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Sports Confession #3: The Spice of Life

sports confession

Sports Confession #3: The Spice of Life

I don’t want to be THAT guy whose cardinal-colored (insert the colors of your favorite team) glasses don’t allow him to think logically about sports. After all, sports are just games played for fun. At least that’s what the 20-years-in-the-future me has been trying to communicate with the 20-years-in-the-past me. The right-now-in-this-moment me? Call me a work in progress.

Today’s post is the third in a series of confessions about sports and how we (okay, I) can become rather maniacal about our (okay, my) favorite teams:

Sports Confession #1: I haven’t always been a Cardinals’ fan.

Sports Confession #2: It took a look in the mirror to see how out of whack my sports fan priorities were.

That brings us to Sports Confession #3:

I like that other people are fans of teams other than my favorites.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

This is what I had to teach Older Brother after he uncovered that our friends were Ole Miss fans. Could we continue to be friends with them? Of course we could…as soon as I explained to him that it’s okay to be fans of teams and schools that we didn’t necessarily like.

In fact, I’m glad that opposing fans exist. Think about it: How much fun would it be to show up at a sporting event where everybody was cheering for the same team?

  • My sister’s family are devout Cubs’ fans. Every one of them, bless their hearts. Though rivalries are generally perpetuated by both teams having some measure of success, the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry wouldn’t be any fun without the Lovable Losers. Plus, we can learn much about endurance and long-term hope from them, can’t we? I think I might even be able to appreciate their long-awaited World Series championship when it happens. Not necessarily in my lifetime, but…we can still enjoy our intra-family baseball rivalry well into mid-May in a good year.
  • The preponderance of poser Laker fans at Memphis Grizzlies games is always amusing to watch…especially in the fourth quarter when the hometown five has a lead. Easily converted, those Laker fans, but they make it fun before they switch allegiances.
  • The Bears, Lions, and Vikings have all had varying degrees of success in the past, but “my” Packers have enjoyed a prolonged stretch of favorable results. Every year, one of the others in the division rises up to challenge. The result is interest, important games, and the occasional upset. That’s what make sports fun to watch.

Here’s the Rub

I make this sports confession because a problem inherent with sports fan bases has infiltrated even the lowest levels of youth sports. The other team has become the enemy, a group of people to be hated for the dastardly sin of wearing a rival uniform. Though I wax a bit hyperbolic, here’s what we sometimes fail to realize:

  • The other team (and its fan base) is made of of people, too.
  • Those people are, in many ways other than fan base association, just like our team and our fans.
  • The players on the other team practice and train much like our team’s players.
  • The players on the other team have players with many of the same admirable characteristics as the ones on our team’s. Natural leaders, skilled athletes, and scrappy players.
  • The players on the other team have many of the not-so-admirable characteristics that our players have, if we care to be honest about our own squad.
  • The other team has stories to tell about the value that sports has had in their players’ lives, just like ours. And we’d be inspired by them if we would value those players beyond the name on the front of their jerseys.

Maybe my view of what sports is wishful thinking, at best. Maybe so, but as long I continue to learn from my overindulgence in sports through my favorite teams, I will leave room for others to do so, as well.

What sports confession would you make about being a too-fanatical fan?

 

Stay tuned for updates on my forthcoming Coach Dave project, a baseball book for dads and sons to read together. Sign up below for some pre-publication excerpts and the very latest on the progress of the book.

 

Previous sports confession posts:

Baseball Fan Confession Number One

Sports Confession Number Two

THAT Youth Baseball Parent (You Know the One)

Purchase books by Al Ainsworth:

Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales)

Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life)

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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