Monday, March 29, 2010

Rooting interests

It occurs to me that if going to have a sports blog I should be forthright and list off all my rooting interests.

NFL - San Francisco 49ers
NHL - Washington Capitals
NBA - Washington Wizards
MLB - Cleveland Indians
CFL - Hamilton Tiger-Cats
WNBA - the Sue Falls Bird
MLS - Ha ha ha

I did watch a Steven Gerrard highlight reel once on youtube. He was pretty amazing, so you could say in real soccer I root for Liverpool - but I've never seen a game.

College Football:
Div. I-A - University of Florida
Div. I-AA - University of Maine
Div. III - Kenyon College

College Hockey - University of Maine
College baseball - University of Florida
College basketball - University of Florida

Most of these loyalties can be explained pretty simply. I went to Kenyon College, then the University of Florida for graduate school, and grew up in Maine. Although for Division I-AA football Florida A&M is nipping on Maine's heels. Not because I have ever been to a game (I fact I had to use the net to see what their colors were and for a while though their mascot was the Sea Dragons or Dragons - probably some confused mix that came to me from NFL Europa) but because I know a few other grad students from there and like the idea of rooting for a historically black college. Plus they purportedly have a great band that kids all over the country come to the school for - not that I care about bands, but it annoys me how much UF's sucks. In truth this is all pretty academic - I've seen two UMO games in person and maybe two more on the telly.

I started liking the Caps because visited some family when they were making a run in 1998 I watched them go the Stanley Cup when I got home (they were swept). Then I moved to DC for a while a couple of years later and my cousin has season tickets to the Caps so I went to a bunch of games which cemented it. The only Wizards game I have been too was when my office took me to a game during the Michael Jordan era, but ironically I actually root for the Wizards because I don't like MJ. Many years ago the Bullets had a center named Gheorghe Muresan. Not only did I like him because he was a giant (7'7" tallest player ever), but he became my favorite player because he did the "Gheorghe Muresan Cologne" Snickers commercial when his Airness had started thinking because he was great at basketball he should permeate everything. I'd rather smell like Gheorghe. I also regularly check out the Washington post for news and pick up bits about the Caps and Wiz that way. I was amused by the craziness of Gilbert Arenas - see - until he decided it was smart to have an old west showdown with his teammate. I root for the Indians because of my father. He complained that we never root for the same teams so I adopted two of his in the sports I was not set on - the Indians and Georgia Tech football (before UF - now I'm hanging on by a thread for dear life). My Dad roots for the Indians because in 1949 he started following baseball and figured he would root for the Indians because they had won the year before. Opps. So I root for the Tribe. Now. Before my Dad's complaint in 1997 when the Florida Marlins beat them in the World Series I rooted for the Marlins because their AA team was in Portland Maine - not that I went to a bunch of games or knew the players. I still feel bad towards my Dad for this. By the way in 2007 my Dad was cheering for Boston in game Seven of the ALCS. He roots for both teams and follows Boston more closely, I gave him a raft of s*** about it and so he pretended to feel guilt and did not watch the final out. I was already pissed because this Indians fan had convinced me that they had a chance to win it all so I was watching an earlier game and discovered that our closer had an ERA over 5!?! I called her up and railed on her and said it was over. She admitted it was a big problem, but as I soon learned was a huge homer and so blind. (Joe Borowski played in 18 more games for the rest of his career). I don't know why my Dad did that, he had already see the Saux win (and the Pats). The last team is by far and away my most favorite - the San Francisco 49ers. I don't know why I root for them (nor why I picked Hamilton in the CFL a league of which I see less than a game a year). Over the course of the 1986 season, when I was eight, I tried out a bunch of teams (Bears - defending champs, Dolphins - because of '72, Broncos, and maybe some others?) before settling on the 49ers despite knowing little about them (the first game of their I ever remember I bitched out some stiff named Jerry Rice for getting hurt). I rooted for them ever since and by this point I am wedded to them.

That brings up another point, I don't hold all these teams in equal esteem. I am a fanatical football fan, but only a general fan of the other sports. I can watch them and know who is good and what is going on, but I don't know players. In the NFL I can name you the backup quarterback of every team. There are three teams I am not going replace barring something incredibly drastic - San Fran, the Caps, and Gators football. If those are my wives, UMO hockey is my mistress team. Watching the Garth Snow/Mike Dunham team in '93 is a favored childhood memory. I've actually been lucky - I have seen my teams win 3 Super Bowls, 2 BCS titles (still want a playoff), and 2 Frozen Fours (that is when I was following them - UF and and San Fran have 3 previous titles). Even the Caps had a title shot (the Washington teams and the Indians are probably the most hard luck of my teams). Secondarily UF basketball as won titles twice and UF baseball made the College World Series. And as I said in 1997 the team I rooted for then won the World Series. Other than than they are mainly placeholder teams so I have someone to root for - but none of those attachments are so strong I can't imagine changing them in the future if say I move somewhere, know someone connected to the team, fall in love with player, etc.

As for teams I don't like, almost all of them are football teams. I don't like the Yankees, the Pittsburgh Penguins (rivalry), or the Lakers - although I have a strong suspicion that will fade once Kobitch retires. I the NFL I detest the Cowboys. There used to be other teams I disliked back when San Fran was good and had rivals (that is a privilege for the good teams). I dislike the Ravens because of what Modell did to Cleveland, but ironically he lost control of team once in Baltimore so that is fading. I loath "Slash" Lewis, but like Ozzie, the coach's brother, and some of their young up guys. I dislike they Raiders (rivalry I guess? I have been to the bay only once in my life), but they are waaaaay too dysfunctional to get worked up about (although JaHamburger has brought me hours of entertainment).

In college my main ire is for FSU, especially if they could stop sucking. That is total rivalry - I used to like them before I went to Florida. Before I got here I did not really follow college ball so I just rooted for coaches I knew (Bowden, Holtz, Paterno) because I had little idea who the players were. I always hated Thug U. I fact they are probably the team I hate more than any others (maybe Dallas). I don't like USC either - I don't respect the defense free football of the Pac-10, but I don't mind their other teams. In the SEC I hate LSU who is a rival and has a dumb coach (I always root against poorly coached teams) and Bama because they have put some bad beats on us (even before this year) and Saban is a prick. UGA is a rival, but I have mellowed on them because I like Richt and they never beat us. Tennessee doesn't earn much ire either because Kiffin is gone and they are pretty middling. I used to dislike OSU when I went to school in Ohio and everyone told me how great they were (I disliked them a bit before), but in '03 championship game I switched from rooting against them to for them because the announcers were blowing Miami the whole game. They were so fast they told viewers. They even said it after a rush that got two yards. OSU was staying with them, but the announcers ignored what was right in front of them and stuck to their pregame plan. I hate when that happens (see Leak, Chris accuracy).

Finally there is Notre Dame. I used to like them when Holtz, but now I don't care about them at all either way. And I swear I am the only sports fan in the world who is neutral on them.


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