The process of marriage is a lot like picking your favorite team
A lot of thought and patience goes into marriage…and picking your favorite team.
On February 17, 2018, I became a married man. As I embark on the first and hopefully only marriage of my life, I began to ponder about sports. Yes on the day I was getting married, I thought about sports. After a few bouts of shortness of breath and mindless pacing, I began to compare the process of marriage with selecting your favorite sports team.
Like selecting the perfect mate, selecting your favorite team has many of the same principles. You must be courted and shown that picking a particular team will grant you eternal happiness… or something close to it. Upon selection, you must pledge your allegiance to them and promise that you will stick with them through anything (or at least until Derek Jeter buys your team and cuts payroll). Finally, once you have your team, you must deal with the ups and downs of that team for the rest of your life.
We will go through the steps of holy matrimony one goes through when selecting a team. It is an arduous process, but one a fan must go through to find the perfect team. Let’s begin with one of the most essential parts of the process.
Finding a team usually occurs when you are young. In many cases, kids follow teams that your father supports but there is a part of you that wants to find your team. This is when you start observing a particular sport and examining every team. You begin evaluating stadiums, lineups and each player on a team. You begin to overanalyze every aspect of every team. You start wondering why Butch Huskey is hitting only .224 with runners in scoring position as opposed to Tony Gwynn, who is sporting a .325 average with RISP.
You begin to eliminate teams quickly and never watching them again. You do this not to be mean but to thin the herd and make your selection easier. Eventually, you find the team that you will root for, but unfortunately, the process is not done yet. The team you select must begin the process of courting you.
The Courting Of A Fan
It seems as if the team you selected knows that they have been chosen. Around this time, the team begins to entice you with dreams of championships. They do this by making a trade deadline deal or having a cool giveaway at the stadium. The team knows they are being watched for any warning signs that may make them unlikable, unlovable or plain crazy.
It is also around this time that a fan begins to tell people about their favorite team, along with their favorite player(s) on said team. Your friends are happy for you that you found a team because they just fit your personality. They see a little Benny Agbayani in you, and they know that it is a match made in heaven. This is when you begin thinking about taking the next step….
The Serious Relationship
You begin by purchasing a ten-game ticket package. You buy the jerseys of new arrivals to your team as soon as it happens. Anytime someone says anything wrong about your team, and you begin arguing with that person. My friend, welcome to a serious relationship with your team.
At this point, you have begun to decorate rooms, cars and your cubicles with pennants, banners, and photos of your team. You want everyone to know that this is the team you represent and if someone does not like it, they stink. This is also the point where you begin overanalyzing every move the team makes. “Who signs Kenny Rodgers to that contract?” “We just let Jeremy Burnitz walk for nothing?” “Wait, we are still paying Bobby Bonilla?”
This is also the time where you begin thinking about leaving your team. The frustrations are too great at times. You find yourself angry at them for the smallest things like not bunting the runner over to second with no one out in an inning. You begin to think that you could do better and you start scoping out Tampa Bay Devil Rays gear. However, you come to your senses and realize that you would be going into the unknown and that there are no guarantees. It is better to go with the devil you know than the devil you do not know.
There is only one step remaining.
The Eternal Courtship
After many ups and downs, the time has come to go legit and forever bond yourself with your team. You buy a 40-game package or even season tickets. You call into sports talk radio and wax poetic about your team playing a 3-4 instead of a 4-3 defense. You begin forgiving your team for their poor free agent decisions (Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, Kaz Matsui, Oliver Perez just to name a few) and chalk it up to bad luck. You see past their flaws and become unapologetic about your fandom.
You realize that you want to root for this team for the rest of your life and nothing will change that…unless they just completely go underwater for like a decade and then you are forced to pick up a side team (I have the Pittsburgh Pirates). Besides that, you are loyal to this team thoroughly and at the end of the day through thick and thin, richer and cheap owners. This is your team and you have no greater pride than to tell people that. You show this pride every game as you have the same reaction whether your team is up by nine runs or down nine runs…”We could do better.”
The process of selecting a team is one that should not be taken lightly. A lot goes into this decision and much thought must be had before going to the final step. The hope is that the outcome will be a cherished addition to your lives…a World Championship.