Born, raised or just dumb luck – Part 1

on August 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

There is no question that some of the most passionate people in this world are sports fans. There are different types mind you, with different levels of fandom, but all share in the same loyal, unwavering support of their chosen team. There is an indescribable bond with other like-minded fanatics that can easily make watching a game 1000x more enjoyable. One must be careful however because as with any other passion, if it is misguided, it can turn into a devastating train-wreck. For now though, we will just keep to the positives and see how fans choose their favourite team or more accurately, how our favourite teams are chosen for our us.

As mentioned above, not all fans are created equal even if they do support the same team. When discussing fanatics, most people have that loud, boorish 18-35 year old male who is there to drink with you during the good times and there to help drown your miseries during the bad times. You can still see them at sporting events but there is also a richer tapestry of passionate fans in the crowd. Which means that alcohol isn’t necessarily a “prerequisite.”

Fans show their allegiance in multiple ways. They still loyally support “their” team by attending games, purchasing jerseys or may even shave their team’s logo on the back of their head. Some will even travel thousands of miles (3,414.4 miles to be exact) into enemy territory to cheer them on. Fans today also take to social media, pontificating the greatness of their team to anyone who would listen and will refute any naysayers that come along. There are also fans that have an encyclopedia’s worth of stats (does anyone even know what an encyclopedia is anymore?) in their head and can rattle off obscure, insignificant facts pertaining to the team and its players. Correction: insignificant stats to anyone other than those fans. Considering all the time and finances devoted to this obsession, you would think that careful planning, statistical analysis and a great deal of time is taken to figure out which team one follows.

It doesn’t.

Your favourite team, the one that you continually cheer for, is more often than not, a result of circumstances that are well beyond your control. In fact the only real time we choose our favourite team rather than it choosing us is when we were children. Back then all we cared about was winning and being the best so our “favourite” team was based on which team won the championship the year before. Eventually, being called a bandwagoner is too much and the time has come to decide which one team you should forge your allegiance too.

Truthfully, there are 3 ways that “your team” can get chosen for you. That’s right… your number one team, the team you will spend unimaginable money on, the team you will defend to your dying breath was one that you didn’t choose. The first option is you were born into it. The team your parents or older siblings cheered for became your team as well. The second option is you lived close by. Whether it was the city you were born in or the city that you moved too, you cheer for the home team. The third and final reason is that you simply lucked into it. The toughest one of all to explain, but the reasons usually make for some of the greatest stories, in other words, it’s just dumb luck.

I am passionate about a lot of teams and have seem this pattern with all of my teams. Case in point, my favourite soccer team since I was a kid was Inter Milan because my dad was an Interista. Pick any North American sport and my favourite teams are the Maple Leafs, the Raptors, the Blue Jays and yes, TFC. I guess it isn’t shocking therefore to know that I was born, raised and still live in Toronto.

When it comes to football in the UK, I never really had a team that grabbed and held my attention long enough to be considered “my” team. I had plenty of respect for Liverpool in their heyday with Ian Rush that gave Italian team fits. I took an interest in Chelsea when Zola signed with them but it didn’t feel right either. It wasn’t until my recent trip to the UK that thankfully dumb luck intervened and my team chose me. The story of my UK team coming up in Part 2 of Born, raised or just dumb luck.

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