For the past two years my friends and family have asked me which teams I’m a fan of or what my favorite team is. This is the answer I give them.
“I grew up as a Yankees/Giants/Rangers fan, but I try to be neutral for the kind of career I want to pursue.”
But why do I answer like this? Does it have to do with careers that interest me or is there something beneath the surface that only I know? That’s what I’m going to answer as best I can.
Writer’s note: I always support the University of Connecticut Huskies and my high school teams. This Coleumn is supposed to be about the major sports leagues.
After college, I want to be a sportscaster like Joe Buck and Kevin Harlan. If you listen to them on the radio or watch them on TV, you notice that they call the game with an unbiased attitude. This is partly because the games they cover are nationally televised, but their jobs would be at stake if they showed a bias towards one team.
Suppose I end up covering games for one team like Greg Brown does with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then showing team support is perfectly fine. However, local broadcasters must be impartial during the game when the opposition wins or when an opposing player performs well. It’s more than the career that has an impact on the teams I accompany.
On October 9, 2020, former Tampa Bay Rays infielder Mike Brosseau hits a home run in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the American League Divisional Series, winning that game 2-1 and eliminating the New York Yankees. If you were to ask me the exact day and time I swore to become an unbiased sports fan, that would be my answer because I couldn’t take the pain anymore.
Growing up as a Yankees fan means feeling the unrelenting pain of the playoffs they’ve been through since 2009. Ever since the Yankees won their 27e ring, they did not win a single pennant and won three games combined in the American League Championship Series. All other playoff appearances have resulted in elimination in the ALDS or loss in the Wild Card Game.
I can feel the pain of the Yankees’ playoff failures, but what about the other teams I loved growing up, like the New York Giants and New York Rangers? It’s not the same anymore. The Giants have been a whole different story, and while I loved seeing them beat the New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, everything since 2012 has been on a downward trend. They made the playoffs once and even that loss, a 38-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card Round, was painful.
Rangers are a bit more complicated. They went to three conference finals in four years, but had their playoff shortcomings like the Yankees. The only reason I don’t cheer for them anymore is because I figured I’d be a neutral sports fan in all leagues, not just baseball.
You might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned an NBA team yet and the simple answer is that my parents influenced who I was rooting for. My parents weren’t a fan of an NBA team, which is why I don’t show passion for a team or know all the players like I do with MLB and the NHL.
In addition, there is also a level of stress that accompanies the passionate rooting of a team. I want to live a long and healthy life, and although there will be stressful times, I don’t want sports to be a reason why I die prematurely. When a team I love is eliminated, the playoffs become less stressful because I don’t have to put up with them anymore; that’s why sometimes I want the teams I like to be eliminated as soon as possible. It makes the playoffs more enjoyable and I don’t have to worry about results every day.
For a very long time, I also worried about superstitions. For the past few years, I’ve been implementing my own superstitions about my social media use (like not checking my social media during games) or into the videos I watch just for a team to win. By not supporting a team, I don’t have to worry about those superstitions and can check the score whenever I feel like it.
This in no way makes me a fan of the bandwagon. I’m not going to suddenly disassociate myself from a team when they start losing, or immediately consider myself a fan of a winning team because there are franchises I’ve supported even in their darkest hours. On the contrary, I consider myself a hidden fan of certain teams, like the Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Rams, while being neutral towards everyone.
I don’t mind being an unbiased sports fan. I’ll show my support for the teams I grew up with here and there, but not being heavily invested in a team helps me enjoy the game while understanding why some teams are likable and others aren’t. This has allowed me to increase the number of teams I support while hoping for the best results.
I may be an unbiased person when it comes to the sports teams I love, but don’t be surprised if I’m at a sporting event as a fan and passionately support the home team, especially a UConn men’s basketball game. Sporting events are exciting to watch in person, but I just want both teams to win.