Friday, October 26, 2012

On Ponder and Panda and Fandom

I've written about home teams before.  Moving as often as we have, the whole concept seems vaguely irrelevant.  I felt close to MJ's Bulls teams and Jim McMahon's Bears and I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Cubbies, but considering any of them a home team... not so much.

It's World Series time and the San Francisco Giants are battling for the title. I lived there for 15 years. I watched Big Cuter buy every logoed 49'ers item for sale under the Super Bowl Items Here tent at the corner of the strip mall.  I never really cared that much.

Daddooooo took me to see Joe Namath's Jets in their championship year. We had a neighbor's season tickets, three rows up from the field.  I could see the frost on the helmets; I don't remember feeling cold, though.  There was a different kind of energy, a big, masculine, powerful pulsing of yells about things I didn't understand.  I can conjure it up even now.  The Jets were my dad's team.  He was a regular at their practice field, berating The Big Tuna and getting it right back from the man, himself, in spades. Those were my favorite phone calls, the ones that included "And then Parcells said to me...." I loved the Jets for the joy they brought my otherwise miserable father, but I never felt the love.

The Diamondbacks won a World Series, and I don't have a single item of clothing representing their success.  I have some UofA t-shirts, but that's because you have to wear the right color when you're sitting in the stands; there's a red section and a blue section and you want to show that you care. I can tell you the names of the coaches, but not a single player has entered my permanent memory banks.

Current Cornellians tell me that the stands at Schoelkopf Stadium are nearly empty, except for Homecoming Games.  When TBG and Ed Marinaro and I were students, there was nary an empty corner.  When games take four hours and feature sixteen minutes of football, it's no wonder the kids flee the field for the bars or their own big screen tvs.

Fantasy leagues promote interest in individual players, further diminishing hometown loyalties.  Peyton Manning may end his career in Denver, but he'll always be a Colt, just as Jerry Rice will always be a 49'er.  I'll always love the Cubs, the way my grandfather loved his Brooklyn Bums.

But tonight, watching a Thursday night football game (quarterbacked by Ponder) during the commercial breaks on the World Series (where Kung Fu Panda rules) and listening to my San Francisco based son display almost no interest in the baseball game being contested two miles from his I'm wondering if anybody really has a home team at all any more....

...anybody but somebody who's lived her whole life around Detroit and whose face was so full of delight every time her eyes fell on the headline sending her Tigers to the World Series. Your team is down 2-0,losing an offensive and a defensive battle, and, as a Cubbies fan, I can feel your pain.

Sometimes I don't mind not having a home team and being spared the pain.


  1. BAH!! Per your own words, I bought every '94 Superbowl garment in existence, and as you know all too well, I've stayed true to the Niners ever since. They're definitely my home team!

    1. Yes, they are, my son. Yes, they certainly are
      a/b (aka Mom)


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