October 11, 2013 by phicks2012
With Football Season having finally arrived, I’ve been watching a lot of — you guessed it — football games — and cheering on my DAWGS, and thinking about why we choose the teams we support, and why we might dislike the teams we cheer against.
Sometimes we cheer for the teams that are most local to us — for the High School or the University we attended or for teams in the towns where we live. Sometimes we cheer for the schools or teams that our families support — and that pattern of support can go back for generations, especially here in the South where football tends to be a religion. Sometimes we select teams based upon a winning record — a history of championships — or upon other criteria. Examples of this might be a naval officer cheering for Navy or a Catholic cheering for Notre Dame. But, however we select them, if we’re fans we watch their games, and follow their records. We cheer for them, and probably cheer against their opponents.
I mainly cheer FOR rather than AGAINST. I went to UGA, but even before that I cheered for the Bulldogs, and I’ve been a Falcons fan since the team got going. It helped that my family were all mostly Dawg fans too, of course, and that we didn’t really have many GA Tech infiltrators in the family to worry about, but in any case I cheer FOR Georgia, and FOR the Falcons. I cheer FOR the SEC (as long as the other SEC team isn’t playing UGA) and FOR the NFC South (as long as another NFC South team isn’t playing against the Falcons). It’s the way I roll — and I’ll even yell ROLL TIDE!
Only rarely do I cheer AGAINST, and when that’s the case it’s because they rank ahead of my team nationally, or — as is the case with Steve Spurrier at South Carolina — I really dislike the coach, or — as has been the case with a few teams like the Pitt Panthers — I’ve had really bad experiences dealing with some of their more unpleasant fans, to the point where I’ve met far more obnoxious fans of the team than nice fans. I’ve met a lot of really nice Penn State fans over the years — the school’s more recent problems notwithstanding — but my experience with Pittsburgh fans from the same state has been overwhelmingly negative, so for years I would joke that I cheered for Georgia, and whoever was playing Pitt.
But in any case, my personal experiences have taught me that being a good sport — whether you’re a player, a coach, or a fan — can earn friends for the teams you personally support, while being an obnoxius pain in the ass can turn people against your team as much as against you. So please, sports fans, back your teams but be good sports about it. A little good natured raillery is fun, but in the long run you’ll be helping more than yourself by showing good sportsmanship!