On my bank website there’s a security question that asks, “What team do you usually hope will lose?” That’s easy.
I know a lot of Boston Red Sox fans, but I only know one real red sox fan. Usually, the easy way to tell if someone is a “real” fan of anything is to check how long they have followed that … anything. My one red sox fan has been there since about ’72, almost 40 years. That’s enough for me. I don’t know what it’s like to be a Red Sox fan, but I imagine it’s quite fun and probably a lot like being a fan of The Honeymooners. One thing is for sure, it’s not as easy as it used to be.
Before Boston won the 2004 World Series, it was “cool” to be a Sox fan. I used the quotes because what I really mean is “trendy.” Boston was a heartbreak team for a very long time, about 80 years. They were always close but no cigar, and that was cool because they were expected to lose, like Ralph Kramden. He always had great ideas, but you always knew things would collapse in the end. Somehow, someway, he was going to screw it all up. BoSox fans for many years never had to worry like Yankees fans did because the Yankees were and still are always expected to win. A non-World Series year for Yankees fans is about equal – but opposite – in strength as winning the World Series for whichever team captured the title in that given year. Things were different for Boston because losing was always expected, so nobody got very upset. However, after Boston won the 2004 World Series, things changed.
The same thing happened to the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For decades they were the doormat of the NFL. Living near Philly, I constantly hear Eagles fans talking about how much they hate the Dallas Cowboys, but I have to laugh when they talk about how smug, conceited, cocky, or whatever else they use to label the Cowboys. Have any of those Eagles’ fans ever actually met any of the Cowboys? Have they ever truly gotten a smug, conceited, or cocky reaction from a player from Dallas? I find that hard to believe. As for New Orleans and Tampa Bay, there’s an opposite similarity. Nobody, up until very recently, has ever said a bad word about those two teams because they were perennial losers. You didn’t worry about losers. They were like an easy pre-season game. You’d beat the crap out of them on the field, and then you’d actually feel sorry for them as they limped to the locker room. Fans don’t usually hate any sports team unless there’s a history – like the Cowboys and Eagles, Yankees and Red Sox – of that other team laying a fabulous beating upon your ass.
I don’t hate the Red Sox. I want them to lose every game, that’s for sure, but I don’t hate them. They have terrific uniforms and some very educated and passionate fans. However, if a team bus is going to drive over a cliff, and I get to decide which team, you can be sure it won’t be the Kansas City Royals.