When I first started to understand sports, I would ask my dad if he was watching a game and I missed it, “Who’s winning?” If my team was losing he’d normally say the “other” team’s name. When the Mets or whoever was on, and they were winning, he’d say, “We’re up.” Then whatever the score is.
I remember another time a few years ago, I was down in Tampa, right across the street from Tropicana Field where the Yankees of all teams were visiting (I was down there for unrelated reasons). I asked one of the bartenders, “Hey, who won tonight?” He answered, “We did!” I said, “Uh….yeah, could you be more specific? That could be either team!” He laughed, told me it was Tampa who won. I guess you could understand my confusion since Tampa does house many Yankee fans (even Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox fans, but that’s neither here nor there).
Yet, whenever a fan of the same denomination and you talk, we pepper our conversations like, “You know what we need? We need pitching.” Or “I’d love for us to have THAT guy on our team.” Or “We’re winning, 3-nothing.” Or “We’re going to the World Series!!!” (We Mets fans haven’t said that for awhile)
Anyway, I came across an article on Grantland (Hat tip to Blondie’s Jake for linking out to it initially) on the usage of “We” in the context of talking about our favorite sports teams. I guess it must be a slow-news week for sports or something, because quite frankly of all the self-righteous and soapboxy type things I’ve read (and trust me, I’ve read a lot, even wrote a few of them myself), this is by far one of the biggest penis-sizing contests I’ve ever read.
Seriously, does anyone give a shit about talking about our favorite teams in the context of “we” or “us?” I know the author referred to Green Bay Packers fans as having somewhat of a right to say it since they are equity partners there, but it’s a phrase that kind of has no meaning. Like a cliche, I guess. Doesn’t mean this author is right or wrong has a point. It’s just a dumb point to bring up.
One of the great things about sports is a sense of camaraderie you have with other fans who are like-minded and root for the same team you do and hope and believe just like you do. Not to mention, many of the fans who use “we” in the context of talking about their team are die hards, they live and breathe with each move of the team, whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, hockey, hell even arena football. So why begrudge them saying “We” when they talk to other fans or friends about the state of the team? It’s self-righteousness to the Nth degree here.
When the Mets won the World Series in 1986, I was 10 years old, and I happened to be in the stands for Game Seven. It’s something that at 10 years old, I probably didn’t have a better appreciation of till I was much older…especially when the Mets were absolutely terrible in the 1990s, till the late ’90s, when it became fun again. The reason I stuck around all those years when friends and family were defecting to the Yankees or leaving baseball entirely was because of that moment in the stands. I wasn’t so young that I didn’t realize the moment was much bigger than me. I still never forgot that. Talking about that night with other fans who happened to be there, or even my dad who was there for both Games Six AND Seven, it’s something you just don’t forget. Try stopping someone who talked about being there for Game Six in 1986 when they say, “When WE won that game…” I triple dog dare you. Being a part of something larger than yourself is a part of sports,
So Chris Jones at Grantland doesn’t think it’s “cool” that we use that term. To that I ask, who the hell is that hipster douchecanoe to judge? Is he a “true” sports fan? (And don’t get me started on other people judging other people’s sports fandom…I’m using it for emphasis here, I really could care less about it).
So I interject “We” or “Us” into my conversations about the Mets, the Rangers or the Jets. Sue me for speaking “out of context.” I’m far from the only one to do it, and we’re not going anywhere.
Deal with it.