If I added up the time I spend watching football, researching players, and writing weekly fantasy recaps for my league, it would probably be at least a part-time job.
I’m not shy about the fact that in the past (key words), I’ve been a terrible fan. I’ve called strangers “ugly,” kindly requested that people who like another team GO BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM, refuted a girl’s *ahem* “low-class” insults with, “I don’t speak that language” and, the piéce de résistance: baptized an Eagles’ fan with some lukewarm Bud Light.
I know. It’s awful, terrible, unacceptable behavior, and something I’ve made a concerted effort to remedy. Because I’m actually not a mean person, but give me a few beers and a 49ers’ loss and I turn into a lunatic. On a good day, I'm just really depressed and cry about things like not getting a first down. On a bad day, I'm bitter and angry and, well, you read the first paragraph.
But yes, I am working on it. After I, um, gently bathed the Eagles’ fan in a shower of mediocre beer, it became quite clear that I have an anger management issue when it comes to football and I made a promise to myself, and to everyone who's ever suffered through a game with me, that I am going to change my savage ways.
But in order to make that transition, I first need to understand what makes a fan a "good" fan and not a "poor" sport. Which is where you come in! But first, a small digression to elucidate my confusion.
This weekend, someone I follow on Twitter made it his business to tweet his thoughts and reactions to the Phillies at Giants four-game series. The person in question is a San Francisco transplant and rabid Phillies’ fan. I understand that people remain a fan of teams from the places they’re from, but I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t irk me. You chose to move to my city to live and work, but you insist on rooting for a team from the place you deserted?
So yes, he's a Phillies' fan, which means he's not going to go out of his way to say nice things about the Giants or their fans. But he went out of his way to say mean things. And that's what bugged me.
For example, this tweet (right before the Phillies won 3-0):
Since when it is not okay to cheer for a single? Certainly the first I've ever heard of it. Wouldn't it be worse if, just because the Giants were losing, no one cheered at all?
He then continued to insult the fans with this tweet:
Because a fan intentionally throwing up on an 11-year-old girl is totally how champions behave.
But it didn't stop there...
And, after the Phillies were one game away from a sweep, this tweet on the morning of the fourth game:
And FINE, I just couldn't help myself:
("Good" fan fail or justified response? How's a girl to know? This is so hard!)
Ultimately, the Giants did win the last game and prevent a sweep (thank God), although that did not stop @Mike_FTW from more (obnoxious? good fan? poor sport?) tweets. Although, to be fair, that's his thing. He likes getting a rise out of people. In fact, giving him this much attention will probably only encourage him more. (You're welcome, Mike! Love you. Mean it. Kind of.)
And, fine: I'll admit it. Mike's tweets actually riled me up and made me even more enthusiastic about a Giants' win on Sunday than I normally would have been. Maybe that also makes me a poor sport (I HONESTLY DON'T UNDERSTAND THE RULES), or maybe that just makes me a good fan. You talk shit about my team; I'm going to root even harder. That seems like a good thing, not a bad thing, but when you've gone as far to the dark side as I have, it's really hard to tell.
Which is where (FINALLY!) you come in!
What do you think the line is between "good fan" and "bad sport?" When is it obnoxious to gloat (if ever)? How far is too far with insulting the fans and other team? And, most important, have you ever behaved as horrifically as I at a game? (Probably not, but it can't hurt to ask.)
Help me become a better fan by leaving your thoughts, advice and stories in the comments. And while I figure it all out, I promise that going forward, every precious drop of mass-market beer will go down my throat, not flying through the air.