|It just wasn't their time.|
It’s a somber mood in Metro Detroit this morning, and it has nothing to do with the failing economy, the rising crime rates, the failure of a school system, etc. Well, actually those things do play a large role in our current mood. But I guess you can add one more thing to that list, the Detroit Lions were eliminated from the NFL Playoffs! I’m not going to brag and boast anymore because I expected them to lose against a superior team. However, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Go ahead, toss a few items around, and flip off a few innocent bystanders on the road if that makes you feel any better. But after all of that, you should smile and be positive for the future of the franchise. As much as you wanted to believe it, it just wasn’t the Lions time and it may not be for at least 3 more years. I’m not a Lions fan, so you better believe that I received some less than positive responses for my bragging and boasting last night. I expected that and like a man, I took it while I continued to dish it back. For me, it was all done in good fun, but for others, it seems to be something much deeper.
I’ve been a sports fan since birth. As a child, I’ve always wanted to play sports. I would always sit around my uncles whenever they watch and converse about sports. It was a 24/7 thing for me for the first half of my life. When I was 13, my focus turned to film making, but before that, you wouldn’t dare tell me that I couldn’t become a basketball player. I come from a sports family. My mom was a field hockey star in high school, and she also played women’s softball. I have an uncle who was known throughout the city for his time playing high school football. I also have some uncles who played baseball for a statewide league. None of them went pro, but they were still very much in tuned with sports. It was only natural that it would rub off on the next generation. The heated debates my uncles and I got into were legendary, and this was during an age when children were not allowed to talk back to their elders. As heated as they were, I loved it. But being from Detroit as well as being a sports fan, I’m sorry, I never was and never will be a fan of the Pistons, the Lions, and the Wolverines. Should I be punished for it? No!
|16x World Champion.|
I’m not going to lie, when it comes to basketball I’m a Laker fan. Always have been and always will be, even during their down years (early-mid 90s, 2004-2006). I was a fan partially because my uncles were also fans. They had the pleasure of experiencing the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s. Besides the citizens of Boston, who didn’t like the Showtime Lakers? They had one of the most complete teams in not just basketball, but in all of sports. And they were just that damn good. I also took a liking to them not because they had stars like Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, James Worthy, etc., unlike most teams who had just that one star, they operated well as a team on and off the court. I’m a fan of teamwork more than anything. Seeing things such as them eating together, spending the holidays together, and coming to each other’s aid had me sold as a fan. They were like family. Of course over the years, that has changed (Shaq vs. Kobe), but I’ve already pledged my allegiance to them, so I’m going to ride ‘til the very end. Of course, that didn’t sit well with some Detroit fans, and they’re not afraid to let me have it when/if the Pistons beat the Lakers. Just recently a few months ago, a “friend” on Facebook got so pissed that he called me a b!@#$. Why? Because according to him, if I’m not a fan of any of the home teams, then I don’t deserve to be here. Yeah, okay whatever. I had to cut him loose afterward because I’m not going to have that. I will brag and boast, but I’ve always kept it respectful. I ask that you do the same.
|The greatest of all time.|
When it comes to professional football, I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan, always have been. I’ve became a fan in the early 90s because of Steve Young and Jerry Rice, who I think is the greatest football player of all time. The 49ers, while known for their championship days in the 80s and early 90s, since then they’ve been sort of irrelevant. Because of that, I didn’t receive as much flack as I did for being a fan of the Lakers. That’s how things go, whenever your team is on top and winning championships, people will play the bandwagon card to get at you. It’s annoying, but I’ve learned to live with it. But due to my 49ers decade of bad seasons, people didn’t bother. Now that we’re back in the hunt, I’m expecting it to happen soon. But yeah, I’ve stuck with them throughout the JJ Stokes/Terrell Owens/Jeff Garcia era, the beginning of Alex Smith’s career (who was becoming a bust), etc. I will always be a 49ers fan. They got me into football. I never liked the Lions and never will. If by the some chance they bring a championship to Detroit, I’ll be happy for them, but I won’t jump on the bandwagon. The same when the Pistons beat my Lakers in 2004. I was crushed as a Laker fan (and my classmates let me have it), but I was proud that the city had something to smile about.
|"Little Brother" is not so little now.|
On the other side of the coin (college football), I will say that I am a homer, but not for the team that you think. You see, when it comes to college football, I’d say about 85-90% of the state backs the Michigan Wolverines, a.k.a. “Big Brother”. Thank you, Mike Hart. How’s your NFL career by the way? I am a fan of the other school, “Little Brother”, Michigan State Spartans. Now is that so wrong? No! I’m glad that we’ve been given a choice to root for more than just one team that represent the state. My love for Michigan State actually goes back to 1995 when the Izzo Dynasty began in basketball. To see them come from being irrelevant to one of the most respected programs within 5 years has earned a lifelong fan in me. Then 2002 came and I made my decision, I was going to attend Michigan State University, and so my allegiance was written in stone. Due to financial reasons, I couldn’t remain a Spartan (as a student), but I’ve remained loyal and will be so as long as I live. The football program has been irrelevant for about 6 years until the hiring of Coach Dantonio. Even during their down years when they had Drew Stanton, Charles Rogers, Jeff Smoker, etc., I remained loyal. And when you’re a Spartan or a Wolverine, that dislike for the other becomes natural. That’s why I love our annual October meetings because it brings out the best and the worst in people. Unlike some, I’m not afraid to congratulate the other side if they win. I will be disappointed, but will still conduct myself with class. I expect the same in return, although that haven’t been the case for the past 4 years that we’ve beaten them. I won’t name names, people…hehe. But yeah, I’m a Spartan for life. You can’t hate me for that, can you?
|One of my earliest Tiger experiences.|
When it comes to baseball, I will always and forever be a fan of the Detroit Tigers. My love for the Tigers actually runs deeper than any of the other teams I’ve mentioned. Back in the early 90s, every once in a while, my brother, cousins, and I were treated to a Tigers game at the legendary Tiger Stadium. There were times when we were excused from school to attend one. Don’t you dare say that was bad parenting because we still received top grades/honors. This goes back to the Sparky Anderson, Cecil Fielder, Alan Trammell, and Travis Frye days. The Tigers were horrible back then, but we’ve always had a blast at the games. Day game, night game, it didn’t matter, there was always magic at the Tigers game. Over the years, from Tiger Stadium to Comerica Park, we’ve attended at least 20 games a summer. Tickets were not as expensive back then. Watching the Tigers even got me into playing little league baseball. I wasn’t very good, but I had a blast. My brother will tell you, when Magglio hit that game winning homerun to send them to the World Series in 2006, I was bouncing around and flipping all over the house. They lost to a better team, but I was proud of them because I was there through all the troubling times. Even now, although they faced some adversity the past few years prior to last season, I was still behind them. They almost made it back to the World Series this past October, but again, it just wasn’t their time. But I will continue to support them. Tigers aside, I’m also a huge fan of the Seattle Mariners, mainly because of Ken Griffey Jr., who is my favorite baseball player of all time. If it wasn’t for his injuries, he would have that homerun record, and he would have done it legally. But unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. He’s still a first ballot Hall of Famer though, so I can’t wait until the induction ceremony a few years from now. Hopefully I’ll be in the industry filming it.
So I’ve explained my fandom and its origin. I’m sure some people are not going to buy it, but it is what it is. Even though I’m from the same city as you, I can’t make myself like who you like. Why should I do that? Whatever happened to freedom of choice? Where is it written that says you have to cheer for the team in the city you live? I didn’t ask to be born in Detroit, so why should I live by the same rules as you? And I didn’t mean that as a diss to the city, but no one had the choice of where they were born. What I’m saying is that I appreciate the fact that people are very passionate of their teams, but you need to tone it down a notch. Just recently last Monday, there was a hockey game in Philadelphia between the Flyers and the New York Rangers, it was a special game because it was played outdoors. New York won, but in the end everyone loss. Why? Because a group of unintelligent people decided to take it upon themselves to physically assault a couple of fans who attended the game in New York Rangers jerseys. They videotaped the beating. One of those victims was an Iraq war veteran who risked his life to defend their freedom to attend a damn game. Now you tell me, is that passion? Or is that extreme stupidity?
Think about it.