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Rooting for the Home Team

Updated on April 6, 2012

Do you root for your home team or someone else's?

Being from the Delaware valley, right across the river from Philadelphia I have been confronted with this issue all of my life. As a child my father read me the riot act about rooting for your home team. He said, "You don't root for a team because you like their uniform, son. You root for a team because its your home team. The closest things we have to home teams in south Jersey are the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies. If you don't like sports that's fine, then don't root at all and find something else to do."

My dad was a very intimidating man. Sure, as children most of our parents are intimidating to us but my dad had that effect on other adults. There was no way I was going to disappoint him regarding his teams. So, ignoring one disappointing season after another I root for the home teams regardless if I think the organizations have the best interest of the fans in mind. Face it, sometimes they do and other times they favor the bussiness decision over the popular one. I don't begrudge them that but my soul is getting tired of the letdowns.

Over the years I have met far too many local people who claim the Dallas Cowboys or the Giants are they're team. Worse they take special pleasure when the home team fails. Even more deplorable and confusing to me are those individuals who root for a team like Dallas but still root for the Flyers or Phillies or both. How can you root for one home team and not the other? After some deliberation and discussion with compatriot fans I can only conclude this is a deep character flaw.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you frontrunners yelling at the screen. "This is America and you can root for any team you want!" I do not disagree. On the flip side then I say to you, "This is America and I can criticize your lack of character and heart all day if I feel like it."

I have and have had friends who root for other teams. Some said simply, "I rooted for Dallas(I am using Dallas as an example here)since i was a kid." Or "My dad was a Dallas fan and so am I." I hear these petty, poor excuses and I wonder. When are you going to grow up and do the right thing? Time to realize your dad was weak and he was wrong. He misled you and made you a contrarian by default and on some levels reviled by your friends and neighbors.

Yes, reviled. Do you think I ever want to watch a football game with a guy who is a Dallas fan? No, I do not. Mostly for the reason I stated earlier. Those same so-called friends seem to take special pleasure in seeing my team fail. Why is that? Did the home team disappoint you? Did you find yourself hating them because they beat the team you adopted? The team you, until the last ten years, could hardly keep informed about at all.

When I drove for a medical transportation I had a list of questions I would ask local Dallas fans. I never got past the first one. I asked, "Can you name five of the Dallas Cowboys playing today?" Without fail not a single person could, and believe me there were many people wearing cowboys gear when they won a game. Not when they lost a game, mind you, but when they would win a game they would be hooting and hollering about their team. Ha! Almost every person I confronted would run off names of players who won superbowls in the 70's or in some rare cases the nineties. I'm not sure if they were actually that dumb that they thought those same players would still be on the team all these decades later or what. I was aghast then and I am still aghast.

Where is the heart? Where is the grit? The easy road is rooting for the teams who have proven themselves to be perennial winners. It takes guts to root for a team that never reaches the ultimate goal. Cleveland Brown fans and Detroit Lion fans are a great example. How hard has it been to root for those teams? True fans wear their team colors with pride, win or lose, but I have a hard time calling those who do not root for their home team true fans. Am I wrong?

When your home team wins it lifts the entire community. You can see it in the way people smile and go about their daily business. People who would never have spoken to one another suddenly can't stop talking about the team and all they accomplished. A home team win is a win for everyone at home. If you root against your home team you are rooting against everyone you know and love, regardless of their rooting interest. You have aligned yourself against the community. Is this hard to understand? Denial is not just a river in Egypt. No matter what logic you bring to the table some of these turncoats will still argue with you although they have no ground to stand on.

How about this line of nonsense? "When I was a kid the only team that was televised nationally were the Dallas Cowboys and one other team." Really? When I was a kid I rarely watched a game. I was too nervous around my dad who was always yelling and screaming at the screen. I wanted to root for the team like he did but as a child I just didn't get it yet. Are you telling me that as a child you did?

As I got older I came to understand it was my responsibility to root for my home teams because they represented me and my region. What good did it do me if i rooted for the redskins? None. Although Big Chief Halftown took me under his wing at Dutch Wonderland every summer, no kidding, (I would hang out at the shop with him while my mom and dad went and had a romantic evening), I learned that I shouldn't root for the Redskins just because they had an indian head as their symbol. In effect I grew past my childish impulses and learned to do the right thing. So what is your problem? Isn't it time for you to grow up?

In short, in my opinion the easy road is one paved in Pittsburgh, Dallas or New England colors. Good for you if you live in those areas and you love your team, I am not talking to you at all. In fact I think you know very well what I am referring to. The hard road is the one paved in your home team's colors. You have to stick with them through thick and thin. You have to grin and bear it when they draft a lightweight rather than the guy you think will be a winner. You have to suck it up, hope for a better season next year and keep rooting for the other local teams as they make their push for the ultimate goal. Is it difficult at times when faced with year after year of heartbreaking loss? Hell yes, but I would rather look forward to next year than sell out to someone else's team this year. Regardless if my home teams win or lose I come out a winner. Can you say the same?


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      John Baugher 5 years ago

      Go Birds!!