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Friday, January 15, 2016

The Silly Addiction of Local Sports Fandom

Whenever you hear people talk of addition and the need to wean off, it usually refers to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes..  Some even try to apply the concept to  foods like sugary sweets or coffee..

But as addictive is the bond between sports and the fan, especially the unwritten rule that you must always blindly and loyally support your local teams no matter how often they gouge you, ignore your feelings or ultimately crush your spirit when they relocate.

This is of course not a local or even an American phenomenon..
Its blind passionate loyalty to one's local football club in in places like Spain, Portugal and Italy which has been a very desirable distraction from the realities of their ultra-impoverished existences, especially all those young males (50% unemployment rate) and little hope of a good future

Say thanks to the banks..  The ones like Bank America, Chase, CitiBank, Barclays, Santander, etc that sponsor your favorite sports teams either directly on the uniform or through naming rights on the stadium.

In Philadelphia, like in many other cities around the world, every sports arena is named for a bank.

The NFL team plays at 'Lincoln Financial', the NBA and NHL team plays at the 'Wells Fargo Center' even though the basketball team refuses to publicly acknowledge it (since WF wisely does not want to waste its money advertising with a terrible team), and the MLB team plays at Citizens Bank Park which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland global conglomerate.
And in Philadelphia like pretty much all sports towns, when it comes to decisions as to how the franchises are to be run, the thoughts and feelings of the fans mean absolutely nothing

The fans may bitch and moan their complete lack of input But both as individuals and collectively, people refuse to ever put their foot down, take a stand and cut emotionally and financially from the teams...

Yesterday the incompetent buffoon owner of the Eagles, Jeff Lurie announced a new head coach..

It didn't matter a whiff that when polled prior, 85% of fans were very unhappy at the thought of this selection, a protege of a fat vomit-breathed walrus named Andy Reid who once coached here before being fired yet still had the owner's ear

This guy named Doug Peterson that no other NFL team was interested in, had the quality most sought after by ownership..  He wanted no say on personnel decisions i.e. the man wanted absolutely no power or final say on roster, trades or the draft..

And the fans' voices as in every other sports market did not matter.

But maybe its our fault..  Our brains and pure logical reasoning tell us these sports teams are nothing more than privately run businesses who basically hijack cities' names as a form of civic or regional branding

A Philadelphia Eagles is no more 'Philadelphian' than the supermarket-sold creme cheese
Besides if you have a franchise such as the Yankees, which will draw in more people-- calling them 'New York' or the specific area which they play their home games i.e. the Bronx Yankees.

Or referring to the New York football Giants as they really should be called:  The Northern Jersey Giants since they play all home games at the Meadowlands

That's why a baseball team that used to call themselves the Anaheim Angels realized more money was to be made by attracting more fans with a name change to 'Los Angeles' Angels

The team still plays in Anaheim, not LA proper..
I kinda feel bad for the people of St Louis..  First they lose their ABA basketball team, the 'Spirit' when the league merged with the NBA, then their beloved Cardinals move to the Arizona desert in the 1980s..

And now this past week the announcement its second football team, the Rams, originally relocated from LA would be going back to Los Angeles (along with the Chargers who will be leaving their San Diego home to relocate to LA the season after the Rams in 2017)

Then again I kind of think of them as imbeciles as well..

For had the relocation not been approved, the city along with the Missouri governor would have continued to work feverishly to provide ownership with the funds for a new billion-dollar stadium

And stupid fans would still have bought tickets, merchandising and overpay for food just to watch a continually mediocre product on Sundays..
But to be fair, Philadelphians would have been just as fucking stupid..

And New Yorkers.. And New Englanders.. And just about every other city around the globe where a professional sports franchise is located

Few to no people as individuals or the collective ever have the guts or strength to wean off their local teams, if not the sports themselves.

No one sacrifices anything if it deters from their entertainment.
We can talk all we want about how horrible it is to kill dogs, punch women in the face, beat children with sticks or switches and pretend to be offended whenever whitey says Nigger..

But no one really will sincerely boycott or outright stop rooting for their local team just because a player brutally tortured and killed animals (Vick) or raped a woman in Colorado (yes you, Kobe) or some other foul, vulgar act which athletes representing Nike seem to engage in

You can be a killer, rapist or pedophile and as long as you have the talent to help your team win the 'Big Game', management the fans will ultimately tolerate and cheer you.
And the tired, repetitive cycle of being a sports fan..

Talk about being played out!

It goes something like this:

Your favorite football team, the local team you spent your whole life committed to as if part of your family had a very poor season.. Let's say a 4-12 win/loss record...

The coach gets fired..  OK, now its a supposed 'fresh beginning'

Then add to it a high draft pick or two and its optimism that the team has 'turned the page'
Season one with new coach..  Just as terrible

Season two.. An improvement.. just enough to taste playoffs

Season three.. back to 4-12

Coach gets fired, in comes new guy and its a 'fresh beginning'

Plus, look at that high draft pick for the upcoming season.. I smell 'optimism'

On and on it goes..  being dragged along
And how easy is it to manipulate the fan into buying the lie of 'Hope' and 'Change' indefinitely

Fans are almost as easy to dupe by sports owners as Americans are by Presidents

Then one day you wake up and you're no longer a bubbly, sparky 17yr old full of hopes and dreams..

You're now 35yrs old..

Then its 45.. then 55.. then 65 and beyond if lucky..

Getting continually strung along

All that time and energy Wasted as being yanked on a chain by these Fucking sports owners who are only in your city because the financial figures work out to nice sizable yearly profit.
So though a few weeks late, I have found my personal New Years' Resolution:

To no longer have any emotional attachments or pull toward any of the local sports franchises, all of them capital 'L' losers in perpetuity and to just enjoy sports with recreational detachment.

To no longer feel this overriding tension every time one of these soulless billionaires make bad decisions in their best selfish interest while pretending its for the greater 'Our'..

Too many more important things in the world and for so many, there's this addictive 'Grip' of local sports and the undeserved attachment loyalty it demands.

Be nice if others followed but I'm a realist..

Many see sports as entertainment and recreation..  For me, its just another example of distraction from things in life of consequence