Be a Fan of the Game.
I am up right now at almost 5:00AM and of course, I have been thinking because I can't fucking sleep. After the Super Bowl, a pathetic Patriots fan had the nads to call me a bandwagoner, all because I was riding the Chiefs this year. I wanted to back up my statements and prove a point to everyone.
First of all, I am not in any way a bandwagoner. I have my favorite teams, they continue to be my favorite teams. The great thing about sports is you can like players from other teams, hell, you can even like other teams. That is what I consider to be the most amazing thing about sports. It could be because of a player, or a play style, any reason, you can like other teams. I am a gambler, I love to bet on sports. I don't have a gambling problem or anything I just find it to be a fun way to watch the games and make a little side money. For me, it's a side gig. Thursday, Sunday and Monday's are my business days. I am a college student, I have no income, what's the harm in me putting $30 a weekend into getting some free beer the next weekend. To be honest, nothing tastes better than a cold beer on a Friday after you crushed the spread and the over the night before, absolutely nothing. For me, watching the top players play and having them make me money so I can get in one on the weekends is better than sex. Even if I get laid that weekend, it just makes it better and better. If I lose? Fuck it. It's $30, and that's if I lose everything. Anyways, back on topic. I caught a lot of shit, and I mean A LOT. I am a Jets fan in New England. Every time the Patriots would play I would nit pick and make comments about how overrated they are and how they will lose to every good team they would play. The scary thing is, aside from the Bills (garbage offense), I was right. I was right THE ENTIRE FUCKING SEASON. Going into week one, I said the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl. I said it because I was right, not because they are my favorite team. Would I trade the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl for my Jets or Cowboys? ABSOLUTELY. But am I realistic in my predictions knowing that neither team would be even sniffing a Super Bowl run this year, ABSOLUTELY. It's called being realistic, something Patriots fans specifically wouldn't understand. Of course, other sports teams have these fans too (Philly I'm looking at you). But I have to deal with these morons every single day hearing this bullshit. Me picking another team to win the Super Bowl isn't some crazy thing. It is called being realistic. Not only did everyone in this region say the Patriots would win (which is fine, root for your team), but once the winning streak started, it was non-stop.
I will admit, it wasn't the way I thought it would be with their defense stepping up. I still called it regardless. I will also admit, I like the Chiefs. I love Patty Mahomes, I love their play style, I like everything about them. No, they are not my favorite team, but I like them. When the Chiefs began getting scarier and scarier as the season went on, the bandwagon allegations were beginning to brew. It really kicked off when the Chiefs played the Patriots. Not only did I say the Patriots would lose, in Foxboro. I backed it up with my second largest bet of the season on the spread and money line, which hit, in case you didn't know the result of the game. Because you root for a different team in a game, does not make you a bandwagoner. ESPECIALLY in a case like mine. Not only am I going to root against New England or Boston in 90% of the games they play because I simply don't like them, but I bet on the games. Because I bet a certain way doesn't make me a bandwagoner, it makes me smart. You bet with your mind, not your heart, otherwise you won't make any money in this gig.
This paragraph is where I wanted to make my real point. Everything leading up to this was personal, this is something that everyone can take away from this. This may be a tough pill to swallow, but this is the main point. If you only like and root for one team, you are not a sports fan, you are a fan of a team. DO NOT, I will reiterate, DO NOT, go around telling people you are a sports fan if you only like and support one single team in any given sport. This does not mean that you should bandwagon everyone, or you should root against your favorite team. There is nothing bad about being a die hard for one team, but that does not make you a sports fan. A sports fan has their favorite teams, but them losing is not the be all end all of everything. Yes, it's sad when your team loses, especially in playoffs. Be sad, it's okay, its normal. The difference is, a sports fan is someone who cares about the growth of the game. They want to see the great players get what they deserve. I witnessed first hand on Sunday the difference between the two. Going into the game, I wanted the Chiefs to win. I like them, I wanted to continue talking all the shit I had talked all year. But I really was fine with any team winning that game. Patriots fans were so blinded by the past 20 years (which I'm not going to discredit their legacy and dynasty) that they didn't realize the next 20 years of football was playing on Sunday. One of, if not two of the best young QBs are battling on football's biggest stage to see who is going to be the next dynasty in the league. That's what I cared about. Patriots were so blinded by their QB the last 20 years that they have missed out on some great players in that era. Were talking, TWENTY WHOLE YEARS, a lot of GREAT players have come and gone. There can only be one "Greatest of all time". When Brady's career is all said and done, he will probably be considered the "GOAT" depending what you look at. But think about all the other great players ignored because they simply don't play on your favorite team. Some names you can consider, Michael Vick, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb and Kurt Warner. Those are just players since 2000. All of these players ignored because they simply aren't "the greatest". I came to terms in thinking this way through hockey. We are witnessing the three greatest players of all time in the NHL right now. Why would I want to get blinded by the success of Martin Brodeur or Patrick Elias. I care to see the growth of the game more than anything. I used to hate Crosby, I used to hate Ovechkin, all because of my favorite team. Once I began watching them more consistently I realized it was such a shitty way to watch sports. Why would I want turn my back on these guys when they are growing the game we love. The night Ovechkin won his cup, I will admit I shed a tear. I was so happy to see a player who has been great for so long finally get what he was working towards. I will probably do the same when McDavid wins his first. Hockey means that much to me, I want to see the great teams succeed. I want to see the growth of the sport just as much as my favorite team winning.
I stopped shitting on the Devils biggest rivals, the Rangers, two seasons ago. Yes, I still want the Devils to beat the piss out of them every time they play. But I realized when New Jersey and New York when they had the 1st and 2nd overall picks this season, I want to see them succeed too. It's what makes a great rivalry. I'm so happy for the Patriots when they beat up on my pathetic Jets, so happy. I'm glad that makes you all feel great. But wouldn't you rather see Tom Brady lead the charge down the field in OT of the AFC championship to beat the Jets and go to a Super Bowl? Because I can tell you in 2012 when the Devils beat the Rangers in OT of game 6 to go to the Stanley Cup finals, it was the greatest feeling. These fans of teams can't think this way. For them, it is all about winning and losing, not the score or anything else. I am taking that result in the series over a 4 game sweep and every game not even being close. It's simply not memorable that way. Playing and watching sports is about memories, my first hockey game was the Devils vs the Islanders, a 6-1 win in favor of the Devils. I would have much rather watched the Devils beat the Flyers in OT of the playoffs (which I did watch at the Prudential Center) to take a 2-1 series lead in 2012. Competition is memorable. In playing terms, my first career high school shutout in hockey I faced zero shots. I don't even remember any part of that game. What I do remember is my second shutout, a 3-0 win over our biggest rival (who was undefeated at the time), stopping 32 shots. The competition made it memorable, the atmosphere, everything. I love that shit. When it comes to watching sports, I care about the growth of the sport. I care about seeing competition, I would be bored if all my teams rolled every single game and won the championship. Yes, that would be memorable, but wouldn't be talked about the same if they won two OT games in the playoffs and then kicked a game winning field goal to win the Super Bowl.
I had a lot of points to make which I felt were important, so this may seem unorganized. In short, don't claim you are a sports fan if you can't handle wanting to see another team win. There is nothing wrong with being a fan of a team instead of a fan of the sport. Again, root for your favorite team, get sad when they lose, be happy when they win. But maybe take a step back and care about the growth of the game. Because when all you have is your one team and thats it, it'll feel real shitty when they lose 5 years in a row because sports are simply a cycle. Don't be that idiot because I and others care about seeing great players succeed. I promise you, it doesn't mean I or we have favorite teams everywhere, it means wanting to see a team or player win because they deserve it. What we are witnessing with Connor McDavid and Patrick Mahomes is so fucking special I can't even put it into words. Don't be blinded by your own team or your own players because that is such a shitty way to watch a sport you claim to love.