Friday, May 23, 2008

No We In Team

We won the national championship! We just didn’t bring our A-game and you guys beat us in all facets of the game. We have dominated our rival the past 5 years. If you follow college football as closely as I do you will hear statements like these all the time, at the office, talking with friends, online forums, etc. And I have to be honest, it annoys the hell out of me.
Why do fans say “we” and “us” when talking about their favorite team? Unless you are a player or a coach, you should not be saying “we” when discussing your favorite team. It is disrespectful to the actual members of the team when you lump yourself in with them, when they are the ones sacrificing so much. I don’t care if you are a student (or alum) or how much merchandise you buy or that you have had season tickets for 20 years. No matter how much money you give to the school, you are not a member of the team. We all pay taxes that fund our troops fighting overseas, but in no way would I ever say something like: “We are fighting a determined enemy over there.” I am not fighting anybody…other brave souls are fighting for me. Now I know comparing the sacrifices of football players to soldiers is a little extreme, but the same logic applies. As a former college football player, I know how much these players sacrifice every day. And as a fan I know how little I sacrifice while cheering on the Buckeyes…my buying of a ticket or jersey does not compare to the blood, sweat and tears the athletes give to the team. (I should note that I did not attend Ohio State but I grew up in Ohio and have been a fan for a long time. But I wouldn’t even say “we” while referring to my alma mater’s team, a team that I actually played for just a few years ago.)
The greatest thing about college football is the passion it generates in the fans. I understand this, but we all need to keep things in perspective. The “gang mentality” in this country makes us all overanxious to feel like we are part of a group or team. Well, when it comes to our favorite football team, we are not part of the team as much as we like to think we are. Despite the many dollars we spend cheering on our favorite teams, no amount of money can compare to the efforts put forth by the athletes and coaches themselves.


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