The Upside of Unhealthy Love

JB's picture


I love people who love sports.  A lot of people like sports.  But it’s those few die-hards that cross the line to “love” that makes watching fun.  And I’ve learned that it’s fun to be so committed to a team, or a game, or a program that if affects your mood for the night.  Sure, that means sometimes you get put in a funk on a night that could have been fun, but there’s nothing like your team winning on a night where people are primed to go out.

I learned from Keith Johnson in Utah.  I was always a sports fan, but I just watched, and picked the team I wanted to win any particular game with very little rhyme or reason.  Not KJ.  Red Sox, Giants, and UConn basketball, everybody else can burn in hell.  I lived with him in 07.  The Red Sox became World Champs, and the Giants won the NFL Championship.  You should see the video of him dancing on our coffee table after the Giants won.  He didn’t even enjoy the game, just sat there in silence, misery even.  It seemed inevitable that the Patriots would find some way to get it done.  He was so sick that the Giants were about to lose, and they were about to lose, that he didn’t even get up for the David Tyree catch, he was so certain it wasn’t really happening, or it was going to be overturned, something.

My Uncle Ken has been a fan of St. Johns basketball since they were, um, good.  I used to get St. Johns t-shirts for Christmas when I couldn’t have told you if it was a sports team or a religious figure.  These guys were clearly getting something out of their sick committments.  So I decided to make the leap.  And like some bad relationships, the good part is just so so good.

My teams are the Isles (shocker), the Jets (is it a problem that I like the Patriots too?  It’s tough not to love Boston sports), and the Mets.  It hasn’t been a pleasant ride recently with the Mets, what with the consecutive stomach punches they’ve dealt their fans in the last two seasons, but I’ve enjoyed the ride.  I always chuckle a bit when I walk into a deli in NY for lunch (which is daily when I’m there) and hear someone, in their best I-can’t-believe-that’s-not-a-parody-of-an-Italian, say:

“How bout the F#$%? Mets last night?”

When your team wins, it can change the whole mood of the day.  Have you ever been a part of a big group of people yelling at the TV and high-fiving?  On the togetherness scale it’s comparable to church.  Any game can be made interesting if somebody in the room truly cares.  People pick up on his energy and support him or her.  So why not be that guy?  Every time your team is on you can recruit new friends and fans, get into it, grab a beer!  I know I’ve got friends at home who are Canuck fans that truly care about the team’s success.  The difference, as a friend told me, is that no game makes you think  oh, oh this is good, oh, oh, this is bad more often than hockey.  The energy in a room full of true hockey fans is electric.

But the east coast is an amazing culture to root with.  The New Yorkers get a lotta bumps about being rude, but even when they’re nice it seems to comes off as rude.  I’ve found they’re no-less decent than my hometown of Kelowna.  In general it’s a smart, funny group that I really want on my team, even with having to listen to them pour abuse on Brett Favre like gravy on potatoes.

So I went from an ankle on board to the whole body, and I’ll be on the bandwagon through thick and thin.  When I move to Boston, I think it’ll be fun to argue with the mass-holes about both of our ridiculously over-budgeted teams.  I’ve got a Sox hat and a Green Monstah shirt, but not because I want the Sox to win, I just love the sports culture in Beantown.  It’s a young group of obsessive fans, and since I don’t hate the Red Sox (Yankees fans do that), they’re a fun group to drink with.  It’s a blast to have a sports conversation with people who know their stuff, and can personally call plays.

“Watch this, Strahan gets fired up after a pass down the field, he’ll go offside here”

TWEEET!  Offside.


Go NY Jets-Mets-Isles!