Posted by: Willem | July 6, 2008

Be a Fan of the Game

(Note: This is another guest post from Willem)

It’s Sunday night, and we’re in New York City to watch the Yankees and Red Sox play another much-anticipated game. This will be our first, and quite likely only, trip to Yankee Stadium, since it will be demolished at the end of the year to make way for a new stadium. As the resident sports nut in the family, this trip is mostly for me, but I’m sure Jacob and Kate will appreciate the spectacle.

I really enjoy attending live sporting events, but I only go a few times a year. In my entire lifetime, I’ve been to 2 NFL games, and about 10 MLB and 20 NHL games. So when it happens, I really look forward to it. But this game is really up there on the coolness meter. To be able to see, arguably, the best rivalry in American sports, in a famous stadium, on 4th of July weekend – well, that’s pretty cool.

I also have a rooting interest in this game. I’ve been a Red Sox fan since 1999, the year before Emily was born. That summer I was between jobs, and Kate worked from 3pm to 11pm, so I ended up watching a lot of baseball. I definitely got caught up in the team spirit and the competition. Since I never watched baseball when I was a kid, the transition was easy – I became a Red Sox fan.

Back then, Boston was the city that could not win a championship (in any sport). They were the Lovable Losers. The rivalry with the Yankees wasn’t much of a rivalry at all – the number of World Series championships between 1918 and 2000 was 26-0 in favor of New York. Since then, however, the teams have been much more evenly matched. I’m happy to say that since 2000, Boston has won the World Series twice, while New York has come up empty.

The main motivation for this post is in that last sentence. Like most Red Sox fans, I want the Yankees to lose. I want them to finish in last place. I want them to be the laughingstock of the league. However, I am not like most Red Sox fans in that I choose not to broadcast this hatred on a daily basis. First and foremost, I enjoy the game of baseball, and I appreciate a good play, no matter which team benefits.

This has been a problem in Boston for the past decade. We have become a city of Yankee Haters. This attitude has spilled into other sports as well. It’s no longer sufficient to say, “my team is the best.” The Boston fan must add, “and your team sucks.” Those of you who live in New England are probably well aware of this. It is poor sportsmanship, and I choose not to take part.

Especially in the other team’s stadium. It’s not about avoiding a fight behind enemy lines, it’s about respecting the game. I’ll wear my team’s colors and cheer their successes, but I refuse to jeer the opposition. I hope that other Red Sox fans will do the same. Enjoy the evening at a famous ballpark. Experience one of the few remaining American pastimes. Be a fan of the game.

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Responses

  1. […] after a while being tied with the Red Sox) and much more about the crowd.  (Note:  I found it, here.  It’s good to be […]

  2. Well said Willem. I’m not a competitive person but I’d hate Baseball to fall into the slippery place that say, British soccer has fallen with thugs tearing cities apart when their teams lose. Good for you . . who won? (sorry I wasn’t paying attention)

  3. Very well said, Willem! I know well of which you speak.

    I grew up in a house with a dad who was more a fan of the team than a fan of the game. It took me a bit to realize that wasn’t normal, but my own avid participation in sports throughout my childhood and teenage years gave me the respect for sports that was otherwise lacking from my male role model.

  4. i like you a lot, willem!

  5. Good for you Willem…I married a die hard Yankees fan from NYC, I used to hear the same garbage out of his mouth until we had kids. Our Children Derek and Monet Alexa (know where those names came from?) will grow up being force fed Yankee stuff..right now they love it and will beg for Daddy to turn on the game and cuddle with him on the couch, snacking and cheering. Steve has got his head on good enough to not be the “BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS” fan and teaches the kids the fun of the game, they hav plenty of time to be bratty…Steve wanted to come to this weekends game so badly, he’ll be tremendously jealous.


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