Should You Only Root For Teams From Your Region?
I'm a Duke fan. I have been ever since my first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium. I was 11 or 12 at the time.
Johnny Dawkins was a Sophomore, and Duke was on it's way to becoming one of the elite programs in the country.
Living in Maryland, however I get a lot of grief for being a Duke fan.
This brings me to the topic of the article. Should you be a fan of a team just because you live in a certain geographic region?
I say no. There are so many reasons people become fans of a team. One of them of course, is location. I don't have a problem with this, as I am a fan of the Orioles, Capitals, Ravens and Wizards.
This doesn't always work though. What if you live in an area where there isn't a team. For example, when I was in college in North Carolina, in the early '90s, people were both Orioles fans and Braves fans, because they were right in the middle of the two teams.
What if your team moves? Does your allegiance to that team move as well, or do you find a new team?
As a kid, I was Colts fan. Bert Jones was one of my heroes.
When the Colts moved, I wasn't going to continue to root for them. So I would need a new team.
I wasn't sure who it would be, but I did know it wouldn't be the Redskins. This was because my dad didn't like them and that must have rubbed off on me.
There is another reason people become fans of a team, because their family and friends are a fan of a certain team and it makes them feel like part of a group.
I have no problem with this reason either. I have already "brainwashed" my five year old son, into being a Duke fan.
I respected a lot of the players on the Redskins at the time. Guys like Theismann, Riggins, Monk, Green and even the Hogs were great players, but I couldn't bring myself to root for them.
I became a Bears fan instead. They had players like Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, Mike Singletary, even Gary Fencik and Willie Gault, that appealed to me as an early teen.
I became a Ravens fan once the Browns moved to Baltimore. However for the first two or three seasons I was split between the Ravens and Bears. To this day, I still have a soft spot for the Bears, and I hate to see them struggling the way they have recently, but now I'm a die hard Ravens fan.
As I stated before I am a Capitals fan. I used to be a Bruins fan, in fact I still am unless they are playing the Caps.
Now I know you're not supposed to switch teams like that, but let me explain.
When I was a kid, I didn't know anyone that was a hockey fan. One of my first vivid sports memories is of the U.S. hockey team beating the U.S.S.R. in the 1980 Olympics.
Also at that time, a kid named Wayne Gretzky, was beginning his great career. Between the U.S. hockey team and Wayne Gretzky, I fell in love with the sport. Not wanting to be seen as a front runner though, I didn't want to just root for the Oilers. So I became a Bruins fan.
I didn't know about their history at the time. How they were an Original Six team, had great players like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Terry Sawchuk. Or how they had broken the color barrier with Willie O'Ree. I picked the Bruins because that was the name of my schools' team.
OK, so maybe it's a stupid reason to pick a team, but it worked for me. Cam Neely and Ray Bourque are two of my all-time favorite players.
The reason I switched was because I felt the B's were becoming the Orioles of the NHL. It felt like Peter Angelos was the owner of both teams. They started missing the playoffs, they wouldn't pay players that deserved it, and it just seemed like management had no commitment to winning.
Instead of building around players like Bill Guerin and Joe Thornton, they let them go. I couldn't go through that with two teams. But now both the Orioles and Bruins seem to be back on track.
On the flip side, I saw the Capitals getting rid of players like Bondra and Jagr, who were at the end of their primes and bringing in younger guys to build around. Granted Jagr, revitalized his career with the Rangers, but it was a good move, at the time.
They used early draft picks on guys like Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom, who already rank among the league's best.
The Capitals gave a career minor league coach his first shot at the big time, and were rewarded with their first post-season appearance in five years.
Owner, Ted Leonsis seems to have that commitment to winning. Yes they are still a few pieces away but they are headed in the right direction.
I only recently became an NBA fan, and I have latched onto the Wizards. Not so much because they are basically my hometown team, but because of Gilbert Arenas, who when healthy is one of the most exciting players in the league.
So there is another reason people become fans of a team. There is a player on that team that intrigues them.
Are any of these reasons wrong? No of course not. My only issue is the argument that "you live in area X, you should root for team X."
As I said I have no problem rooting for the homers, but that should not be your only argument against rooting for another team.
I plan to move to North Carolina some day, and I will not become a Panthers fan. Nor will I give up my allegiance to the Orioles, Caps or Wizards.
Nothing personal against any of the local teams, I'm just not going to switch teams because I moved.
So let me know if you agree or disagree with my argument, also let me know if there is a reason that you became a fan of a team that i didn't mention above.
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