Sunday, November 13, 2011

8 comments Your Daily Dose of Crazy

Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer has lost his damn mind and posted the most trolling, hatred-baiting letter I have seen in a while for no apparent reason. It is a Redskins fan ripping Carolina Panthers fans for...something. What's funny is while this guy believes he is ripping one fan base, he is really ripping quite a few other fan bases as well. I'm not sure exactly what his problem is, but it appears Carolina Panthers fans have committed the crime of not all being teenagers and still being fans of the team. Again, what's interesting is this idiocy can happen to you as well. The line of thinking and the "question" the letter writer poses goes for teams in every major sport.

I got an email from a passionate Washington Redskins fan I wanted to share with you. He lives in Charlotte and believes that any Panther fan 23 or over can't be trusted.

My head hurts from how many holes I can poke into the line of thinking this "passionate" Redskins fan is furthering. I will do my best to type coherently.

I'm going to let him remain anonymous for this, although I can tell you it's a real person I'm familiar with, as I don't want the extreme edge of the Panther base to decide to harass him or something.

So to disagree with him for his over-generalization makes you part of the extreme edge. That's nice to know. So basically this letter writing guy gets the best of all worlds that anonymous commenters love. They get to speak their point of view, no matter how stupid, and no one knows who the hell you are, nor can anyone contact you to rebut your position because there is no contact information available.

Feel free to comment on this rather provocative theory below, but keep it CLEAN. I don't want to have to hide and disable the comments, but will if I must.

Here's the theory below. You may say, why bring this up? I think we have reasonable commenters here at BotB and I wonder if this guy sounds reasonable or his point of view on when fans of a certain sports team are "real" fans. So that's why I bring this letter up and write about it. Overall, I think the letter is stupid and can be rebutted a variety of ways. Initially, it may seem like the guy has a point, but the more you think about it logically, the less it seems there is a valid point to be made.

From A Passionate Redskins Fan in Charlotte... To the readers of the "Scott Says" blog:

"I have a theory that I have expressed to several people, but no one has yet given me a reason why my theory is incorrect or otherwise poked any holes in it.

Then you have no spoken to enough people or are just too stubborn to listen to reasonable ways to poke holes in the theory. The theory says, "I don't trust Carolina Panthers fans over the age of 23." That in itself could rebut the statement effectively since it is completely based on a point of view and not any type of facts underlying the statement.

Here it is: I don’t trust drinking-age Panther fans. The Panthers started in 1995.

The team was given to Charlotte by the NFL in 1993. So really the Panthers "started" in 1993. Fans knew of the team prior to 1995, so they could become fans before a single game was ever played.

That’s 16 years ago.

18 years ago.

That means that one of two realities is true for anyone over or about 23 years old (who would have been 8 years old when the Panthers started) who is a Panthers fan:

This is the first part I have a problem with. No theory is worth a shit if there are only two "realities" that can be taken from it and both of the theories are generalizations...which is true in this case.

I am irritated at the line of thought that is espoused by this "passionate" Redskins fan. These are the same "passionate" fans of NFL teams that are constantly trolling Charlotte-area radio stations (it is a big problem and is why I don't listen to sports talk radio) bragging about how good the Steelers, Cowboys and Redskins are, regardless of whether these "passionate" fans have ever set foot in their favorite team's stadium. They are "real" fans because they jumped on an NFL team's bandwagon many years ago, while anyone rooting for a local, newer team just can't be trusted due to the newness of the team. This guy assumes any fan of an established team chose that specific team as his/her favorite before the age of 8 years old, when this very well may not be the case. Yeah, I am making some generalizations as well here and I realize that.

1 -- They were the fan of another team and then just abandoned them when the Panthers came along.

Here is where this letter has implications for the fan of any team that is new to an area, whether the team just moved there or is an expansion team. Is any drinking-age Rays fan not to be trusted? How about the fan bases of NHL teams that moved from Canada to the United States? Can those fan bases not be trusted? Memphis Grizzlies fans? Orlando Magic fans? Miami Heat fans? After all, if you are 40 years old and you like these NBA teams, you can't be trusted because you clearly abandoned another team for the Grizzlies, Magic or Heat at some point. After all, who would ever hear of a person not choosing a favorite team in a sport until the local area had a favorite team? In the world of overly-broad generalizations this could never happen.

Sorry Oklahoma City Thunder fans, you are all not to be trusted because the Thunder are your favorite team and you clearly ditched your "other" favorite team to be a Thunder fan. What an untrustworthy group of assholes you all are.

Imagine: You’re 40, the Panthers come along, and you ditch your favorite team. Blasphemy. That really shows a lack of trustworthiness, loyalty, character.

Imagine. You are 20 and don't have a favorite NFL team. Then Jacksonville gets an NFL team and you start going to the games and choose them as your favorite team. The horror!

My initial thought after all of this is how ironic it is for a Redskins fan to rip any fan base for a lack of trustworthiness, loyalty and character. After all, there are thousands of Redskins fans up and down the East Coast who are fans of the team simply because they were good in the 1980's. Of course, that's absolutely fine because if you are a 40 year old Redskins fan you clearly came out of the womb with a Washington Redskins tattoo on your ass and in no way did the 1980's Super Bowl victories affect your decision to be a Redskins fan. It is so much more trustworthy to choose to be a Redskins fan at the age of 10 years of age because they are a popular team compared to becoming a Jacksonville Jaguars fan at the age of 10 years because they are now the local team and you didn't watch football until they came to town.

The overwhelming sense of superiority and lack of perspective is what initially irritates me about this letter writer. Bill Simmons even thinks this guy's ego needs to be checked. I wonder what the resident letter writing genius thinks of St. Louis Rams fans? Are they not to be trusted because they were St. Louis Cardinals (football) fans? How does a 40 year old Arizona Cardinals fan in St. Louis become more trustworthy than a 25 year old St. Louis Rams fan? At some point everyone chooses their favorite team and to just assume because a person is older they have already chosen a favorite team is a huge generalization.

Fortunately, this idiot letter writer has a solution for people who don't have a favorite NFL team and then choose a team. By "solution" I mean "more over-generalized, ridiculous criticism."

2 -- The person didn’t have a favorite team. That might even be worse.

At a certain point every single sports fan doesn't have a favorite team. I would love to know the age cut-off to where a person doesn't have a favorite team and can not choose one anymore. I am guessing the age is 6 years old, because that's the age the letter writer uses in this screed against sports humanity in Carolina. He says it the cut-off is 8 years old because that's when the Panthers started playing games, but the Panthers were awarded to Charlotte in 1993, so the age wouldn't be 8 years old when they "started," but actually 6 years old.

A 30-year-old who doesn’t like a football team?

This is why this letter shouldn't have been printed. There is no consistent reasoning. One minute we are discussing any (current) 23 year old who is a fan of Carolina can't be trusted and now he is arguing on the basis of a 30 year old that doesn't have a favorite team. That would make this person 46-48 years old now. I thought we were using any drinking-age fan as an example, not middle-aged fan as the primary example.

What is wrong with being an 8 year old who doesn't have a favorite football team? That sounds pretty damn reasonable to me. Especially if the two closest franchises are 240 miles south and 420 miles north of the city he/she lives in. See, while this guy thinks he is speaking to just one certain fan base, this has ramifications for a ton of fan bases in sports.

You are a 25 year old Baltimore Ravens fan? Too bad. You can't be trusted and aren't loyal to your team because at one point you liked another team, which shows disloyalty. If you didn't like another team then what the hell is wrong with you? Clearly you have a mental problem if you didn't automatically choose a favorite team in a given sport at some point in second grade, so you can't be trusted because you didn't choose a favorite team at an early age.

How can you trust them to commit to a person or a cause if they are an adult and don’t have a favorite football team?

Getting beyond the stupidity of thinking people only get into a sport when they are young and at no point after…the hypothesis didn’t begin with discussing 30 year olds, but it instead started with discussing 8 year olds who didn’t have a favorite football team in 1995. This would mean the person isn't 30 years old now, but 23 years old. Some people don't get into sports until later in life, so I can see how a 30 year old would not have a favorite NFL team. This isn't a character flaw.

At a minimum, they are wishy-washy.

If a person hasn’t picked a favorite team, how that does that make them wishy-washy? The author of this letter does understand the definition of wishy-washy, right? Wishy-washy means a person can't decide between two or more things. If a person hasn't chosen any thing, how can that make him/her wishy-washy if they finally do chose something?

At most, they are something much, much worse.

So not having chosen a favorite team in a sport and then eventually doing so is much, much worse than jumping between two favorite teams in a sport? Is that what I'm hearing? If so, that’s probably the first time I have ever heard this point of view.

Seems to me that those are the only 2 possibilities for adult Panther fans.

There is a third possibility (and probably 10 other possibilities as well if I tried to think about it harder). A person didn’t watch the NFL or didn’t choose a favorite NFL team until the local area got an NFL team. The idea a person who is a 23 year old Redskins fan is “trustworthy” because the area has always had a local team, while a 23 year old Oklahoma City Thunder fan is not “trustworthy” because the Thunder just arrived in Oklahoma City is ridiculous. I think someone is just mad the two options his team has at quarterback are John Beck and Rex Grossman.

So while this guy is picking on a particular fan base, I think he is too short-sighted to realize his “theory” extends to many more teams. Here are the teams in the three major sports who this guy (presumably it is a guy) would describe as “lacking character, trustworthiness, and loyalty” if they are 23 years old or more and cheer for the following teams...

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Oakland Raiders (possibly)

Carolina Panthers

St. Louis Rams

Arizona Cardinals

Washington Nationals

Florida Marlins (fans 25 or older)

Colorado Rockies (fans 25 or older)

Arizona Diamondbacks

Tampa Bay Rays

Memphis Grizzlies

New Orleans Hornets

Oklahoma City Thunder

Toronto Raptors

Charlotte Bobcats

Orlando Magic

So there are 20 teams who have fans 23 years old or older who are described by the letter in these negative terms. I think this shows the stupidity of making huge generalizations about one fan base that can be shown across other fan bases as well.

Obviously, it is perfectly acceptable for a person under the age of about 22 to be a Panthers fan because that’s been the local team since they were young.

Well yeah, obviously. “Young” being defined as six years old in this case. If you were seven years old and hadn’t chosen your favorite team yet, then unfortunately you are a disloyal, untrustworthy douchebag.

For anyone whose favorite college teams are from the university you attended and you didn’t cheer for these teams prior to attending the university or didn’t have a favorite college team upon entering college, well you are disloyal and untrustworthy as well.

So what do yall think about that theory? And keep it clean!

I think that just when I begin to question the shallowness in thought of people, someone can come along and take idiocy to new depths. I think to question someone’s character and trustworthiness based on the sports team they choose to cheer for is wrong to do. I think I just enjoy the idea that a person has to choose a favorite team or follow a sport before the age of eight years old or else that person is inherently distrustful. We all know how consistent eight year olds can be.

Attempt to troll has succeeded. This crap should never have gotten printed.


rich said...

1 -- They were the fan of another team and then just abandoned them when the Panthers came along.

When I was 8 I was a fan of the Packers, Bears, Giants and Eagles and growing up in Chicago I was actually a bigger Bears fan than I was a Giants fan.

Once I moved to Texas at 10 (1996), I began to follow the Giants more. It's not that rare.

Most 8 year olds don't have the mental capacity to know what being a fan of a team really means.

Imagine: You’re 40, the Panthers come along, and you ditch your favorite team. Blasphemy. That really shows a lack of trustworthiness, loyalty, character.

Or, unless you're a fan of another team in their division... you follow both your old team and your new team!

At a minimum, they are wishy-washy.

But this was the best case scenario if they ditched their old team too, right?

So basically any team that is new to the league or moves can never have a loyal fanbase.

What about the NHL and their massive expansion in the sixties and seventies? Guess none of those teams should have had fans either.

Seriously the league went from 6 teams to almost 20 in a 10 year period, what happens then?

Or what about people who were fans of a team that moved and then were replaced?

If you were a Baltimore Colts fan, what happened when they moved to Indy? Do you still follow the Colts? Then what happens when the Ravens came into the league?

J.S. said...

I'm 27 and I don't have a favourite team in anything (and I follow like six other sports closely) except Australian I a bad person according to this theory?

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I didn't watch the NFL too much until the early 90's. I watched the Oilers a lot, but I wouldn't say I was a fan more than I just liked to play with them on Super Tecmo Bowl. Most children 8 years or younger can't choose every single sports team they will follow for the rest of their lives. At least I don't think so.

Basically, if your team moves then you have to cheer for the other team that moved. If you were a Baltimore Colts fan then you should just quit watching football.

What this guy is saying is it takes almost 20 years for any "true" fans of a team to be present in the city. If you were born and are of drinking age then you are just wishy washy since you clearly chose your favorite team in every sport immediately upon exit from the womb.

J.S., you are clearly a terrible person. You have to choose a favorite team in every sport. You are 19 years late on that. I'm not even sure why you watch sports and don't you dare try to follow one specific team because you would then lack loyalty and character.

conshy matt said...

my story would be yet another situation that this idiot probably never considered.

i grew up in New Orleans, became a Saints fan at the age of 5. we moved from New Orleans to Pennsylvania when i was 12. i remained a loyal Saints fan all through high school and college. i lived in Philly during college, and have remained in Philly since (total of 20 years). after living with local media coverage, talk radio, etc. for many years, it just became more fun to follow the Eagles. for several years the Eagles were my interest, while the Saints were my passion. eventually, that switched for me. going to games, watching them every week, discussing them with my friends - the whole experience of following the local team was much more enjoyable. so i converted.

with baseball, i never had a team to root for growing up in New Orleans. same once we moved to PA. it wasn't until i came to Philly that i became a Phillies fan, and it took a few years of going to games, reading news articles, etc.

the lack of perspective, as been pointed out, is obsene with this guy. he probably came up with the idea while stoned. he just should have forgotten about it like the rest of us do with our high off our ass genius ideas.

Bengoodfella said...

Matt, everyone has a story like that with the teams they chose at one point or another. For some reason this guy just assumes a person lives in one city for his/her entire life and then immediately chooses their favorite sports teams. I chose my favorite NBA/College basketball/baseball teams at a pretty young age, but I was older before I got into football.

I guess I would be one of those untrustworthy, lack of character football fans he is talking about.

I'm not even sure why this got printed. It's so stupid and not even worthy of a thought. It is a bitter Redskins fan taking a shot at a fan base he seems to believe stole Redskins fans from the fan base. The only way he has to get back is somehow expect 2nd or 3rd grade kids to immediately choose their favorite team.

What a terrible theory.

Ericb said...

I don't get why he's so bitter about the Panthers. It's not like Carolina's done anything it give it a shallow, band wagon type fanbase. You'd think that a team that's kept it's fans in spite of a history of mediocrity would inspire praise rather than derision.

Jonathan Rogers said...

The whole theory seems to fly directly in the face of the idea of a "fan base," and what it both means to be a fan and how a person becomes a fan of a particular team.

Certainly anyone can choose what teams they want to follow, but we normally find it odd or irrational if a person picks a team that isn't in their region for no other reason than "well I just decided I like them."

Normally, attachment to a team arises from that team being "in your area," enabling fans to become emotionally/financially invested in the team because, "it's ours."

Being in a particular region ought to naturally build some connection with the sports teams in that area. I was born and raised fifteen minutes from the old Texas Stadium in Irving. I literally went to College within eye-sight of that stadium. My earliest memories of football were the Cowboys beating Buffalo in two Superbowls.

After graduating, I've been living and working in self-imposed exile in the Washington D.C. area for the last three years. My attachment to the Cowboys, has, if anything increased as it helps form a link to my roots of origin.

But even with that, I'm less of a Redskins hater than I once was. I'll never flip allegiances and I'll always want Dallas to beat the stuffing out of Washington no matter what, but I have some sympathy for the Redskins (maybe because Washington is the ultimate "there but for the grace of God" team). Being in the same geographic locale or having some identifying personal connection (my Grandfather was from Ohio and a Bengals fan, so I have a soft-spot for them) is one of the big reasons people start rooting for a team.

I actually think it's more laudable to choose to start rooting for an expansion team in your area, because of that geographic connection and sense of community.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, this felt like it was somewhat out of left field, especially for a franchise that has one of the nicest, most non-threatening fan bases in the NFL. I would agree there are quite a few fans who are fans of the Panthers and another team, which irritates the shit out of me, but as a Redskins fan I don't get how that would bother him. If anything the fans aren't bandwagon enough, as any game against the Steelers/Packers/Redskins/Cowboys will attest to.

I think he's bitter because the weekend he wrote this the Panthers managed to beat the Redskins. He is probably angry at that. I probably could have gotten behind the theory in some parts if it were presented differently...specifically his bizarre age-limit.

Jonathan, I agree with you about it flying in the face of the fan base theory. I am a Braves fan and have been since I was six years old, but I still don't want Charlotte to get a MLB team because I know a part of me will eventually start to form a soft spot for them. I would still be a huge Braves fan. Maybe I wouldn't have a soft spot for the new Charlotte team. I despise the Bobcats, so there's that. Still, it is natural to form a bond with the local team.

What this guy doesn't get is there weren't many NFL teams in this area before the Panthers came along. There was the Falcons and then the Redskins. So it was easy for fans of the NFL to choose the Panthers because there was no local team to really cheer for. If anything he should be mad at Redskins fans who became Panthers fans. They are the ones who show a lack of loyalty.

I agree with you, I think it is natural to start cheering for the local team for a lot of people. There was no established team and many casual fans of the NFL finally had a team to cheer for.