Daddy Talk: Sore Winners
As embarrassing as it is to admit, my two sons are Chicago Cubs fans. It all started when the Cubs inexplicably won the World Series last year, and my seven-year old decided that it was in his best interest to convert from the family tradition of Pittsburgh Pirate fandom. He came clean for the first time in front of his Cub Scout pack when the den leader asked him who his favorite baseball team is. Right there in front of the whole den—parents and everything—he said, “The Cubs.” I almost died.
A few months later, the New England Patriots put the Steelers out of the NFL playoffs and went on to win the Super Bowl. (It should go without saying that any decent person would have been rooting for the Steelers in this instance.) Suddenly, my son was a Patriots fan. I was already embittered with the Steelers’ lackluster performance against Tom Brady—yet again—and was having to do some personal soul-searching about their loss to that bunch of cheaters, so my son’s proclamation that he was now joining the enemy’s ranks felt especially treacherous. But as horrified as I was, I moved past that anguish easier than expected because I also realized that he was simply a fair-weather fan. He doesn’t really LIKE these teams, I told myself. He just sides with the champions. It will be interesting to see who he roots for next year now that the Astros are the World Series champions and there’s no way in heck the Patriots will repeat.
Do I like the fact that my seven-year old has no sense of conviction or loyalty when it comes to his sports teams? Not particularly. But it could be worse. Consider how my five-year old has handled the issue.
He came to being a Cubs fan last year as a result of seeing how annoyed I was with the sevenyear old becoming one. My five-year old has a knack for poking and prodding people in order to make them have a meltdown. Just ask his sister. Ever since the Cubs won the championship last year, he has intermittently announced his loyalty to the Cubs and then looked my direction with a smirk on his face. When he does this, it’s hard to take him seriously, but I try to play along and get worked up so he gets the “good” response he’s hoping for.
Last week, he went to a localLids store with my wife. After scanning all the ball caps, he grabbed a Cubs one, took selfies with my wife’s phone, and promptly showed me the photos when I got home from work. I acted like I wanted to punch his lights out and had to be restrained. He got a real kick out of that. For good measure he started going on about how the Pirates stink. I’ll admit that after those comments I really did try to start formulating some kind of retaliation. What would be an appropriate, fair punishment for being an obnoxious sports fan?
The more I think about it, the more it kind of disturbs me. It’s one thing to be a genuine fairweather fan, like my seven-year old. He really believes, for some reason, that he like the Cubs and the Patriots and probably some other losers from other sports that I don’t even know about. But my five-year old doesn’t truly believe himself a fan of these teams; he deliberately does this to make me mad. Don’t you think that’s so mean? I can’timagine making fun of other people’s teams simply out of spite. For all of our sakes, I really hope some other team with a really annoying fan base doesn’t win the Super Bowl this year—like the Dallas Cowboys. Then I really might lose it.
Tim Krason roots for the Steelers from his home in Clinton.