US. WE. The Fan. And with baseball in the South not being the most popular sport ever, the current Braves fan is required more so to be a “WE” fan.
WE are the ones saving our money and buying the tickets. WE are the ones staying up until 1am to watch West Coast games. The FANS are the ones living and dying with every game, buying the apparel and merchandise, teaching our kids the Tomahawk chop and imitating Skip Cary for the hell of it during the work day. Dale Murphy doesn’t play in Atlanta anymore. David Justice went to Cleveland. Hell, Tom Glavine played for the Mets! But the constant is you. And me. And your buddy. Your Uncle, Aunt and 2nd Cousin twice removed. When spring training comes around, we won’t know if Martin Prado will be a Brave. Will Chipper Jones play 120 games? Not sure about that. Who will be the Braves ace? Don’t know. But one thing IS for certain. WE WILL be there. WE will scour the schedule and see what games we want to go to. We will check with our parents to see if they can watch the kids on a Tuesday so we can get to the Ted. We will see when the “businessman’s specials” are and think about how we can skip out to go see the home team play. We’ll dust off our Braves jerseys, hats, window stickers and the rest. We’ll dress our daughters in pink Braves gear and slip the #22 Heyward toddler jersey on our son’s back. WE. Not them.
LeBron James summed it up best when he told anti-Heat fans that he’d be ok and they would have to go back to their miserable lives…or something to that affect. And you know something, he’s right. Losing hurts, but if you have a 2 million dollar house, 4 Lexus sedans and a pool the shape of your face, it may not hurt so much. But when you’re a “9 to 5’er”, your boss yells at you, your car breaks down and you’re just having a lousy day, losing stinks EVEN more. Isn’t tomorrow a bit more fun when your team wins? It’s a return on your emotional/financial/communal investment. It’s like raising a child. You put in ALL the hard work and when you get that one unsolicited “I love you”, it’s so worth it.
I know it’s silly. It’s just a game and we should all have much more important things to concern ourselves with. But isn’t that the whole point? It IS just a game. It’s an escape from our problems, our angst, our worries and alike. It takes us from the real life we live to our past life as a child. When you had sports heroes, you rooted for the home team and you shared that fun/passion with your friends and family. No one wants to talk politics or religion anymore. It stinks and it doesn’t get you anywhere. But sports! It’s fun and mostly harmless. WE are going to stomp you this weekend! No you’re not, WE are going to stomp you! Sports give us the pride we may not be able to achieve anyplace else in life. It’s the one place where as long as you jump on board and NEVER get off, you have a team for life. And their success can be your reason for celebration. So say WE all you want! What’s it hurting? Nothing. What’s it helping? Your soul. Happy Holidays!
If you want more of my shenanigans during the week, follow me on Twitter @yourdailyvinnie. Thanks!