Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top 10 Sports Fan Fears

What is January for, really, but the battle of hope against fear? Every day for the majority of the country for the foreseeable future, you will go out into cold and ice and snow and misery, without football, baseball, charity, hope or street-corner visible titty to keep you from your dark, dark thoughts. No wonder old people check out in January, after all of that holiday stuff. Who wants to stick around for this?

Since I'm still sitting shiva (which is hard to do for a non-Jew) over a Tampa Super Bowl trip for my cursed Eagles, let's indulge in the white-knuckle unpleasantness of sports fandom, and delve into our deepest fears. Feel free to add yours in the comments, or argue about the order...

10) Awful new uniforms. Let's say you are a hard-core Eagles fan. Ready to shell out for those "midnight green" (i.e., black) abominations? Sure you are, especially when you look at those Swedish blue and yellow nightmares. They even make the cheerleaders look bad. And someday, some well-meaning person is going to give you one, and you're going to have to pretend to like it. Enjoy!

9) Bandwagonery, leading to celebrity douche bag fans. Trust me, as an Oakland A's fan, it's more fun to be at the place where there's actually a crowd of, say, more than 6,000 people on a weeknight. And a celebrity fan or two, especially if they are still somewhat cool (see Murray, Bill for the Cubs, though Bill's really starting to age badly), is a nice distraction... especially if this gets you more Celebrity Poon in the stands. The Dodgers aren't throwing Alyssa Milano back, and the Warriors miss Jessica Alba.

But do you think that Red Sox Fan really wants Matt Damon hanging around? (Well, he might, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt.) Or that Yankee Fan under the age of 40 is really thrilled by the constant Billy Crystal intrusions? Is Padre Fan all that into Garth Brooks? The worst is when the team embraces said celeb, and you wind up taking heat for it from your non-team friends because, well, you deserve it. And eventually, of course, the celebs wind up taking all of the seats with their superior purchasing power. Let's move on.

8) Hateful stars. Really a 2-for-1 grab here, both when your home-grown guy slowly turns heel as he gets older, wealthier, and less interested in pretending to be nice... or the guy with the checkered past and the big contract that will under-motivate him comes to your town. You'll also get the benefit of the Burnable Gag Gift of his jersey when he finally moves on, and your "friends" find you a gamer in the clearance rack. (Maybe even in those lovely throw up colors, too.) Good times!

7) Cheap and/or stupid management. Ready to lose all hope? Step on up to the team suits that either fail to spend the cash that they've got, or do so on obviously ill-suited talent. Special bonus: when they let Promising Young Guy go, and he winds up leading some other team to a championship. But at least then, you get to be happy for him in that pathetic, "at least she's happy" ex-boyfriend way. This isn't so much a fear as a way of life, really.

6) Creeping inflation. This one's especially good when you combine it with #7 and are local to the team. Each year becomes a downward spiral of more money for less happiness, and it's even, um, sweeter, when you are making the commitment for season tickets. And people wonder why sports fans boo and get drunk.

5) Drug / steroid scandal. No, not the momentary recreational drug use that will get you grief from your friends, but be more or less forgotten in six months to a year... but the full-blown, your star is a tragic figure writ large, and your beloved era makes people snort with derision. For clarity on this, find someone who used to feel real good about those Bash Brother Oakland A's teams. (Sigh.)

4) Sex scandal. Not just your garden variety case of someone getting a little something-something on the road, but a full-blown kinkfest of startling originality and/or venality. It's even better when the guy is still on your roster, or succumbs to his baser urges before a big game. Falcons Fan is still feeling this one, kids. (Probably, on some level, even more than Mr. Vick going all Entry Eight on them.)

3) The Horror GM. Knicks Fan, this one is for you. When your general manager isn't just stupid, and isn't just cheap, and isn't just venal... but is some magical combination of all of these elements, to the point that when you tell people you are a fan, they just express pity... even if they are a division rival? That's low, folks. That's smell the dog crap every morning low. That's worth a Get Out Of Fandom Free card, assuming you still have enough energy to take one.

2) Not in your lifetime. Cub Fan, step on down! I feel your pain on some level, since as an Eagle Fan, I've also never experienced a championship in my lifetime. When your own odometer starts creeping up, your own impending mortality is reflected in the Years Since They Won graphics that those sado-masochists scumbags at the major networks show whenever your guys are in the playoffs. Someone needs to sue and/or firebomb some production team for those, by the way. And yes, it will probably be a guy having his mid-life crisis. At least he'll be easy to catch.

1) Relocation. This one doesn't rank this high if you are no longer local to your team -- honestly, if you move first, you're just more predisposed to be OK if they go as well -- but if you are, and they move away... well, all of your options suck. You can either continue to be the abused spouse and root for the scumbags that left you high and dry, give up the sport entirely, pick some other, more or less arbitrary team... or just wait for however long it takes until some new team moves in.

In a just and better world, none of these would ever happen; pro sports franchises are community assets, and the leagues are, for the most part, flush with cash and owned by wildly rich plutocrats who don't really need them to make a profit. But it will happen... especially as the economy continues to sputter.

So, um, sleep tight, folks...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A fine list, but I must point out that "midnight green" is actually the "official" name for the green the Eagles wear on their primary jerseys--as opposed to the kelly green (or whatever) they used to wear in the early 90s before the last uniform redesign. The black alternate jerseys are, in fact, "black"--which doesn't mean they aren't dumb.

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