On Being a Sports Fan

I am, at most, a casual fan of baseball. I am also, a casual fan of the Tour de France. I don't obsessively follow either, but when I'm able I'll turn on the game. I want my favorites to win, and I want the rivals to lose. I can't quote stats, and without looking I can't even tell you results off-hand most of the time.

But while I am first, and foremost a Cubs fan, I am also a baseball fan. I don't think you can truly be a fan of a team without being a fan of the sport. Although it seems that I may be in the minority on this. Where I grew up (in central Illinois) the big rivalry was Cubs vs. Cardinals. And to this day, that's still the rivalry I have the most fun with. A superhero is better when they have a (nearly) equal supervillian. It's part of what makes being a fan fun. But even though I enjoy seeing the Cardinals lose, I don't wish them any ill. I don't want to see their players hurt, and when they lose, I want them to lose because they made honest mistakes, not because of bad umpiring or anything of that nature. And when they have a good play, it still makes me happy, because I am a fan of baseball. When Pujols hit the grand slam on Saturday, although I knew it meant the Cubs probably wouldn't win the game, I admired the fact that he nailed that ball. He saw a pitch in exactly the right place, and he hit it in a way that there was no question that it was gone. It was good baseball, even if it wasn't good for my team.

But there are people who are not fans of the game. people who are unable to say "Wow, that was a great play!" if the play was made by a rival. People who feel the need to insult or belittle their rivals at all times. People who say "I wouldn't go to a game at that park if you paid me." Those people annoy the crap out of me. If I'm offered tickets to a baseball game, and I can get there without sacrificing what's important to me, I'm there. Wrigley, The Cell, Busch, or a little league park... it doesn't matter. Baseball is fun. If it wasn't I'd have no business claiming to be a Cubs fan.

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