To summarize the rules here they are:
- Don't customize a jersey with your own name.
- If you are going to an Nba game don't wear the jersey of a team that isn't playing.
- Don't buy cheap attire for your favorite team.
- Don't wear replica championship rings or carry around baseball cards a conversation starter.
- Don't be obnoxious rooting for the visiting team.
- Buy lots of your team's stuff if they win a championship.
- Be careful using the word "we" when discussing your team.
- Don't jump on and off your team's bandwagon during the season.
- You can only root against your team if you hope they get a better draft pick or someone gets fired.
- Don't root for one of your fantasy guys if they are playing your favorite team.
- Don't boo your team unless it's absolutely warranted.
- If your team wins a championship there is a 5 year grace period.
- You can follow a specific player from other teams as long as they aren't competing against your team.
- Don't act like a jerk (family friendly blog otherwise I might use another word) if your team wins a championship.
- Be careful in how you act when your team is facing a friend's team.
- Don't switch allegiances to a team because of who you are dating/marrying.
- Don't be Janet Jones.
- If you grew up in a major city then you must root for the teams in your area.
- Once you pick your team you are stuck unless your teams moves (Cleveland Browns) , you get a team in your area (Orlando Magic), someone you are close to works for a team, you follow a once and a lifetime college athlete to his pro team, or your owner sucks.
- You have to choose between the Mets or the Yankees if you grow up in New York.
This column is not one of the Sportsguy's better column's since it misses many points about being a sports fan. Specifically it doesn't take into account the many people that grow up in states without professional teams. It was easy for Bill Simmons to grow up in Boston and go for all of Boston teams. He should have just wrote that he grew up in Boston and he roots for the Celtics, Bruins, Pats, and Red Sox and be finished with the article.
Thankfully for the 3 people that read this blog there is another perspective of the rules for being a sports fan if you grow up in a state like South Dakota, Idaho, or Mississippi. Here are my rules:
- Take into account your favorite team when drafting your fantasy team. For instance I have never drafted Tom Brady before because I couldn't stand rooting for him. It is bad enough that the Dolphins are horrible and I don't want to start rooting for a Patriots player.
- In order to break up with a favorite team one must follow certain steps. Step 1: There has to be a reason why? Step 2: There has to be a grace period when you don't have a favorite team in that sport. Step 3: There has to be a valid reason to root for your new favorite team. It shouldn't be much different than dating someone, breaking up with that person, having some personal time to reflect, and then meeting someone new. I find it cold when someone is able to move so swiftly from one favorite team to another. It says something about how unimportant the first relationship was if someone is able to move on that quickly. My example was growing up rooting for the Dodgers before breaking up with them and baseball because of the 1994 strike and having no favorite baseball team until I moved to Minneapolis in 2005 and starting rooting for the Twins. Now when I see the Dodgers it is like seeing an ex-girlfriend.
- One must carefully choose the reasons why you pick a favorite team. The fact of the matter is that growing up in a random state you almost always have to pick your favorite teams. My caveat is to be careful who you pick and why because you will be answering that question for the rest of your sports life. For the record I picked the Dolphins because in Mississippi CBS always showed Dolphins games and I liked Marino and the Dolphins passing game. I didn't pick the Dolphins because I thought Cam Cameron was the answer.
- You can follow multiple teams, but only have one favorite team. There is nothing wrong for watching the Suns because they are a fun team to watch. There is nothing wrong for rooting for the Packers to beat the Redskins. There would be something wrong if I rooted for the Suns to beat the Jazz or the Packers to beat the Dolphins. It is fine to root for one random team over another random team for any reason such as fantasy, gambling, favorite players, or whatever. Don't take crap from anybody for rooting for another team that isn't your team.
- Check out the player's contract and standing on the team before buying his jersey. This is the rule that should have been stamped on every Torri Hunter Twins jersey this year. There isn't much worse than spend over $100 on a jersey and then watching that guy play for the other team.
- Along the same lines don't ever wear a jersey of another team or sport to a game. I don't know why the Sportsguy limited this to the Nba. There is no good reason why anyone would ever wear a jersey of a team that wasn't competing in the game. At the Miami University-Minnesota football game there was a guy to the right of me that was wearing a LaDanian Tomlinson jersey. Maybe he was confused or hadn't done laundry in awhile because otherwise I have no clue why he would wear that jersey? Another example was at a Twins-Tigers game I saw a guy wearing a 1996 Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey. Again this was more than a little baffling.
- If a foul ball comes your way then catch it with your hands or relinquish your right for the ball. Don't use a glove. Don't drop it and then scramble for it knocking over women and children in hopes of getting a $13 baseball. Act like you have been there before.
- If your team wins a big game then a cigar is necessary if not required.
- It is perfectly acceptable to root for individual players as the Sportsguy mentions above. Growing up in Mississippi I find it completely fine to root for the Brett Farve's, Steve McNairs, and Jason Campbell's of the world.
- Don't bet against your team.
- Wherever you go to undergrad is your favorite college team...no exceptions. You had a choice to pick this school and you should stick by that school no matter what. They are your favorite college team in every sport and if they play another school you are required to root for your alma matter. There is a special circle in Dante's Inferno for people that go to one school and then root for another school against their college. I could never understand the Miami students who rooted for Ohio St. against the mighty Redhawks. If you wanted to root for the Buckeyes then you should have gone to school there.
- Your childhood favorite college teams can still be your 2nd favorite teams, but if by chance they ever play your school then refer back to rule 11.
- When their is an important game (Duke-UNC, Super Bowl, etc) involving your favorite team there are only 3 acceptable excuses for not watching the game: getting married (and if so pick a better date), attending a funeral, or if someone is in labor. I missed the 2002 Duke-Indiana Sweet Sixteen game and I am still blaming myself for that loss.
- If you have a significant other who is not into sports it is your right to try and make them root for your favorite teams if only a little bit and maybe for the only reason that they don't want to be stuck with you when you are in a bad mood following a loss.
- When rooting for a team, seniority matters. I take someone who has been a Red Sox fan for 30 years more seriously than someone who has been a Red Sox fan for the past 3 years.
If I think of other rules I will add them on, but right now that is a good start.