So my team lost. Get over it!

Clay Matthews' victory dance.
Image via Wikipedia

Football is a great game. It’s interesting, there’s strategy involved… so says my husband, anyway. I enjoy watching it; it’s a tradition in my family and having been born in Wisconsin it’s required that I bleed Green and Gold. Unfortunately it also means that I’m supposed to hate any Vikings or Bears fan by default. I disagree wholeheartedly with this.

The one thing about football that I hate is the tendency for football fans to cheer AGAINST a “rival” team, rather than cheering FOR their own team!

I have always had a problem with cheering when something bad happens to the team that my team is playing against, like a dropped pass or a missed field goal, rather than when my team does something good, like completing a pass or scoring a touchdown. When the Viking’s and the Packers play, or the Bears and the Packers play, I don’t get enjoyment out of the game if the Bears or Vikings are playing poorly; there’s no satisfaction in a win that’s easy. And cheering every time a Vikings player misses a pass or fumbles the ball only serves to alienate, anger, and even hurt those friends of mine who are fans of the Vikings. Do I really want to alienate my friends? Do I really want to spend my Sunday afternoons making them angry, insulting them simply because they like a team that doesn’t wear the same uniform as mine? That sounds rather counter-productive, meaningless, and unhelpful.

Let’s think about this, folks: someone you don’t know (most likely) is playing a football game hundreds of miles away (most likely) on TV (usually) and getting paid for it. So how does this, in any way, affect our lives? We still have to go to work on Monday, we still have friends and family that we need, and who need us, we still have all the same problems and successes waiting for us when the game is over as we did before the game started. So why do we have to add tension and meanness to our already complicated lives—lives that would be exactly the same if football had never been invented?

I have been to too many sports bars filled with too many people being jerks simply because the team that’s from their state/city/area is playing against another team that isn’t from their state/city/area. They scream and shout and sling completely untrue, mean and derogatory insults at anyone wearing the jersey of a team they are playing against. It completely ruins the game! Who in their right mind would enjoy spending their Sunday afternoons being angry? Being insulted? Being an asshole?

And there IS a difference between cheering FOR your team and cheering AGAINST the other team. For example:

Cheering because the other team misses their field goal: Not ok.
Cheering because your team tipped the ball, resulting in the missed field goal: Completely fine.
Cheering because the other team’s receiver missed the catch: Not ok.
Cheering because your defense had good strategy: Completely fine.

It’s all about attitude and it makes a HUGE difference.

The Packer’s lost their game last night and the Giants advance to the Championship. It sucks that my team lost, and I was quite passionate about the game while it was on. But when the game ended, it ended. It’s over. It didn’t ruin my life, or even my night. I’m happy for the Giants and I wish them no ill will. And what did I get in return? A whole bunch of Viking’s fans rejoicing in the defeat of the Packer’s, when their own team hadn’t even made it to the play-offs. I will never understand, or be ok with, cheering for a team to do poorly—especially when they’re not even playing against my team! I will never hope that any football player does poorly at their job. It makes for a boring game, for hurt feelings and for anger among fans, friends, and families.

People don’t insult other people when they want to bond or to make friends, they only do it when they want to make someone else feel terrible.

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