Being a fan is hard work. It requires giving something you can’t ever get back – time. There is a theory that I share with some friends of mine (and I’m sure countless other people I don’t know) that I’d rather spend money than time. Money is easy to get back, time, impossible.
When I watch the games and ride the roller coaster of wins, losses, listening to the smack talk from the opposition, throwing in emotions in the moments throughout the game, I consider than an investment of my most precious resource, time. So tonight my beloved Blues lost to the sports city I hate most of all (L.A.) and I am heartbroken. Not in the “oh I’ll never get over her boo hoo” but it’s season over for me. I could care less who raises the cup this year because it’s not going to be the team I invest in.
When you’re a fan you are part of a community, people you’ve never met will be social with you, you can make friends based solely on their sporting team of preference, and at the end of the day, there are enough of you trying to will your team to victory that you feel a part of something. In a day and age where communications are typed rather than spoken, friends are scattered all over the world, and work dominates it’s nice to just sit down with a beer and cheer your team on with countless other people you’ll never meet.
It helps spark conversation in people, like me, that aren’t good at conversation. Any sport I watch pulls at the stats tracking bug I have inside me. Even the rivalries can be fun if you find like minded fans.
…but why they matter most is that they’re an investment and help define a small part of who I am.
..none of that will ever make me any money or define my moral compass (I will not miss events that are important just to catch the game) but as a source of entertainment, social interaction, bonding, cheering, booing, and feeling all of the feelings… it’s hard to beat a close match/game where your team comes out on top. You win with them even though you’ll never see a dime, meet the players, play the sport on the biggest stage, or be in the championship photo if they ever have one.
One day I hope to see one of my teams raise a cup, win the series, win the superbowl, etc.. I can’t imagine what that feels like to finally have an investment seen through to the end. Came close in 2009 with the Magic (fucking Lakers) and I remember that series hurting pretty bad when it was all over. The Chiefs had a good run in 2003 but were bounced out. The Orioles have been so bad for so long (up to last year) that I don’t ever remember them being good…. and so it goes… but I’ll keep sporting my colors, my voice, time, and emotion along with countless others and maybe one day I’ll fly out to one of those cities and know what it’s like to see a victory parade.
I will say this though – of all the sports out there I’m most passionate about the NHL. I have loved baseball since I was a toddler but nothing fires me up like a good NHL game…. and nothing stings so much as when your team is bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs. So tonight’s loss will hurt a while but that doesn’t mean I’ll give up on the team or spew vitriol at the other teams or my own. It was the best series and exposed what we need to do to get better next year.