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Tag Archives: NFL

My Rules of Being a Sports Fan

1. What Dad says goes.  If you grow up in a family where your father is a sports fan and follows certain teams, you have no choice. This is in the #1 slot for a reason. It trumps all other rules. My father grew up in Chicago and I believe he grew up a Cubs fan because that’s who his father followed. I think. (I need to go back and read Tuesday’s Child.) When he left home and joined the Air Force, he eventually met my mother, a Northern California native and, after a couple of relocations, returned to Northern California. My family has been rooting for the San Francisco Giants ever since. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 years. We went to Giants games on a semi-regular basis, but never the A’s. What Dad says goes.

Corollary: Apparently, if you are a girl and you get married, what the husband says goes. My sister, charming and talented though she is, has questionable allegiances now. Her husband is from Southern California. When they graduated from college, they moved to Southern California, where they spent the next 20 years or so. When the Anaheim Angels faced the Giants in the 2002 World Series, I believe she was rooting for the Angel since they were her husband’s team. The rest of the family has never really known what to do with this. I mean, my God, she even bet me when the Sacramento Kings were playing the Lakers in a post-season series — and she took the Lakers.

2.  Geography matters. If Dad doesn’t follow a team or a sport, you are free to follow your heart, but the first priority is the local team. There are more corollaries to this than there is space to cover them. But I’ll cover a few.

Corollary #1: First in matters. Here in Northern California, for the first 15 years or so of my interest in sports, the Golden State Warriors were the only NBA team in the area. As a result, I was a Warriors fan. This was a sport my dad didn’t care much about. As he frequently said way back when — all you have to do is watch the last two minutes of an NBA game to see what matters. As a result, Rule #1 never applied anyway. I went with geography and followed the Warriors through years of misery. Trust me, misery. In the late 1980s, the Kings came to Sacramento. Geographically speaking, in the heart of my hometown, you know. While I became a fan of the Kings, I continued to follow the Warriors and when they played each other, I always have rooted for the Warriors. Because … yes, first in matters

Corollary #2: You know your enemies by where you live. Growing up a Northern California sports fan has meant one simple thing. It is the 11th Commandment. It is as basic to me as needing air to breathe, food to live, and beer in a glass, not a can. Thou shalt never root for a Southern California team. Ever. Thou shalt wish that nothing good ever happens for any Southern California team or its fans. Hence, any team south of the Tehachapis might as well reside in Hell. The Dodgers, the Angels, the Lakers, the Clippers, the Los Angeles Kings and now the Rams and Chargers in the NFL. Truthfully, San Diego is south of the Tehachapis but the hate isn’t as strong with those teams because … let’s be honest, San Diego teams never actually win anything. So, we feel a little sorry for them.

But back to the hate. For a NoCal sports fan, it doesn’t even matter what the sport is and whether you care about the sport. Nothing good can happen for those teams. Nothing. Ever. Did I say that already? Nothing. Ever. It should be the same for Cubs fans and the  White Sox. Dallas Cowboys fans and the Houston Texans.

Corollary #3: There can be extenuating circumstances. I grew into being a sports fan in the 1970s. My dad didn’t much care about the NFL, so Rule #1 didn’t apply. The 49ers and Raiders were the local teams. But here’s the deal. The 49ers absolutely sucked back then and the Raiders were … well, the Raiders and I couldn’t be a fan of them. So, I looked around. The Steelers had characters and a run of success no team has ever had — winning four Super Bowls in six years. I started following the Steelers and have been with them ever since, even if they are 3,000 miles away. Yes, I chose to ignore Rule #2, but I have complied with Rule #4 ever since. I should get credit for that.

3.  You also know your enemies by who your team is. As a Steelers fan, I have teams I hate — all of the teams in their division (Bengals, Ravens, and Browns). Why? Because. That’s why. And then there are other teams — they are the teams that take away my team’s success. And for years, that team has been the New England Patriots. My dislike, my seething anger at the Patriots rivals the same feelings I have for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s strong. Similarly, the Anaheim Angels are not only a Southern California team, but they beat the San Francisco Giants in that 2002 World Series — they shall forever be on the no-fly list for me.

4.  Once you pick a team, following these rules, there is no going back. You can’t change your mind because your team sucks. You can’t change your mind because that other team is so good or because your favorite player left for other parts. No, you follow your team through thick and thin. Except for one exception — when your team leaves you.

This all leads to the conundrum I have for today’s Super Bowl, and my final rule.

5.  Sometimes you just make this shit up. Based on geography, I can’t root for the Los Angeles Rams. Based on being a Steelers fan, I can’t root for the New England Patriots. But … the Steelers are the only NFL team to win six Super Bowls. It is a mark of distinction that has held them above all other NFL teams for decades. As a result, I root against any team that gets close. If the Patriots win today, they will have won their sixth Super Bowl. That is simply unfathomable. As a result, I will be rooting for the Rams. But I think the Patriots are going to win and that this is the year when somebody matches the Steelers in this hallowed category for the first time in forever.

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Memorial Day Thoughts

I’m just about as anti-war as a person can be, and being an American I have had to watch countless military adventures our country’s leaders have taken us on. I have opposed virtually every one of those adventures. I came of age with Grenada and Lebanon and useless fist-shaking military strikes authorized by President Reagan.

The one I supported … well, actually, there have been two. The first was our military intervention to put a stop to the ethnic slaughters that were taking place in the former Yugoslavia. I felt that was a situation where we could use our military might for a good cause that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with our strategic interests. We actually used our power for an unselfish purpose.

The second was the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan to put an end to the Taliban and al Qaeda and to help Afghanistan enter the modern world of nations. My support of this effort turned sour when it became clear that the Bush Administration actually had no real plan for accomplishing those objectives. Almost seventeen years later, that “war” grinds on with no end in sight, no clear idea of what the objective is, no exit strategy. nothing. Just soldiers continuing to try to do the right thing while fighting and dying.

As anti-war as I am I also am fascinated with the stories of war and the soldiers that fight them. A few months ago, I saw previews for Thank You For Your Service. The previews seemed far too jingoistic for me and I haven’t seen the movie. I did, however, buy the book and am reading it now. The author, David Finkel, also wrote The Good Soldiers, an excellent book about our Iraq War. The book is a no holds barred, in your face, gut-wrenching look at the after-effects of war on soldiers who return home.

I have read countless books on Afghanistan and Iraq, on World War II, Vietnam, the Civil War, The War to End All Wars (yeah, right), and others. I am fascinated with these stories. My favorite movie (if I’m not counting The Holy Grail) is Saving Private Ryan.  Band of Brothers is just incredible.

The point for me is this. I may be anti-war, but I honor those who serve and put their lives on the line. They do something I could never do, and I feel compelled to know their story. That’s the least I can do. So, on this Memorial Day, if you don’t want to read a book, read this. Honor a fallen hero by knowing his story and those who have lost him.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, the NFL is a joke and our President is worse. The former announced a new policy that allows its players to continue protesting just so long as they do it behind closed doors so nobody can see it. They claim the owners supported it unanimously, but the 49ers abstained from the “vote” and the Jets have already said they won’t discipline any of their players if they continue to protest. So, not only did they adopt a policy that doesn’t stop the protesting, but treats the protesters like … well, they belong on the back of the bus … but they lied about it. I will do everything I can to skip the NFL this fall.

As for our President… After the NFL announced their new policy, he tweeted that players who kneel during the National Anthem should find another country. The idea that the only way to honor this country, to be patriotic, to demonstrate your love for this country, is to stand for the National Anthem — that kneeling during the song is disrespectful — is so dictatorial, authoritarian, and anti-American, I will not stand for the National Anthem as long as he is President. He has bastardized American and is destroying it from within. And disrespecting those who have fought and died for the freedoms and principles this country was founded on.

“Move to another country?” I think not. I’m staying right here, exercising my rights as an American to have a different opinion and to express it freely. I look forward to when we have a President again who respects those rights for all citizens.

I Apologize in Advance

I may piss people off with this … but I’m troubled by the reaction to Ray Rice.

First, let me say this.  There is no place in the world for domestic violence.  There is no place in the world for men to hit women, abuse women, assault women, punch them into unconsciousness.  What Ray Rice did to his fiancee is disgusting and there is no excuse for it.  No plausible justification.  I will not ever condone somebody doing anything like what Ray Rice did.

That all said…

We’re talking about the NFL.  American Football.  Where the point of the game is to destroy the opponent.  To tackle them and slam their bodies to the ground.  Many of these athletes have been playing the game since they first were able to walk.  They are worshipped and treated as heroes for nothing more than the ability to pound their opponent into the ground.  It is a violent game.  The most violent of the major sports in this country.  OK, hockey is a close second.

I just have a real problem with the league and its owners profiting off of such a violent game acting so outraged at something like this.  It seems massively hypocritical.  But, then, that is what ultimately defines the NFL these days … hypocrisy.

 

Why?

Green Paint Splashed on the Lincoln Memorial.

Why can’t there be certain places that are so sacred that they are untouchable?  Top of the list for me would probably be the Lincoln Memorial.

Bankrupt Detroit to Build $444 Million Hockey Stadium.

With city taxpayers footing 2/3 of the bill for the stadium, why do I now feel as though the bankruptcy filed by the city of Detroit is a sham instead of a shame?

Zimmerman Juror Thought He Was Guilty.

Why didn’t she vote her belief and her conscience then?  She says “the law didn’t prove it.”  I call bullshit.  She should have stood up to B37 who seems to have gone into the trial and deliberations with an agenda — writing a book and getting rich off of it.

The Monday Morning Quarterback.

This last link is to Sports Illustrated’s new website dedicated to the NFL 365 days a year.  Why does a sport that lasts from August through January, and in which each team only plays once a week during the regular season, have to dominate sports for an entire year?   It’s nearing the end of July.  Pennant races are heating up, the trade deadline approaches.  This is when baseball takes it up a notch.  And what are the headlines on all of the sports websites?  NFL training camps begin soon — what teams will surprise, what teams will disappoint, blah, blah, blah.

The Monday Morning Quarterback began as a very well written, multipage, multistory look at each Sunday’s NFL games.  Peter King wrote that weekly column.  Eventually it was expanded to a shorter Tuesday edition as well.  Now, it is a multi-authored, daily website.  All about the NFL.  I think they jumped the shark on this one.  Peter King was worth reading once a week.  The daily effort, including other writers, will water down the effort.

Never mind that the NFL is quickly becoming the second most boring major sport.  Right behind the NBA.

What’s Wrong with America

The Super Bowl, or what my psycho ex-girlfriend referred to as the Stupid Bowl, is over and what’s one of the sub-headlines on this week’s Sports Illustrated?  I’ll tell you because I know you want to know. 

NFL Off-Season Preview.

Yes, that’s right.  The football season is over.  Finally.  And rather than turning to baseball or hockey, soccer or basketball, there are pages of discussion of what each NFL team needs to address for next year. 

I absolutely cannot stand this nation’s obsession with the National Football League.  As of about 7:30 PST Sunday evening, it was the off-season.  Take a break.  Deep breath.  Relax.  Let it go for a few months. 

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