I think I may have struck a nerve.
In my last post about the Ravens/Dolphins game this past Sunday, I touched on the subject of fans of the opposing team being heckled. If you somehow managed to miss that article well, I’ll forgive you this time. You can find it here by the way. After I posted it, I received several emails, texts and comments from people voicing their opinion on the subject. It seems that when it comes to showing your fandom, many of you have different views on the issue. So I thought it would be interesting to explore this topic a little more and get some feedback from my loyal readers to see where the majority of you stand. Please feel free to send in a comment at the end and I’ll be sure to post only those that agree with me. Just kidding.
Fans have existed for as long as people have walked this planet. Recent discoveries of cave drawings show fans of the saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths in what appears to be some primitive form of a bench-clearing brawl. Ok, I don’t think that’s true…but it could be. The point is, as long as there have been teams to root for, there have been teams to root against. Rivalries have been a part of sports since the beginning and anyone who considers themselves a sports fan respects that. Rivalries develop over time, sometimes a very long time (see Yankees-Red Sox, Giants-Dodgers, Auburn-Alabama) and continue from generation to generation. Fathers pass on their hatred of a certain team to their sons, who pass it on to their sons…it’s a beautiful thing!
As the pace of the world has gone from slow and steady to mach 3 over the years, the time it takes for a rivalry to build has shortened. With the relocation of teams, expansion in many sports and “big ideas” such as interleague play in baseball, many sports fans will tell you that rivalries hardly even exist anymore. I mean Texans-Jaguars isn’t exactly Bears-Packers, am I right? For many fans in today’s sports world, their team’s history is so brief that it is hard to choose any one team to focus their distaste on. So with the help of the internet and the 24/7 news cycle, they’ve decided to hate on any team that isn’t theirs.
This is where the difference in opinion starts to kick in. When I wrote about the barrage of taunts and insults that a Miami Dolphins fan received at Ravens Stadium on Sunday, many of you had differing views of the incident. “Serves him right for wearing Dolphins gear at a Ravens game!” someone told me. “Why should someone be subjected to such ridicule just for rooting for their team?” another commented. “People should be able to root for who they want.” I understand both points of view here. Sports hatred runs the gamut from tame to extreme. I certainly don’t condone the actions of those who take their hatred to a dangerous level. I do, however, love to see sports fans get passionate about their teams.
As our society becomes more and more mobile, it is becoming rare for people to grow up and never leave the county or state they were born in. As they move around the country, these folks take their team pride with them wherever they go. I respect any fan that wears their teams colors to an away game…you can tell by looking at #17 on my list. I plan to show my Terps love in all it’s glory if I get to visit Cameron Indoor Stadium for the game in January. But I also am not naive. I know what to expect when I show up for a game and root for the other team. Anyone who calls themselves a sports fan should know what to expect as well. So to all the Dolphins fans that showed up this past Sunday…I applaud you! Oh, and by the way, YOU SUCK!!