Sunday, October 17, 2010

AZ's Slant on Sunday - What Annoys Me as a Sports "Enthusiast"

(Warning to people outside of Philadelphia: I'm going to be using a lot of examples from a Philadelphia fan's perspective, so if you don't "dig that," I'm sorry. It's the only way that I know.)

Yeah, you read that right. I'm going to talk about what annoys me from a sports fan's perspective.
I figured I would take the last of my teenage angst out before midnight and write up a rant on what drives me nuts day in and day out about people that hang on the bandwagon or just refuse to understand. If I sound rebellious and irritating enough to you, then I'm doing my job.
Let's get started.

Ever since I was four years old, I was a Phillies fan. That means I've been a fan since 1994(ish), which was the year of the strike and the year after Mitch Williams gave a great pitch to Joe Carter and ended the World Series hopes for the Phils in '93. Even when they sucked in 1997 and every other year until Charlie Manuel came along, I followed them, and here they are with a playoff dynasty a-la the Braves from the 1990's. But when you come across a dynasty like this, you see some ugly stuff. You start seeing "fans" come out of the woodwork and you go, "Wait, what just happened? Where did they come from?" Once a team enters the playoffs, the fans get on the horse and are all about the team that they have barely followed at all during the year. I highly doubt it's the #1 reason for people to go to a bar and get drunk and be part of a party. Not everyone is like that. Why do people do this? I have no idea, but it annoys the die-hard fans because they've followed the team since game one and know the exact reason why the team is there and who was on the team doing it.

Here are two examples for you as to what annoys me (and other people):
If you asked a female Phillies fan who her favorite player was, you would probably get different answers depending on preference. Personally, I admire Chase Utley. I've liked him since he was brought up from the farm in '03. He has a respectable work ethic and he loves the game and shows it on the field. Then there are some females that say Jayson Werth is their favorite. Why? "Because he's cute." That's not a good enough answer. I am sorry.  Personally, he looks too much like Edge from WWE to suit my tastes. Anyway, it hurts as a fan to hear stuff like that, because you should at least like a player for a better reason than a physical trait. Sure, I like Cliff Lee "because he's cute" too, but he's also a heck of a pitcher and I absolutely love his ethic.

I digress.

It also hurts when you get someone watching a playoff game, and they're screaming at the television when they don't know the rules to the game or don't understand why something happens. That one hurts more than hitting your funny bone on a counter. They get excited when someone gets a base hit but then wonder why bullpen guys get paid so much money to come in for one inning. That, or they get upset when a guy like Ryan Howard strikes out when he gets paid so much money to play for the team.

And I digress a final time.

When you see the real fans, they still wear the jerseys of guys who haven't played for the team in 15 years because it brings luck or the vintage player tee shirts and other assorted things like that. They "hate," but they "hate with feeling" because they'll love the player or coach regardless of how much they just swore at the person in question five minutes ago. They know the players, the plays,
(FUN FACT: My younger brother and I got a picture with Curt Schilling during a photo day when he was with the Phillies in the late '90s. Where the photo is right now escapes me. I'll find it in my basement someday.)

Aside from this, it's cool that a city will show spirit and support for a team that has worked very hard to make it somewhere. However, I just wish it were more consistent in a huge city like the one that I live in. I hate to pick on Philly people, but good God, the love-hate relationship with the Eagles is incredibly painful.

A girl in one of my classes is from Indiana, and she loves the Colts regardless of whether they win or lose a game. Some Eagles fans are nowhere near that sometimes. Two weeks ago against the Redskins, people were totally hating on OB Kevin Kolb because of the type of game that he had. Today after beating the Falcons, people are going to be saying, "Wow, he had a great game! He's good for us!" Well, for now at least, right? (Ha, ha.)

Death to the Bandwagon. ...Or just the state of mind.

I might not know everything about a sport and know every stat about a player, but I try my best to respect the player's work  I also try not to be as biased. C'mon, people. It's a known fact that since I'm from Philly I will be as brutal as a fan as there will ever be, but now that I've branched out into other sporting interests and other teams, I'm "not that kind of fan" anymore. I'm what you would call an enthusiast that works hard to know the sport and to love it and give it some "hugs." I think if we give people more of a chance to understand the sport and give everyone a chance to appreciate it like I do, that would be nice. We wouldn't have so many people out in the dark. Isn't sports a way to bring people together and appreciate one another?? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad people come together to appreciate the sport, but I think we sometimes get together for all of the wrong reasons. I'd love for the bandwagon state of mind to diminish someday, but I don't think that will ever attempt to happen in my lifetime.

I know I'm probably going to be called an "elitist" after saying some of the stuff that I did (then again, I already was last night), but that's just how I feel about these things. It's my opinion. I'm not going to judge you if you're the type of person that I talked about in this entry. That's not my style at all. I just like to expose things and poke fun at them because I'm horrible at being a funny person.

On a lighter note and speaking of funny, here's a funny picture of Jonathan Papelbon fighting a bear Pokemon named Ursaring. I made this a little over six months ago because I was bored in school.

Oh hey, it's almost midnight...


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