Picking A Favorite Team

May28/ 2014

It’s a legendary question among the less insane of the Internet’s notorious cyber-simians.   That aside, it IS a question that “normal people” might also ponder.

When a sports fan, through corporate circumstance, finds himself relocated to a community significantly removed from “where he grew up” how does he go about selecting a local team to adopt and to pull for?

I love this one as I have “lived it”.   I have personal affiliation with two major college sports programs – UNC (Flagship version) & Missouri.   Yet I have resided in a dozen different cities across America in vain pursuit of The Corporate Rainbow’s pot o’ gold.

NO…. I did NOT “go away”.  I take a break for a week or so and APBs and BOLOs get sent around the freakin’ globe.  Jeeezzzzz… you people beat all.

Certainly in today’s techno-media plethora one can maintain daily (nay hourly) “insider status” with “your school” regardless of where one hangs one’s hat.    Thank you to the Bristol-based Sports Media Behemoth.

Our good friend “Thailand” being the perfect example of “it doesn’t matter where you are…”   But still there may be a desire to adopt a local team simply to “be one of the gang” when your social / corporate chums get all hot & bothered about an upcoming “big game”.

Depending upon the insanity quotient of the community you have moved to….. the simple question “what’s your favorite team” can determine your entire social universe before you even have a chance to measure your response.  Birmingham Alabama being a good example, I hear.

I think the following categories come into play.

1.    What is your original “favorite team” where you grew up / went to school?
2.    What is the prevailing choice in the office you will be working in each day?
3.    Does your new residential neighborhood have a decided “bent” towards one local school?
4.    Do you actually give a rat’s patoot whether you have any friends or not?
5.    Is one regional school on a current “hot streak” in one or more major sports?
6.    Is one regional school mired in a dismal swamp of “unpleasantness”?
7.    Which is easiest to get tickets for?
8.    Which school has the hottest cheerleaders?

A combination of those factors will usually provide you the path to follow.   “Cool uniforms” USED TO BE a factor but now they are all designed to only appeal to semi-literate 17 y/os.

As we have noted MANY times in this column.   The “they’re all a buncha _______” stereotypes that prevail “in the Triangle” are pretty much universal.    Land grant “Aggie” schools will be the “paranoid farm boys”.   Liberal Arts “Flagships” will be the “pompous frat boys”.   The elite private schools are “snooty” and their Richie Rich kids all come from faraway burgs that denotes bad stuff.

Travel to Michigan, Virginia, Texas, SoCal, NoCal or even Arizona and the same jokes abound about the same trite stereotypes.    If one moves to “the Triangle” from Ann Arbor, Austin, Norman, etc one probably likes “Flagship arrogance”.   Come out of East Lansing, College Station, Stillwater, Tempe, etc and its likely an “Aggie” environ will suit you best.

Old trite stereotypes do actually have some residual validity….. that is how they become stereotypes in the first place.    The Frat Boy v Farm Boy jokes are exactly the same so just change the school name to your new one.

My bro-in-law moved here 20 years ago from Missouri.   He had played BkBall “in college” so a school’s BkBall program was a factor.   His first local apartment complex and his first workplace both had “a lot” of really obnoxious State AND UNC fans….. so he became “a Duke fan” and still is 20 years later.   He’s never been inside Cameron but still “likes Duke”.   He doesn’t buy any team gear from Wal-Mart or anywhere.  Actually he DOES buy / wear St Louis Cardinal tees.

I lived in Kansas City in the mid 70s when The Royals & George Brett were The Team.  THAT was a fun time to be a Royals fan.

When I moved to Dallas in the early 80s I “adopted” SMU.   This was in the early days of The Pony Express with Craig James and Eric Dickerson and would rather quickly get The Death Penalty.   At its peak (pre-Death Penalty) SMU was an awesome offense.   Went to Austin and saw’em blow out The Horns.   I left Big D just before SMU blew up so I didn’t much care.

I was in Dallas when MJ hit the jumper to beat Georgetown in ‘82.   YIPPEE!  Absolutely NO ONE in my social or workplace environ gave even the slightest damn about it.   That taught me a very valuable lesson about “sports universes”.    They tend to be A LOT smaller than rabid fans think they are.   1982 was a pre-Board Monkey World.   I miss that world.

I was in Boston in the mid 80s when Buckner booted Mookie’s grounder.  THAT was a tough one to watch even for a temporary Red Sox fan.   Larry Bird was The Man Around Town and that was fun.

Now I’m here.   I have as many State fan friends as I do Carolina friends.   WHOA!  My alma mater goes out of its way to tell me how much it despises “people like me” and I’ve finally gotten very tired of Ol’ Roy’s act.   Not sure what my personal fan future might be.   I really do like “Larry & Bubba” though so maybe I can hang on as long as they are still around.   Standing upwind from The Great Unpleasantness will be necessary for a few more decades at least.

I really do like those Cardinals Under The Arch and “the birds on the bat”.    I guess they are my #1 Favorite Team.

It occured to me while writing this that I really don’t “dislike” ANY team or school.

I didn’t do a column during last week’s ACC Baseball Tournament.   Hey, what could I add to the obvious?   State & Carolina played ANOTHER outstanding game to watch…. and there was the ubiquitous “we got screwed AGAIN” moment for the Wuffs.   Hey…. it was in Greensboro and You-Know-Who has his office and home there.  What did you expect?  As I say above….. stereotypes and myths have some basis in fact.

I doubt Mike’s Moochies will last too long on The Road To Omaha.   I’ve got no great insight as to why both Elliott and Mike swung and missed this season.  It happens.

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