Story time. About three weeks ago, a co-worker asked me which Michigan school I went to. When I told them Michigan, they were like, "oh, gotta make sure I get that right, you hate Michigan State, right?" I was like, "uh, no, a lot of my best friends went to State and I root for them, too." That is my rehearsed, go to answer, but this time I must have sported some attitude, cause my co-worker seemed a bit surprised.
Honestly, I have gotten that comment thousands of times, starting in undergrad, and still today, and it's never bothered me until now. It actually stuck with me for a bit. And it wasn't until Jason Collins announced he was gay that I think I figured out why...
There is just too much hate in the sports world.
Oddly enough, I think the world handled the Jason Collins thing so much better I expected. It was like the sports world showed everyone what we all already know... there are gay people playing sports, owning businesses, laying brick, paying taxes, etc. And everything is okay. Funny thing about people who are different from us and/or what we know... they are people, too.
There is a Bible teaching that sometimes plays its way into what we teach parents, and I think it's appropriate for both Jason Collins and our sports "enemies" in general...
Hate the sin, love the sinner.
In my list of most hated teams, I noted Notre Dame football and the Yankees as the teams I hate. But I don't hate them... I LOATHE them. So what does that mean in my life? LB fan favorite and the best man in my wedding, Fah T, is a die hard Notre Dame fan. My mother in law and Reggie, who is maybe my most loyal reader and the co-writer of one of our most popular posts ever, the Worst Athlete Babysitters, are die hard Yankees fans. Do I hate them? Hell no. Do I want them to win? Nope. Am I mad when they do? Yep. But do I congratulate them and am I happy for my family and friends? Of course. And I'm happy for their cities and campuses, too.
Events like Boston, 9/11, Newtown... they remind us where to direct the hate and violence. Those who would deny us the right to live. Live as people. Be accepted for who we are and the teams we cheer for. I understand you don't want fans from opposing teams coming into your stadium and being obnoxious and whatever. And it's all good to yell back and make fun of their Moms, or whatever. I rip opposing fans all the time, and I'm not saying any of that needs to change. Shit, it's sports, yo!
But do we need to fight each other? Kill each other, like they've done in L.A.? Tell Mojo and I "my pussy must be fucking huge from getting fucked all the time," and threaten to brawl just because he wore a Lions jersey and I wore a Tigers shirt to an Eagles/Lions game? We aren't coming to your city. We are coming to our city. In our country. Because we are all one.
Let me give some props to Pittsburgh and share exactly what I mean... a group of us went to Pittsburgh for a Tigers/Pirates series that happened to be the same weekend as Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, Red Wings vs. Penguins. Fah's 30th birthday happened to be that weekend, and his wife surprised him by renting out the top half of a bar on the main drag downtown to watch the game. After the 2nd period, the bar opened up to the public, i.e., a hell of a lot of Pens fans.
And how we were greeted, a big group of guys and gals wearing Tigers and Wings gear? No problems. Got a few friendly questions about how we got the bar and what we were doing in town, and that was it. Shared space at the tables, nothing but smiles and manners getting drinks. I hung out at the bar with a couple Pens fans for a few minutes, watching the game and talking hockey over a beer. Totally cool guys. After a few minutes, I joked, "it's nice to talk to some Pens fans who liked the team before you got Crosby and Malkin." They just laughed and were like, "yeah, those bandwagoners are pretty fucking annoying, but what are you gonna do?"
After the game, we spilled out onto the main street where Pens fans were celebrating. Never felt unsafe. Never threatened. Just a bunch of happy people celebrating, having a good time, and not causing any problems for anyone. There were a lot of Tigers/Red Wings fans down there that night, and we joined in with Pens fans cheering, "fuck you, Hossa!" (He had gone from Pittsburgh to Detroit after the Wings won last year). Went to the Tigers/Pirates game the next night, and they brought the Cup in. Never got harassed the entire game. They showed us where Permanti's was (highly overrated, by the way). Genuinely asked how we liked the city, what we did for the game, etc. I have a lot of love for that town.
Best part of that night? We were trying to get off the main drag and find a cab to get back to our condo, and somehow Fah T flags down this "cab," aka, an unmarked black car with some dude who gave us his card for when we needed a ride. We put like 8 people in a four door Sedan. He then got his birthday present from me during a stumbling walk down the street our condo was on. If you want to know his present, tweet @logicalbetting and I'll tell you, cause I ain't saying here because I'm pretty sure my parents read every post.
Hate the sin, love the sinner. Be good to each other. Trust me, I see the product of hate in life, and it's not worth it. Let's keep it out of our sports. Win humbly. Lose graciously. Be classy. And make fun of the opposing fan's city/mama/choice of facial hair/size of gut. Because there are only two types of people in the world I can't stand... people who have no respect for other people's cultures, and the Dutch.
Contact Logical Betting at email@example.com and twitter.com/logicalbetting. I have no clue what we're posting in two weeks, so if you have anything you want us to talk about, send the suggestion. Hasta.