The Last Straw
March 11, 2011
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Seriously guys, the bandwagon will not be able to move if anyone else gets on. This is the greatest time of year for sports, hands down. Not only is there 40+ hours of football airing from Saturday morning to Sunday night, but the World Series has just finished, while the NHL and NBA seasons are only just beginning. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and the merchandise sales of everyones’ “favorite teams” is through the roof.
I’m a confrontational guy, so here is a simulated scenario to give you my opinion on fair-weather fans.
MC : “It’s strange Mr.Fair-weather, you weren’t rocking the Giants hat last year when we were 87-74.”
“Giants fan” [GF] : “Well it was a birthday present this year…”
MC :“Riiight… who’s the closer again?”
GF :“Uhhh… Rob Nenn?”
MC : *Knocks hat off head*
I was born and raised a Bay Area sports fan. I have lived through the heartbreaking defeats of the Sharks in the playoffs, the tumultuous Barry Bonds era, and of course, the past decade, in which my beloved 49ers have floundered miserably and hovered consistently around disappointing mediocrity. Having said this, let me tell you how incredible it feels to finally witness a Bay Area team (besides the Sabercats or Earthquakes), win a championship. No one outside of the Bay gave the Giants a shot at making it past Atlanta, and yet here we are three weeks later, watching Bruce Bochy hoist the World Series trophy high, rousing an ear splitting cacophony of yells from a sea of orange and fake beards. That, my friends, is the sound of victory.
The Giants’ offense was aptly nicknamed ‘torture’ this season, but I think that the Niners’ offense this year could fall under this the same moniker. After all, choking is a type of torture, right? I love my Niners, and the expectations going into this season were high, so a 2-5 start is disappointing. However, while fair-weather fans will turn their backs on the local team who they “support,” I stick with my boys through thick and thin. If you so choose to support the opposing team, and the Niners’ get so much as a first down, I’m gunna get in your face and shove my foam finger so far up your ear that it tickles your temporal lobe. True fans take what they get and enjoy it. He who is bold enough to pull on an Alex Smith jersey in the morning shall stand beside me as my brother, and will have my shoulder to cry on through all four quarters. I’m telling you, turn your back on the Niners now, and you’ll regret it in the near future.
Across the street from Palo Alto High School, Jim Harbaugh has worked wonders with the Cardinal football team. Before he came, I knew a lot of people who would have taken an axe to the Stanford Tree. But once Toby Gerhart started (literally) running over everyone, people weren’t embarrassed to show their faces at a Stanford game anymore. My friends and I were at the games during the “down” years, and although we spent most of the game heckling opposing players from behind their bench and trying to cop gear from them, we still showed our support for the Cardinal. Now that Andrew Luck and the Cardinal are winning games, you see a lot more people grilling hot dogs and throwing the pig skin in the parking lot. Interesting…
Through all of this, I’ve come to realize that true fans and an unwaivering of ones’ team are something to genuinely appreciate. As much as the quarterback and hot dog vendor have a place at the ballpark, so does the fan. It takes dedication to wake up at 8 am on a Sunday and cover oneself in body paint, then proceed to tailgate hard for 3 to 4 hours, scream yourself hoarse through a game, and then wrap it up with another tailgate. It takes loyalty, pride, and perhaps a bit of insanity to be able to call yourself a true fan. The reality is, you can question the dedication of the man in a Favre jersey snuggled up in the press box of Lambeau Field, but you don’t even think about doubting the commitment of the dudes in the front row wearing nothing but shorts and a cheesehead.