Zealotry in Sports

Around the world sports have almost become a religion for some people. From Soccer (football) to baseball, from rugby to eSports (like StarCraft II), people have certain sports they care about more than others. It’s usually not the spot itself that gets the fanatic, zealous following; it’s the teams playing them.

Here in the United States of America we have three major spots, 2 almost major sports, an extreme sports following, and many other types of recreational activities that are monitized and organized in to leagues. To leave myself room to focus on other sports down the road (rugby, eSports, soccer, MLS, NHL, etc) I’ll be focusing on the “big three” here in the USA: football, baseball, and basketball. Before delving in to the specific sports I’d like to start on more ethereal level as to why I route for certain teams and how that leads to me picking a team in a new sport (or variation of said sport, like minor leagues and NCAA).

Top priority goes to local teams; if there’s a local team in a championship of some kind I will cheer them on; doesn’t matter the sport or activity. The caveat for such things comes with teams I like because of: someone on the team or how the team plays. Brett Favre, Wally Joyner, and Charles Woodson are some of the first that come to mind. Then again there are some teams that I just can’t enjoy; like the Giants (SF or NY). Sometimes there’s not a local team, so I’ll go with the closest one I actually like (more on that when I hit the NHL in a future post). If a local team, my favorite team, or a team I generally like doesn’t make the playoffs for a sport I’ll go with another team in the conference; if they beat out my team then they should obviously be the best in the league, right?! Some complications do arise in that I tend to like one team from each league, conference, division, etc within an organized sport. There’s the AFC and NFC for football, American and National Leagues for baseball, etc. That said, I tend to follow the same logic for each conference, but one I care about more than the others.

Generic cheering priority: Favorite Team > Random Team = Local Team = Player’s Team > Conference Team

Football

When it comes to football I’m a Raider’s fan. They were in LA when I was a kid, and when I got really in to football as an almost young adult they were one of the most exciting teams to watch. If the Raider’s aren’t in the playoffs I’ll first route for the 49ers (favorite NFC team) and then any team in the AFC West, so this year go Broncos! I should mention that my wife is a Charger’s fan, so at least twice a year we don’t sit on the couch watching football together…

Raiders >> 49ers >> Steelers = Chargers > Broncos = Chiefs > Everyone Else

…there’s a more “complicated” matrix in the “Everyone Else” category, but it’s greatly in flux these days, which I’m sure will spur a similar article ahead of next season.

Baseball

In the past I’ve liked other teams as my favorite players moved on to other teams. At this point though, it’s all about the Los Angeles teams; even the one that isn’t in Los Angeles.

Angels > Dodgers > Everyone Else > Giants

Basketball

My brother is the bigger basketball fan, I was in the early 90’s but then got in to Soccer and Rugby. I keep this one simple.

Lakers > Clippers > Everyone Else

College Sports

Since the college I went to isn’t in the NCAA it makes my list a little skewed. I’ve been a UCLA fan since I was a little kid and high school ruined any chance of me enjoying USC. Most football seasons I’m pretty neutral for the first couple weeks, then I start picking who I really like and want to win (besides UCLA) from there. Basketball and other sports I’m a little more stringent on…

UCLA > University of Arizona = Air Force > Everyone Else

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