How to Be a Sports Fan

It’s difficult to believe that a handbook on this is even necessary; but yesterday I saw a full-grown man wearing a San Jose Sharks jersey in downtown Edmonton.  This man was not Joe Thornton.  Clearly, it’s necessary.

To set this up, the following is a loose transcript of a conversation I had with a woman wearing a Red Wings jersey on the LRT leaving a hockey game in Edmonton this season:

Dave Sawchuk:   I see you’re wearing a Red Wings Jersey, when did you get into town?  Are you enjoying your Canadian visit?  

Random Woman: Visit?  I’m not from Detroit.  I’m from Edmonton.

DS: Oh, I assumed you were visiting since you’re not cheering for your home-team.  Is your family from Detroit or the greater Detroit Area?

RW: No

DS: Have you ever been to Detroit?

RW: No

DS: Do you have a personal or professional connection to anybody who currently, or used to, play for the Detroit Red Wings?  Is Henrik Zetterberg your boyfriend?

RW: No, no and I wish!!!!

*My face goes blank and I quietly ride the LRT to the Corona station*

Effective immediately  these are the never-to-be-broken rules on how to properly select and cheer for a sports franchise.  It’s a 2 step process.

1.  Examine your drivers licence.  You’ll notice an address on it.  Take note of the city.

2.  Cheer for the sports franchise that corresponds with the city listed.

I wish it were more complex; but it ain’t.  There are a few rare exceptions:

a) You are from another city, or used to live in another city where you developed a personal connection with another team.  Did you do a tour of duty in St.Louis?  Did you become a Blues fan in the process?  Sure, you can have it.  Even if you move back to Edmonton.  You wanna be a Blues fan for life?  I can understand (and I’m sorry).

b) You’re OLDER than the franchise in your city.  My dad is an Oiler fan, but he has every right to choose any Original Six team he likes.  Why?  Because those were the only teams playing when he was a kid; he couldn’t very well cheer for a team that didn’t exist.  This condition is grandfathered in.

c) Your brother, high school buddy, boyfriend, dental hygienist’s kid, (this is a real stretch) plays on the team.  I met a 12 year old boy at an Oiler game once wearing an LA Kings jersey with “Clifford” on the back.  Turns out Kyle Clifford is a family friend.  It’s all yours kid; you get a pass.

Am I missing any reasonable exceptions?  I considered adding a “father figure” clause, but balked.  True Story: I know this guy who cheers for the Calgary Flames because he hates his father.  As an adolescent, he developed a love for the Flames (specifically the thing opposite to his father’s passion), while living in Edmonton during the “dynasty days”.  There’s an Oedipus Rex joke in there somewhere.


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