There’s no accounting for taste. Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to people and their “teams.”
We all have them, and it was only recently that I began to wonder about why we have them and what causes people to love the sports teams they do and why does we care about these teams anyway?
For one thing, we have the geography of the whole deal. We, as South Dakotans, live in “Viking Country.” And by that I mean that the Vikings are the closest thing we here in (eastern) South Dakota have to a “home team.” Thus many people root for them. This is, of course, true throughout the country. There are, however, anomalies to this system.
I, for instance, am a Bears fan, raised in a family made up of pro-Vikings propagandists. How did this happen, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
I was tricked.
Born as I was in 1981, I only really became cognizant of professional sports when I was about 4 or 5. At this time, as all of you know, the Vikings sucked and the Bears were well on their way to winning the Super Bowl, as they are the most awesome team ever. My father, though born and raised a Vikings fan, lived in Chicago for several years and thus, the Bears were (and still are) his “#2 team.” Since I was yet a youngster, I knew not of his fickle football ways and assumed that since during this time he cheered mainly for “Da Bears” that they were his team. Always eager to be daddy’s little girl, I decided that the Bears were definitely my #1 team, and I haven’t been able to change since. And oh, has there been reason. So I’ve limped along with my team because deep down in my heart, I know: The Bears RULE!
But this story does fit into my theory. I’ve found that while ruled by geography, team preference also can depend upon environmental factors. Team alliances are often fostered in families, binding relationships on yet another level.
Some people are combinations. Like my nephew, whose father was a Bears fan, but whose mother was a Steelers fan. My nephew originally rooted for the Steelers until an unfortunate stint of living in Tennessee rendered him a Titans fan. We’re all quite disappointed by this development.
Then of course, there are the freaks. Like my husband. See, Todd works on a sort of “tier system” as he likes to call it. It’s quite elaborate and constantly rotating. I can’t even begin to describe it, except to say that some of the things he judges on are: if the team is made up of old people, if they have a reputation for being hapless, if they have a pirate name, if they are located on either of the coasts. And these are all GOOD things for teams in his opinion. So like I said, freaks. Those who deny categorization shall be ostracized!
Ultimately, liking a sports team is a lot like practicing a religion. A lot depends on where you live and how you were raised. Sometimes people rebel against their upbringing and abhor all things affiliated with it, be it Jesus or the Jets. But deep down, those who remain are simply searching to belong to something larger than themselves. To feel like a part of something and believe in it no matter how bleak things look. And after all, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out a greater sense of community.
So here’s to having faith … Go Bears!
Reach the hilarious Libby Hill at [email protected]