I don’t know what it’s like to not be a sports fan.
Being a sports fan means rooting for a team. I don’t know people who are big Tiger Woods fans or Roger Federer fans. That’s just stupid.
This is probably some kind of tribal thing, an evolutionary leftover that still demands expression. I’m sure scientists have studied this. But I know that my emotions were hardly unique when Vinatieri’s kick as time expired gave the Patriots their first improbable Superbowl win in 2002. Or, even more poignantly, when the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years in 2004.
The Bruins’ Stanley Cup victory in 2011 was a little less exciting, but not much. Like the Patriots’ win, it came out of nowhere. Like the Red Sox win, it was a very long time coming. And the games were endlessly exciting. Sudden death in hockey is unlike that of any other major American sport: the play rarely stops, and the game (and the series) can come to an end in an instant.
Fans don’t ask much of the athletes, generally. Try hard, say the right things. Don’t make us sorry we’re rooting for you. Because we can’t really help rooting for you.
And, geez, keep politics out of it. Because politics just makes sports a mess. Do we have to be thinking about Tim Thomas’s views on fiat money when he’s making a save? Should we worry about Brad Marchand’s healthcare policy when he’s rushing up ice? These guys are what they do, and who they do it for. They should understand this when they cash their paychecks.
Let’s not complicate things.