Thursday, April 18, 2013

Free Agent Fan

Fair warning.. this post has nothing to do with beer. It does however pertain to something most of us enjoy our beer with.... sports.

Firstly... I have been a fan of sports my entire life. It doesn't even matter what the sport is, I can always find something about each sport that fascinates me and gets me interested.

Having said that, my first love was baseball. Playing it, watching it, talking about it, reading about it.

Many kids in Canada first love hockey, and it's the first sport they play. Well, from what my Dad told me, he asked me if I wanted to play hockey as a kid, and I said no. For the record, I don't remember that conversation so I was probably pretty young, and I'm sure my father wasn't totally upset about my decision as hockey always has been an expensive sport for parents to fund. I played baseball. I also bowled, 5 pin, because I had to be doing something in the winter when the only other option in my hometown was hockey.

My favourite baseball team? The Detroit Tigers. Why? Because they were on TV when the local US stations in my house were from Detroit. I loved the Tigers. I worshiped Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. I'm also a devoted Tigers fan. I've never deviated from them, even when they were posting the worst record in baseball for a couple of years. They are my team.

Ok so... my other major sports teams.... Well, my second passion was football. When I first sat down and watched an entire football game it was Super Bowl XX, Patriots vs Bears. The Pats logo at the time caught my attention and I declared myself a Pats fan on that day... of course they ended up getting trounced in the game, but I held strong to my declaration.

How much do I love football? The Tigers are my first team, but the Pats can't even be ranked second, so I guess they're my 1.1. I loved playing football in the school yard with the other kids, I even chose my high school based on the fact that it was the only one that had a football program. That program got cut a year after I started high school and my options were closed. I remember coach telling me I had to play on his team my freshman year after he watched me run routes in gym class.

After that comes hockey. I've never been a devoted hockey fan, mostly because it never measured up to football in it's need to win every game. All too often I would watch an interview after a team lost a hockey game and someone always ended up saying something to the degree of "tough loss, we'll have to make it up later in the season''. That right there irked me. In football if a team loses one game it could cost them a playoff spot, but in hockey it seemed that there were so many games it didn't matter if you lost a couple which translated into my belief that the players didn't give 100% each and everytime the stepped on to the ice.
Anyways... I'm an Oilers fan. Why? Gretzky. It's that simple, Wayne Gretzky hit the NHL the same time I started watching hockey with my Dad and his skill awed me. (My Dad was a Whalers fan btw)
Ever since Gretzky I have been an Oilers fan of some nature, sometimes really into the season and sometimes forgetting hockey had even started, but always an Oilers fan. Even when I noticed Sidney Crosby and tried switching my affiliation to the Penguins, I couldn't follow through, because the memory of the great one was always in my mind, and the Oilers never lost me.

So... as to the title of this post.....

Recently, the President of Hockey Operations in Edmonton said something to the effect of 'We have two types of fans, and I'm more concerned with the ones who go to the games and pay for the tickets'. Not a direct quote, but close enough. THAT pisses me off. A lot!

Okay wait... side note... I have to admit a couple of things. Being a fan of teams from different cities in different parts of North America has always bothered me, not enough to switch, but enough to make me think about switching. I just never did because I love my Tigers, and I'm a devoted Pats fan and I couldn't think of dumping either of those teams.
However, the Patriots have done some shady things in the past which didn't sit well with me and lowered my passion for them each time. First was the whole debacle of Bill Parcells going to the Jets and the Pats getting a draft pick because of it and the Bill Bellichick jumping from the Jets to the Pats and the Jets getting a draft pick for that.... it all seemed kind of 'fixed'. Then there was the more recent video tape scandal. Most of you know what I'm talking about, for those who don't... The Patriots were caught (ratted out) taping their opponents practices and using that info to strategize a game plan. In other words, they cheated! I defended it by saying all teams do the same thing, the Pats just got caught. In reality it made me sick. It threw a question mark on the 3 Super Bowl wins for me. Could the Pats have won any of the three without this extra video? We'll never know. But it still doesn't sit well with me.

So anyways, back to the Oilers moron and his 'two types of fans'. This is my fuel. I'm pissed. Yet at the same time what the guy said actually makes a little sense to me.... why am I a fan of a team I'll never be able to attend the home games of on a regular basis? Wouldn't it be better to actually be a fan that's close to where I live? A team that I could see with only a few kilometres on my car?

It would make sense. So.... Being a Tigers fan first, it would only make sense to become a fan of the teams from Detroit. Hmmmm..... Can I become a Red Wings fan? What about the Lions? Could I drop the Patriots just like that? I have reasons to do it..... but can I?
As strange as this may sound, this is a hard decision for me. Primarily because I've never liked the term "bandwagon jumper".

So as of right now I will simply say I am a free agent fan for the NHL and NFL. I am leaning towards being both a Red Wings and Lions fan, but I need to sleep on it for a while. If you have ideas and comments, please feel free to let me know what you think.

For now... GO TIGERS!

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