Sports fan rule

1 08 2010

Some folks view Twitter as the ideal setting for self-expression. I see it as the opportune place to get into arguments with people whom I’ve never met.

I did exactly that a couple days ago after seeing one user’s interaction with a sportswriter who I follow. I clicked on the user’s Twitter profile and saw that he is a fan of the L.A. Lakers…and Boston Red Sox. My blood started boiling. How the hell can a Lakers fan ever root for a Boston sports team? From the time I became a Lakers fan, I learned from the team’s history that I was supposed to hate the Celtics. That carries over to other Boston teams, since the Boston sports fan culture stays the same whether it’s the Celts or Sox or anyone else. What made me even more infuriated is that after I called out the guy, he claimed to live in New England. So why isn’t he a Celtics fan?

He said he began following basketball in 1996, the year Shaq and Kobe came together on the Lakers. So he’s a frontrunner, apparently. (He also cheers for the Packers and Duke. Yeah, I know.) That doesn’t make it okay.

I’m of the belief that if you’re from a geographical region which has a professional team, then you should root for that team. If you’re from an area that doesn’t have a local team, like say in Montana, then you’re free to pick your favorite teams no matter their location. But if you’re from New England, especially if you’re close to Boson, please don’t root for the Lakers. There’s enough history between the Lakers and Celtics to show that sports fan pride should supercede the need to express freedom through picking a favorite team that’s located in another part of the country. In other words, if you’re from New England, your pride for your home location should encourage you to hate the Lakers. Your desire to cheer for the Lakers should be negated by that hometown pride.

I imagine if this guy was born in the ’60s, rather than the late ’80s, then he’d be a Celtic for life. Things are different for his generation, which probably used computers — and consistently logged onto the Internet — from the time it began its elementary and junior high years in school. In the Internet Age, sports fans have access to cheer for whomever they please — hometown pride be damned.

Note: For full disclosure, I cheered for the San Francisco 49ers from 1990-2008 even though I am a native of Los Angeles. I spurned the Rams and Raiders for years to root for the Montana/Rice/Young-led 49ers. Last year, I came to the realization that I was a gigantic hypocrite and dropped the 49ers from my fandom. Still waiting for the Chargers to move to L.A….

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