How do people become fans of sports teams? My logical mind says that you cheer for your school, your alma mater, the team belonging to your state. There may be a few people out there who cheer for a team because they like their colors. Or maybe their mascot. There may even be some that choose a team because of the players. (Although, when players get traded, do they really change teams?)
Let’s get honest. I’m a Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears fan because 1. I live in the state of Illinois and they represent the state of Illinois and 2. because my dad was a Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears fan.
The first reason holds true even when I moved to Colorado. At that point in time, they didn’t have a baseball team, so I stayed a Cubs fan. I did, however, become a Broncos fan, until, of course, they played the Bears.
Loyalty to a sports team for the majority of fans is inherited just like your Grandfather’s watch or your Grandmother’s china. If we are honest with ourselves, the Last Will and Testament should read: “And to my son/daughter, I leave my loyalty and fanaticism for the Green Bay Packers. And my cheese hat, 5 gallons of green and 4.5 gallons of yellow paint. Wear it in good health.”
No matter what team you love, there will always be someone great on the team. Someone you can admire. There will be fantastic plays you can high five and discuss at work on Monday morning. Too bad we always place so much emphasis on winning as the only victory.
But the part that confuses me is how being a fan of a winning team actually gives someone permission to feel better about themselves and, therefore, permission to ridicule someone who has chosen a different team. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fallen into this trap many time myself.
I’ve come to the conclusion that being a fan (short for fanatic which should really make us think) for any sports team makes it very hard to remember that God tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” In the world’s view, it seems the saying is “rejoice over those who weep.”
I’ll continue to be a Cubs (but mostly) a Bears fan. (I love football way more than baseball.) I’ll cheer for my team, and I’ll never switch teams. My loyalty to the Chicago teams is for a lifetime. Don’t belittle me. Don’t ridicule me. I know we haven’t won a National Championship in a while. But, that really doesn’t matter.
Because I’m a fan.