Fan allegiances all over in South Dakota

Travis Kriens

How did you become a fan of your favorite team?

Usually most people go with the local team or as close to a local team as they can find. Living in South Dakota, we are in one of the most isolated areas as far as pro teams go.

The Vikings and the Twins are the two most followed teams in the state, but the slew of secondary teams that people can legitimately get away with is long. With the NFL, it includes the Lions, Packers, Bears, Broncos, Chiefs and Cowboys.

Any easy way to get hooked on a team as a kid is to have that team on television a lot. We get every Vikings game in this area and the Broncos are the AFC team of choice on CBS for the region. That’s why some teams that you may not think of rooting for can be easy to do so.

Take the Atlanta Braves. They were on TBS multiple times a week during the season, so it wasn’t crazy to think that someone would become a fan of a team that is over a thousand miles away.

My team that fits this mold is the Chicago Bulls. The first complete season I remember for any team is the 1995-96 Bulls when I was eight years old. It seemed like every game was on TV, whether it was WGN out of Chicago, TBS, TNT or the greatness that was the NBA on NBC. Including playoffs, the Bulls played 100 games that season and won 87 of them. They finished with the best regular season record in history at 72-10 and I was hooked.

That Chicago three-peat was a great time to be a fan, obviously. However, much of the next decade would not be so easy. The Bulls quickly become the worst team in the league and many jumped off the bandwagon. I did not. I didn’t know anything besides championships as a Bulls fan for the first three years. It was harder and harder to keep up with the Bulls because they were barely on TV outside of the weekly Saturday night home game on WGN.

To those that jumped off the bandwagon once Michael Jordan retired, shame on you. Especially if you jumped back on once the Bulls returned to the NBA elite last season reaching the Eastern Conference Finals and finishing with a league best 62-20 record.

The team that will always be number one for me is the Vikings. I am sure that the 15-1, 1998 season had a lot to do with that. That season came out of nowhere and it was the first and most painful in a long line of heart break.

It runs in the family as my dad is a fan going back to 1969. That is common as a new NPR report says that nearly 40 percent of males and 30 percent of women  have had their favorite team choice influenced by thier dad. He has seen all four Super Bowl losses, while I have seen three NFC Championship defeats.

The last two seasons have really changed my view as a fan. I don’t take things as seriously as I used to and am not as invested in the games as I once was. There is good and bad that goes along with it, but the passion for me is still there. A game like the one this past weekend with the Vikings and Packers reassured that there is still nothing like a big time Vikings game for me and the Packers game is as big time as it is going to get this season at 1-6.

I like to view the team you choose to follow as a marriage. Once you tie the knot, that is it. You can divorce your team if they move to another location and if you move to a new region and deem it necessary to change your allegiance. And certainly don’t divorce a team once they are on hard times only to return when they are back to their winning ways.

With the possibility of the Vikings moving to Los Angeles improving by the day, but still a huge long shot, I have made the decision that if they were to move to the west coast, my allegiance would move with them. I am far to invested into this team to call it quits now. It would be especially sad if they were to win the Super Bowl in L.A. and I wasn’t a part of it.