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[personal profile] mahogany
Maybe someone that watches NHL hockey can explain the appeal of being a sports fan because honestly, I don't get it. I can understand why people play sports. I can even understand the appeal in watching professional sports (though I think it loses a lot in translation from real life to television). I can even understand the appeal of something like the Olympics or World Cup soccer (football). It's homegrown talent, and people are rooting for their home countries. I get that.

What baffles me is team loyalty to a team that is anything but homegrown talent, that changes from year to year, that buys and sells players, that fires and hires managers and trainers. Other than the name, this isn't the same team that my husband was cheering for ten years ago, or even twenty or thirty years ago. Yes, he has been a Canucks fan for over thirty years.

So, if there is no thread of commonality other than the name, where is the appeal? He can't explain it. He says it's just something you either understand or you don't. And evidently, I don't. Can someone offer me an explanation of being a lifelong, die hard fan of a sports team?

Date: 2011-04-25 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomdreams.livejournal.com
I think it's a grouping thing, tribal-like. It's sure weird, though.

Date: 2011-04-26 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
It is weird, but as far as diversions in our cold dark winters go, I suppose I could think of worse things than being a hockey fan.

Date: 2011-04-25 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovejunk.livejournal.com
Been a Canucks fan as long as your husband (OK, some years I'm more bandwagon than others, lol), and I don't have a good explanation for you. Supporting sports teams in general, the whole tribal 'war by proxy' thing explains a little I guess, but Canuck fans are irrationally loyal!

I've been thinking about this too, because recently an American ex-pat friend of mine was miffed because she felt the American anthem was rushed. I personally don't get the point of anthems of any nationality at NHL games. Made sense in the dark ages when you recruited locally, but now, not so much.

Was also really interesting for me during the Olympics last year. For 2 weeks I was rooting for Toews and Keith to be brilliant, and now I'm back to hating both with unreasonable passion! I'm curious if your husband felt the same way.


Date: 2011-04-26 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
But wait, aren't you from Edmonton? Given that we're close to the same age, that would mean you were a Canucks fan, living in Edmonton while the Oilers had the hockey dream team of dream teams. That takes guts!

"Tribal warfare by proxy" - I love it!

Date: 2011-04-26 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovejunk.livejournal.com
Born and raised in the lower mainland, but lived in Edmonton for a few years in my early 20s. Was a secret Canuck fans in those years, but I never minded the Oilers, so was happy having them as an adopted team while we were there.

Unless they're actually playing the Canucks, I still cheer for the Oilers over anyone else. Including and especially the Flames, which makes my relatives in Calgary crazy.


Date: 2011-04-26 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
P.S. Dh says that he's never disliked individual players. It's all about the team for him.

Date: 2011-04-25 11:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toezontheground.livejournal.com
Yeah, I reckon it is an identity/affiliation choice thing. Doesn't make sense to me, but let's face it - it's not really about rationality, so it won't necessarily make any sense.

A lot of life's passions make us fools don't they? :)

Date: 2011-04-26 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
Totally!

Date: 2011-04-25 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ohhellsyeah.livejournal.com
Maybe someone that watches NHL hockey can explain the appeal of being a sports fan because honestly, I don't get it.
It's the religion I was raised in. My whole family watches it. My friends watch it. It unites the country. It divides it. That's all I can really say. My earliest memory is watching Hockey Night in Canada with my uncles. It's always been there, it's always been a part of me. Hockey is who I am.

I am incapable of not caring about it. I wish I didn't care so much. But I do.

Date: 2011-04-26 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
My daughter pointed out that the first few lines from "The Hockey Sweater" are printed on our five dollar bills. Like it or not, hockey is a huge part of Canadian culture. I'm not even sure that people can pin down what Canadian culture is, exactly, but whatever it is, hockey is a huge part of it :-)

Date: 2011-04-25 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blaueteufelin.livejournal.com
I think a lot of it is city or regional pride and identity, and the continuity that any kind of annual, communal ritual or tradition provides. Watching a team play in the same stadium year after year (perhaps going as a kid with family), yelling the same cheers or having a team song, remembering games and seasons past and keeping track of stats, having practically the whole city following the games and sharing in mass euphoria or dejection...that's powerful stuff on a visceral level. It's beyond rationality. It is akin to religion, I think, in that as a species we seem to really find meaning in communal observances and in marking the passage of time in a regular, ritualized way - like a cultural calendar, as opposed to a religious one. I dunno. I think just about anything people can share on a communal level can generate that kind of loyalty - from the mundane to the profound.

Date: 2011-04-26 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
You know, I think you're onto something, actually. This makes a lot of sense.

Date: 2011-04-25 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garpu.livejournal.com
Beats me, but so long as he doesn't root for the Canadiens. ;)

Date: 2011-04-26 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahogany.livejournal.com
LMAO! You must either be a Leafs fan or a Bruins fan. I'm guessing Bruins?

Date: 2011-04-26 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garpu.livejournal.com
Heh yup. Bruins. Although I'll watch whatever's on.

Date: 2011-05-08 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] noveldevice.livejournal.com
Sorry, I saw your comment on [livejournal.com profile] randomdreams's post that you're also local and popped over to look at your LJ because of it.

I'm not a hockey fan. (I sometimes watch it because, well, I'm living in Canada and damn it's hard to avoid hockey, but I am really unexcited about it.)

I am, however, an NFL and baseball fan. I have the good luck to be a fan of two teams that are mostly pretty loyal to their players, with players who rarely willingly leave, mostly because they love the city where the teams are located. Watching sports is nice, and it's nice when you have someone to cheer for. I have secondary teams for when I can't see a game my teams are in, and a sort of cascading list of who I'll cheer for in any given matchup based on players' former affiliations, geographical location, how they play the game, etc. In baseball, frequently the hotness of the top of the batting lineup also has an effect, I'm afraid. (For example, in any random Toronto Blue Jays game, unless the other team is one of my teams or is SHOCKINGLY hot, I'll cheer for the Blue Jays based solely on Jose Bautista.)

In the Derby yesterday, I watched the horses parade and thought Animal Kingdom looked like he was going to win it, but I cheered for Shackleford because it takes serious balls to take your horse to the front over a classic distance and then try to stay there till the wire. I respect balls.

None of that has a lot to say about team loyalty (although maybe a little too much about me personally), but I think that people like to feel they're a part of something, and sports fandom is a huge something to be a part of. It can also be, for people who are into it, a huge shared context. I've gone to bars to watch a game and had an enjoyable three hours chatting with total strangers, feeling like we weren't strangers because we were all football fans. I dated a guy for an entire summer based on nothing but physical chemistry and a shared enjoyment of baseball. We broke up right before postseason play started, actually.

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