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Support Your Team ... But Not Too Much

Florida Fans

One Great Season

BROOKLYN -- I've touched on this before and I couldn't help but be inspired to expand on this point after hearing a recent Colin Cowherd rant.

Since I moved to New York in 2006, I haven't really been able to listen to much sports talk radio. But being on the road for the 15-week OGS tour this fall allowed me to pick up some radio in the car, and now with the proliferation of radio shows on TV, I've become a big fan of Cowherd this year.


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About a month ago he opined that too many people -- including many of his audience members -- put too much of their hearts into their favorite sports teams.

I couldn't agree more.

The part I've written about before was the night I watched in person a great interleague game between the Reds and Indians in Cincinnati on a gorgeous summer night in 2000.

On a Russell Branyan double in the top of the ninth with two outs, an Indians teammate tried to score from first base, but an excellent relay into home got the out to preserve the 2-1 win. Even though it was summer -- and Cincinnati -- it really felt like a postseason atmosphere.

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Anyway, I was wearing my Indians hat, still out at a bar later, and some dudes I said hello to shot back with something about how I must be drowning my sorrows after my squad's heartbreaking loss. They weren't really trying to be combative, but the comment stirred a reaction in me nonetheless. I wasn't pissed; although my favorite team lost, I'd just watched a great baseball game on a lovely Friday evening in the summer, and now I'm out at a bar with friends having a couple cold beers. What is there exactly to be in a bad mood about?

My point is that I think we put too much of our passion and emotion into the teams we like. Folks forget about the fact that these games are being played by people we will never meet. And they are just games.

I've never understood why sports breed hate to such a high degree the way they do. The things people say on sports talk radio, the things anonymous commenters leave on blogs -- they truly leave me astounded. People talk such a big game when they know they'll never have to be in the same room as the person to whom they're directing their vitriol. It's like flipping off a bad driver on the highway. What if he -- OK, she -- called your bluff and followed you all the way to your exit? You wouldn't feel so tough then, would you?

By all means, support your team and root for it to win. Storm the field and have some fun if your unranked fave upsets a visiting Top 10 conference rival. Enjoy the rest of the day with friends and fellow fans. But keep it in perspective and realize that maybe it's a bit weak for you to take a mood into work on Monday that derives from the outcome of a sporting event played by total strangers 48 hours earlier.