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For The Love of Sports

“WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TEAM?” “OH, I LOVE THE [insert team here]”

That word – love – which is so hard to say when it comes to a relationship with a significant other, is used regularly and often when it comes to sports teams. And why is that? I personally think it’s because we have an earlier established and sometimes stronger relationship with a sports team than other human beings.

If you’re born into a “sports household”, you often become a fan of the team your parents are fans of from the moment you can recall your first game. Either that, or the weird process of cheering for their arch-rivals takes over (e.g. your parents are Oilers fans and you side with the Flames). Either way, you’re probably wearing some sort of team merchandise as a baby and it really doesn’t stop unless an intervention takes place.

Some of my happiest days have come from watching sports. But then again, some of the worst also have. I’ve never had my heart broken by a female, but I have by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The pure elation of seeing the green and white win the Grey Cup in 2007 and then again this past November will easily rank in the top moments of my life. I’ll fully admit that I cried with joy when they pulled off the 2007 victory. I also can still recall Joe Carter hitting the winning homerun in the 1993 World Series and my screams of happiness as a scrawny kid as he rounded the bases.

But to go with those great moments, there is also the gut-wrenching pain and disappointment from the 2009 Grey Cup and the infamous “13th Man” call. The same goes for countless early playoff exits from the Montreal Canadiens.

Sports fans have such strong reactions to their teams because they have emotionally invested so much time into them. Time, and a lot of money when it comes to tickets and merchandise.

The love of sports is also a bit different than the love in a relationship because it’s not only you alone who is “dating” a team. You have thousands of other fans who are experiencing the same joy and disappointment as you. Go to a lounge or a pub after a sporting event and watch those clad in their team colours. It’s almost like relationship therapy occurs immediately after the final whistle and your server or bartender is the lead counsellor.

A man or woman’s relationship with their sports team has its ups and downs, its good times and bad times. You may think of breaking off the relationship, but at the end of the day, that love remains strong and you’re recharged for the next game.

A true sports fan would never break off their relationship with their team, despite how rocky things may get. I mean, how else do the Toronto Maple Leafs have fans?


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