The plushdamentals of sports fandom
When I was a kid, we christened the neighborhood backyard baseball diamond "Lezcano Field" after the Milwaukee Brewers' right fielder Sixto Lezcano. When Lezcano was traded, I remember not quite getting it. How were we supposed to now feel about this player we gave our loyalty to? I had no idea.
Up until last September, I never owned a player's jersey, or even a t-shirt with a the player's name & number on the back. Oh sure, I was tempted by Favre (but everybody had one) and I'd still be proud to wear a C.C. Sabathia shirt, but I never pledged my allegiance to a player like that until I succumbed to cool charm of Aaron Rodgers. My Aaron Rodgers jersey served me well in Minneapolis' Skyway, at playoff parties and all of the way to the Super Bowl. But I still have this nagging feeling around it. What if Rodgers turns into a jackass? What if he starts to suck? What if goes to the Vikings in 15 years?
And you can't even play it safe and only get retired player's jerseys. Do you think anyone in Buffalo is rocking a Simpson #32?
I've often said that horse racing is the hardest sport to love. That's still true. The horses will break your heart, but the horses won't let you down because they turn into jerks or they hold out for more money or start sexting that sexy filly down the shedrow.
I love this whole Tony Plush thing that's sweeping Wisconsin, but I can't help but envision a day in the near future when I'm pulling a "Plushdamentals" t-shirt out of the bottom of the drawer and putting it in my purge pile.
But maybe that's okay. Maybe the key to sports loyalty is that it's temporary. I think that's how players think, so why shouldn't we fans adopt that same attitude? I don't know. I don't want to be as cavalier to the next Brett Favre as the last Brett Favre was to us, and I take pride in things like how Packer fans stepped up to help Reggie White's Tennessee church back in the day.
For now I compromise with a Brewers jersey with no name on the back (and seriously people, getting your own name on the back is just lame). But I'm tempted, even though I know how it will turn out.
Posted by kris at August 16, 2011 08:26 AM
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