April 6, 2011

Are sports fans tribal or territorial?

In my new column in Taki's Magazine, I briefly look at what we can learn about the origins of political order from our own experiences with being sports fans. This may seem like a weird topic, but it's this kind of analogy to your own life that helps revivify sclerotic thinking about big topics.
In both politics and sports fandom, the fundamental question is: “Whose side are you on?” Exploring who roots for whom affords perspective on the big questions of who is politically loyal to what, and why. ... 
A central question in ethnography is whether a polity is organized by ancestry or territory. For a decade, the US military has used bombs and bribes trying to convince Pashtun tribesmen that because they live in Afghanistan, they should be loyal to the Afghan government, which the American government has gone to great expense to buy and build. 
The Pashtuns find this American assumption of territorialism naive. Rather than trust a government in Kabul or Islamabad—depending upon which side of the Khyber Pass they happen to be on—they team up (and fall out) with each other along patriarchal bloodlines. 
Like modern governments, American professional sports teams, in tandem with local media, strive to demand territorial loyalty. Chicago is the extreme example of geographical rule, with the Cubs dominating the North Side and the White Sox the South Side. (The yuppie newcomer Barack Obama would seem a Cubs fan by class, but his Hyde Park residence made him a White Sox fan.)| 
Like tribal societies, however, college rooting patterns have relatively stronger links to family trees. 

Read the whole thing there


62 comments:

Anonymous said...

"(The yuppie newcomer Barack Obama would seem a Cubs fan by class, but his Hyde Park residence made him a White Sox fan.)"

Sorry, just had to point out I don't believe BO is a baseball fan at all: recall that he called Comiskey Park "Cominskey Park"? What baseball fan, no matter where he lives, would say that? Plus, I can't get out of my head that weak throw to home in the All Star game.

Of course, he did say "Navy corpse-man".... twice, didn't he?

Anonymous said...

"Are sports fans tribal or territorial?"

Both. If you happen to be white, your sports allegiance is determined by your proximity to a stadium. If you are a NAM, your sports allegiance is determined by which team wears your gang colors.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, just had to point out I don't believe BO is a baseball fan at all: recall that he called Comiskey Park "Cominskey Park"? What baseball fan, no matter where he lives, would say that? Plus, I can't get out of my head that weak throw to home in the All Star game.

Of course, he did say "Navy corpse-man".... twice, didn't he?"

Hey, lay off BO. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hartford Law School.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Detroit and Toronto gave us one of the century's best pennant races in 1987. There were articles, including a WSJ "a-hed", about the conflicted loyalties in the Windsor-Sarnia-London triangle in Western Ontario. Newer fans supported the Jays out of patriotism, while old baseball families stuck with the Tigers of their dads and granddads. (Then the mediocre Twins, speak of the devil, ruined it for everyone by manipulating the unnecessary, indeed bogus, "playoff" system.)

Interestingly, the Packer-Viking line remains the St Croix River, i.e., the state line, only about 25 mi. from the Metrodome, after 50 years. Only by sending Minnesotans across that line, e.g. my stepmother-in-law, do the Vikes gain any purchase. That's what a state line and a 40-year head start get you. The St Croix is to the them what Lake Michigan is to the Packers and Bears.

Anonymous said...

Depends on the fan. To a black guy watching black athletes taking on white or non-black athletes, it's racial-tribal, or us blacks vs those other guys.

For a black guy cheering for his mostly black hometown NBA team against the mostly black team of another city, it's territorial-tribal since both teams are black.

For a white guy cheering for a mostly black team, it can't be tribal since he's not black. It can be territorial but not really... because white people generally live apart from black areas.
So, this kind of enthusiasm might be said to be idealistic(pretending to see beyond color) or submissive(the natural desire of beta males to worship the alpha male or race).

Generally and traditionally, tribalism and territorialism in sports have been in sync. But with rise of diversity and meritocracy in the West, we often have blacks playing for NY, Chicago, America, Paris, UK, Holland, etc. So, whites in UK cheer for black athletes competing against black athletes cheered on by French or Canadian whites. It's all kinda pathetic if you think about it.

Of course, with lots of black athletes, UK or France has a chance of winning in track while a nation like China, though putting forth their own athletes, will almost never win major track event. Chinese get to cheer for their own but lose. Whites get to cheer for blacks but they win. But who is 'they'? Are whites really winning or have they lost to blacks? Suppose Vietnam bought black slaves long ago and has around 100,000 blacks. Suppose some of these blacks comprised a Vietnamese basketball team and won the gold medal in the Olymics. Can we really say the Vietnamese won?

When it comes to sexual loyalty in sports, we seem to have white female cheering for black men. Not a good development for white survival and pride.

SFG said...

College football is bigger in the South, I think.

Then again, New Yorkers have the Yankees and the Mets, but even that's rather territorial, with Queens and Brooklyn rooting for the Mets and Manhattan and the Bronx rooting for the Yankees. There is a white-collar/blue-collar aspect to it, however, with people who root for the underdog preferring the Mets.

New Englanders are proudly territorial: they want the Sox to win, and they want them to beat their old colonial rival, NYC.

"What baseball fan, no matter where he lives, would say that? Plus, I can't get out of my head that weak throw to home in the All Star game."
He might be a closet nerd.

Anonymous said...

OT

http://tinyurl.com/4y6s3g8

White population dropping

Anonymous said...

"There is a white-collar/blue-collar aspect to it, however, with people who root for the underdog preferring the Mets."

I'm not a baseball fan myself, but I've noticed that here in NYC most of my acquaintances who know A LOT about baseball root for the Mets. I'm talking both about baseball nerds and about regular guys who talk about baseball regularly.

Anonymous said...

In what sense are the Mets an underdog?

Anonymous said...

In the UK every small town has at least one football club, so you get lots of very old, territorial fan loyalty. This can get more complicated when two or more clubs share the same city; the rivalry may territorially split the city in half, or not - some clubs have home grounds very close to each other so fan loyalty may run along family or other lines.

Glasgow has a sectarian split, Rangers (Protestant) vs. Celtic (Catholic). The greater London area has about a dozen clubs, so although there is some territorial division you also get some other splits along family or other lines; who you support might be more a matter of who your family traditionally supported rather than which part of the city you live in.

And in the last couple of decades with increased televised showing of soccer, increased ticket prices and the intrusion of the "prawn sandwich brigade" of middle class fans into the sport you've got a lot more glory hunters who support the big clubs rather than their local club.

Anonymous said...

. . . USC and UCLA fans live side by side in apparent amity most of the year.

Apparently united by their hatred for Giants fans.

Anonymous said...

"In the UK every small town has at least one football club, so you get lots of very old, territorial fan loyalty."

In Austria, every small town has at least one orchestra or wind ensemble. Do fights break out at the Salzburg Festival?

SouthernAnonyia said...

"Both. If you happen to be white, your sports allegiance is determined by your proximity to a stadium. If you are a NAM, your sports allegiance is determined by which team wears your gang colors."

Not so for college football (the only sport people really care about in the south). Go to Alabama, where there are more Alabama than Auburn fans in the entire state including the part which is closer to Auburn. If it had to do with which major college football stadium was closest to my hometown, I'd be a Florida state fan and not a Bama fan. There are definitely other factors involved. It might be tribal in a vicarious sort of manner.

Anonymous said...

"In Austria, every small town has at least one orchestra or wind ensemble. Do fights break out at the Salzburg Festival?"

Orchestras don't represent their communities in rivalry with other communities in the same way that sports clubs do.

Fights break out all the time at American sporting events so I really don't see what your point is unless it was some kind of snark.

Justin said...

So, wait, I'm a white guy. Am I supposed to root for tatted up, low-class, no-education wigger, over a well-spoken, upper class, educated black player?

Michelle said...

"Hey, lay off BO. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hartford Law School."

Thank-you for coming to Barack's defense.

Since coming to the White House as part of the First Family, I am very aware of how mean people can be to me and the rest of our family, especially Barack.

Thank-you for not doing that.

P.S. I didn't realize Barack went to Law School in Conneticutt. I'll have to ask him about that but you know, with 57 or more states in our United States, it can be hard to keep them all straight, even if you've visited them while campaigning on the campaign trail which, we will be doing again soon. So if you'd like to make a donation to Baracks' campaign, just let us know.

Thank-you,

Michelle

Kylie said...

"In Austria, every small town has at least one orchestra or wind ensemble. Do fights break out at the Salzburg Festival?"

You have a point. Somehow I just can't imagine a performance of "Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein" leading to an outbreak of fisticuffs.

Dutch reader said...

"Somehow I just can't imagine a performance of "Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein" leading to an outbreak of fisticuffs"

On the other hand, Indonesians and Malaysians got themselves all worked up about the 'ownership' of a traditional song a few years ago.

From the Jakarta Post (2007)

"The House on Monday urged an immediate response from the government to Malaysia’s use of the traditional Indonesian song Rasa Sayange in its “Truly Asia” tourism campaign. House of Representatives member Hakam Naja of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said if the government could prove the song belonged to Indonesia, Indonesia should sue the Malaysian government."

Anonymous said...

"Apparently united by their hatred for Giants fans."

The aggressors were Mexican; the victim was white. Not that you'll hear that mentioned in most coverage of this sickening event.

Anonymous said...

Of course, he did say "Navy corpse-man".... twice, didn't he?

You think Jacob Weisberg will put that in his book of "Obama-isms"?

Antioco Dascalon said...

Territorialism and tribalism are both greatly weakened by easy transportation. This is why the Balkans and Afghanistan are so tribal: high mountain passes isolated tribes in their own valleys.
The US is as close to the opposite of that as possible: the freeway system, an immigrant population, national media all collude to reduce tribalism AND territorialism. Thus, you will find Yankees fans in California, who have never even been east of the Sierras, or Braves or Cubs fans in Texas or Nebraska (TBS and WGN broadcast the games nationally decades ago).
Some places, mainly cities in the northeast, still maintain some territoriality, most notoriously Philadelphia but also, to a lesser extent, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburg, etc. They haven't attracted much immigration in the past 25 years, so most of the people who live there have deep roots in the area.
Contrast that with DC. I guess the Redskins have a decent fan base, especially with the black community that has deep roots in the District, but, since most everyone else comes from somewhere else, there's not a whole lotta support for the other teams when they are struggling.
I'm therefore skeptical of a theory that would explain the fandom of both the Phillies and the Nats. The former is territorial AND tribal, the latter is neither. Heck, I root for them mainly because they used to be the Expos.

Peter A said...

a future sports team might develop a transnational virtual fan base around some trait other than region or friends and family. But nobody has quite done it yet.

Weak conclusion Steve. Of course they have - the New York Yankees, Manchester United or Barcelona in soccer, the Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Lakers all have large fan bases organized around a very different trait - worshipping success. Some people really want to be associated with winners. These teams also tend to be more strongly loathed by people who consider success unfair. In world politics it's no great stretch to compare the US to the Yankees. Your article would be stronger if you had considered this third element - often the most vocal and demonstrative fans are people like this.

SFG said...

"In what sense are the Mets an underdog?"

They only have the seventh largest payroll, as opposed to the first (Yankees).

This is why nobody outside of the East Coast cares about baseball anymore; it's basically just a pissing contest between NY, Philly, and the entire New England region.

DCThrowback said...

Great comment by Antioco. +1.

Peter A also had a nice comment about the cult of winning, personified by LeBron James himself and his eponymous Yankees hat; lots of (poseur) folks like to root for winners. We call them frontrunners and they are the worst fans in all of sports. It also partly explains why stadiums in cities like Atlanta and Miami have trouble getting fans into stadiums (two worst sports fan cities in the country and it's not close).

My favorite thing to do is ask Cowboys/Steelers/Yankees fans where they grew up in their respective cities. You can then cue the long-winded response about some bullsh*t about seeing some great play by the team when they were a kid. Whatever loser. I tuned out when you didn't say "Plano/Aliquippa/Montclair, NJ".

Also notable as part of the "tribal" side of things: who did your father root for. In lots of families, fathers pass their rooting interests on to their sons. Sadly, Steve doesn't note if he has season tickets to take his kids to see Ben Howland coach up his beloved UCLA Bruins.

Anonymous said...

"Fights break out all the time at American sporting events so I really don't see what your point is unless it was some kind of snark."

It is.

Chicago said...

Perhaps their true loyalty is to Budweiser?

Truth said...

"The aggressors were Mexican; the victim was white."

Wait, I thought it was blacks that Mexicans hated.

Laban said...

"Just as visionaries of post-nationalism predict virtual countries linked only by the Internet, a future sports team might develop a transnational virtual fan base around some trait other than region or friends and family. But nobody has quite done it yet."

What Peter A said. In the UK, the joke, which isn't quite true but has a lot of truth, is that if someone's from Manchester, they are a Manchester City fan - because 'all Manchester United fans come from somewhere else'.

Man U and other 'big' soccer teams like Liverpool have a fan base all over the country, formed by watching the teams on TV as a child. They are also, with an eye to the future, actively developing their Far Eastern fan bases - helped in Man United's case by fielding a Korean striker, Sun Ji Park.

Manchester United sell a lot of shirts in the far east - and have a Chinese website.

Brian said...

When I was growing up in Nebraska, a lot of pride was taken in the fact that the University of Nebraska was such a powerhouse in football with a roster that was 70% Nebraska farm boys and Omaha kids. This dominance started to slip though. Every year in the late 80’s early 90’s the team would dominate the regular season only to get ran past by Miami or Florida State in the bowl game. The coaches realized the days where they could rely on white farm kids to form an elite secondary were over and started to recruit more urban athletes. By the mid-nineties, Nebraska was arguably the best program in the country (60-3 from 93-97 with 3 national titles), but this came at a cost. A lot of players started getting into serious legal problems. Most notoriously, Lawrence Phillips, a star running back who wasn’t kicked off the team even though he was arrested for dragging his ex-girlfriend down stairs by her hair. The fact that most of “our” best players were not from Nebraska anymore didn’t bother anyone. What mattered was that ”we” were winning.

Svigor said...

So, wait, I'm a white guy. Am I supposed to root for tatted up, low-class, no-education wigger, over a well-spoken, upper class, educated black player?

No. You're just supposed to STFU if you don't like me rooting for the tatted up, low-class, no-education wigger. You don't occupy any sort of high ground. If anything, the opposite is true.

Anonymous said...

You're all wrong. The choosing sides phenomenon can be over race, or geography or anything else. People like to choose sides. It just feels good.

That's why world peace is so elusive.

Consider reality TV. Top Shot gathers about two dozen marksmen together who have never before met. They assign them to teams. Some may be women or Asians - not too many Blacks for some reason.

Complete strangers gathered together for a couple days. After a day or two they treat teammates like kin. They fight against the other team bitterly and tear up when one of their own is eliminated.

Or consider Mixed Martial Arts. Two muscular young men whom you have never seen before meet in a cage. I for one always choose sides. Being eminently rational I have a formula. I root for the man with the fewest tattoos. This act of choosing sides engages my emotions. I rejoice or despair as my guy's fortunes wax and wane.

Finally consider the recently reemergence of patriotism. My generation and class were taught to abjure concepts like nationalism and patriotism. This line was pushed by those who backed the North Vietnamese. It was, we were told very sophisticated - but it wasn't fun.

Bill O'Reilly now markets patriotism, and does very well by so doing. It just feels good to take sides. It brings meaning to otherwise random and pointless conflicts.

I don't have any real freedom over my sexual choices. Anatomy really is destiny in this area. I'm just one of those lumbering robots that Dawkins writes about. The same seems to be true over my tendency to choose sides. I can't help myself. I feel so much better when I know which side I'm on.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Couple things:

"China, though putting forth their own athletes, will almost never win major track event."

The Olympic record holder in the 110m Hurdles is a Chinese man, Liu Xiang. Hurdles are a sport in which blacks excel more for their race than even sprints.

"Somehow I just can't imagine a performance of "Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein" leading to an outbreak of fisticuffs"

Well, Classical Music Riot does have its own wikipedia page...

alonzo portfolio said...

@Reg Caeser: you know that in '87the Giants were the best team, right? If only Candy Maldonado hadn't ....

James Kabala said...

Reg Caesar: Someone once observed how remarkable it was that up in the remote areas of Vermont and upstate New York the state boundary was a clear dividing line between shops that sold Red Sox memorabilia and shops that sold Yankee memorabilia, even though at the time the closest team to the area was the Expos.

Ray Sawhill said...

I'm not generally much interested in sports, but when I do watch I almost never find myself rooting for a team or a player and almost always rooting for a good game -- suspenseful, well-performed, etc. I feel a few allegiances (Federer), but they're pretty weak -- I'd much rather watch a good match with Federer losing than a bad one he wins. Does this make me rare among people watching sports?

Excellent piece from Steve, btw ...

John D said...

If you don't know any of the team members you tend to root for whoever seems most like yourself. When there are significant cultural differences between the races (again, if you don't know the people involved) you tend to root for those more likely to have similar demeanor and behavioral patterns to yourself. When the Celtics were great in the 80s, practically no blacks liked them, and they were quite popular among whites. Same can be said about Duke in the NCAA. I know I find myself rooting for Duke, BYU, Butler, etc over all black teams. I'm far more likely to have more in common with those players than inner city blacks.

People lie about things like that all the time and pretend that race doesn't matter. Look at professional boxing too; blacks almost invariably root for blacks when pitted against any other race. Mexicans root for Mexicans, and perhaps to a lesser extent (owing to the disease of liberalism and white self-loathing) even whites tend to root for whites when pitted against other races.

Still, once an attachment to a franchise is established, it often outlasts the initial attraction. I loved the 80s Celtics and I'm still a Celtics fan all these years later, even though they've long since lost their white flavor.

Still, all things being equal, and not knowing the players, I'll root for my own tribe over others nearly every time (my being a Celtics fan seems to trump that though, although there really aren't any good predominantly white teams in the NBA, so it's not like there's a real choice. It's basically rooting for one black team or another.) I suspect if there were a great team that was substantially white, they may become my favorite team.

Trust me, Jalen Rose's comments about Duke are normal in the black community. Spike Lee said similar things about the 80s era Celtics back in the day too. I have no problem with any of that. I think it's normal to root for your own (like all other races do), and suicidal to value the other over your own (hence, the West's suicide).

Anonymous said...

The aggressors were Mexican; the victim was white."

Wait, I thought it was blacks that Mexicans hated.



They can't hate both?

eh said...

OT (but it's about sports)

Some not too surprising I guess, but nonetheless still shocking data in that Sports Illustrated story about criminality in college athletics. I don't remember hearing much about the story when it first came out; I don't think it got too much attention because it appears a significantly disproportionate number of the athletes with criminal pasts as well as current problems with the law are black.

It's a shame the way big time college sports has been ghettoized over the last few decades.

Not to mention the fact that many of these guys do not belong in college at all.

josh said...

Steve im a little surprised at your description of Barry Obama as a Sox fan because he lived in Hyde Park! Hyde Park is SWPL,and they are Cubs fans.Being a Cubs fan would align him with upscale SWPL(and media) whites.Blacks are a bit dubious of the Sox,as most blacks live on the south and west side,and there has been--obviously---a bit of tension,that the more affluent North side has avoided. (Lots of Jews used to live on the South and West sides,but,oddly,they all left just before the blacks moved in.(?)) For Barry,color wise,its a better choice than the Cubs.Hyde Park is loaded with Jews and they dont like the Sox. The Sox represent the Goyim.Jews,like homosexuals,hot chicks(tho there is much debate over which team has hotter chick fans),tourists,media assholes and of course SWPLs,love the Cubs. The irony is that there is a rep among Cub fans for anti-black "racism",including the humorous heckling of the late and unlamented black psycho Milton Bradley. Passive,do-nothing, pitcher-wrecking manager Dusty Baker also complained about feeling unloved by white folks.Point? I think BO's decision to label himself a Sox fan is of a piece ,tho not nearly as momentous,as his decision to marry Michelle. To do otherwise would just look...not quite right.

Truth said...

"No. You're just supposed to STFU if you don't like me rooting for the tatted up, low-class, no-education wigger. You don't occupy any sort of high ground. If anything, the opposite is true."

LMAO! Hey take it easy, buddy he didn't say anything about you. You need to realx, go to downtown Charleston and spend some time with those nice black ladies who make hand-weaved baskets, or something.

Truth said...

"I don't have any real freedom over my sexual choices."

Oh c'mon now, Dos Equis, that's not what you had us believe in all of those posts you made relieving the 60's

Anonymous said...

BREAD AND CHOCOLATE. The Italian with a blonde wig pretending to be German.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5JdJangO60&feature=related

Anonymous said...

"Steve im a little surprised at your description of Barry Obama as a Sox fan because he lived in Hyde Park! Hyde Park is SWPL,and they are Cubs fans."

Most students at U of C come from Cubs territory.
One thing for sure, Sox are generally much better than the Cubs, perennial losers.

Blacks are not really into baseball, not lately anyway. Sox are really a blue collar team, but most of its diehard white fans are in the southern and western suburbs than in the South Side of Chicago.
Sox is tribally white ethnic but territorially in black town and near Chinatown.

Anonymous said...

"China, though putting forth their own athletes, will almost never win major track event."

"The Olympic record holder in the 110m Hurdles is a Chinese man, Liu Xiang. Hurdles are a sport in which blacks excel more for their race than even sprints."

... which is why I said ALMOST NEVER.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, just had to point out I don't believe BO is a baseball fan at all: recall that he called Comiskey Park 'Cominskey Park'?"

I lived in Chicago as a child with my aunt for nearly 2 yrs in the late 70s and was surprised about the changes when the Sox won the world series in 2004. I remember the old Comiskey Park looking very much like an icon of Chicago of Big Shoulders; it had been replaced by a yuppie-friendly state-of-the-art park. Over the yrs, the Sox seems have to attracted some yuppie or SWPL following as well, though not nearly as much as the Cubs.

As I recall, many Chicagoans in the late 70s associated the Sox with industrial decline, rust, white flight, and black take-over of the South Side. If Comiskey Park had been portable, I'm sure white ethnics would have dragged it away with them.
I remember old timers recalling how much of the South Side had been predominantly white even up until the 60s, before the Housing Projects went up and drove many white into places like Cicero, which later become famous for organized crime. I think the Disco Demolition was kinda like a last hurrah for white/ethnic power, not least because all those white kids gathered to blow up records associated with black and gay culture.

Things may have changed somewhat over the years, with more SWPL moving into downtown Chicago and having easy access to a new Comiskey Park, which looks urbane and modern than steel-and-rusty.

In the late 70s, I recall Cubs weren't what yet what one might call a team for SWPL, a concept which had yet to develop. Many Cubs fans were ethnic working class types too, except they happened to on the North than the South and West. Cubs lucked out because, while the South Side turned largely black, the North side maintained a majority white population.

But it's possible that over the yrs, many blue-collar and middle class whites moved to the suburbs while Chicago proper attracted yuppie and SWPL types who gentrified choice parts of the city, and Wrigley Park just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That is when and how the Chicago Cubs became a bona-fide SWPL team. Formerly, it had been the favorite team mainly of working stiff ethnics Mike Royko used to white about.
Sox were for the Grabowskis and Cubs were for the (Slats)Grobniks.
Today, I'm not exactly sure about the CORE fanbase of the Sox, though it appears the Cubs have been remade into the team of white affluence.

Anonymous said...

Here in Brazil certain soccer teams have ethnicities as tribal fans. Vasco has a mainly portuguese fanbase, Palmeiras has a mainly Italian fanbase, while Flamengo is mostly black fans. I suspect America once had this before it was more or less one city, one team.

The Bear said...

As a marine who saw action in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I can say that, without a doubt, that war itself is a disappointment compared to Southeastern Conference football. The Pashtun are far less intimidating than 90,000 drunk Cajuns on a Saturday night in Death Valley.

Anonymous said...

I hear you Bear. I'd rather fight my way through Fallujah than through 100,000 drunk hillbillies at Neyland wearing a Gator sweatshirt.

Matra said...

I'd much rather watch a good match with Federer losing than a bad one he wins. Does this make me rare among people watching sports?

No, especially not for tennis or other individual sports as the competitors are less likely to serve as proxies for territory and tribe.

Are sports fans tribal or territorial?

In most of the world being a member of a tribe usually means you are part of a sub-group (ethnic, class, etc) within your city/region/country that is distinguishable from other often similar tribes largely due to where you are from. So territory and tribe go together for most of the world's sports fans.

In the US pro-sports scene however it appears to me to be entirely territorial with fewer teams per capita representing entire cities than elsewhere. So there's usually only one team to root for. Compare that to this soccer supporters map of London.

Anonymous said...

Could there be a thing called tribersity?

Anonymous said...

So, wait, I'm a white guy. Am I supposed to root for tatted up, low-class, no-education wigger, over a well-spoken, upper class, educated black player?

Because you're faced with that choice all the time.

ben tillman said...

Most notoriously, Lawrence Phillips, a star running back who wasn’t kicked off the team even though he was arrested for dragging his ex-girlfriend down stairs by her hair. The fact that most of “our” best players were not from Nebraska anymore didn’t bother anyone.

Especially Osborne, who later attempted to facilitate illegal immigration as an elected official.

Brian said...

"Especially Osborne, who later attempted to facilitate illegal immigration as an elected official."

Actually, I wonder if Osborne ever felt like he sold his soul just a little bit. That 95 Nebraska team was possibly the best college team of all-time. But at what cost to his reputation? If you ignore the fact there were multiple academic partial-qualifiers who didn't belong in college on the team, a couple rapists on the D line and a sociopath at running back, it was an awesome time to be a fan. It was actually a weird roster, half white bread native sons and half the biggest thugs imaginable.

ben tillman said...

As a marine who saw action in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I can say that, without a doubt, that warp itself is a disappointment compared to Southeastern Conference football. The Pashtun are far less intimidating than 90,000 drunk Cajuns on a Saturday night in Death Valley.

I've only been twice, both times during the Hallman years, and once I was actually pulling for the Tigers. The other time -- the '93 Ole Miss game -- there were maybe 50,000 there. But, yeah, SEC football is the ultimate.

And, by the way, we're glad you made it back safely.

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

Life long NY Mets fan here, and yes it is because the stadium is closest to where I grew up as a Pissed Off Chinaboy. I have noticed the following breakdown:

Yankees: Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Jersey, Westchester, Rockland and Western CT

Mets: Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island

AS far as ethnicity goes, I think Irish, Italians and Blacks tend to be Yankee fans while Jews and Asians are Mets fans. Hispanics tend to split down the middle.

Of course there are exceptions to all the above rules.

Justin said...

So, wait, I'm a white guy. Am I supposed to root for tatted up, low-class, no-education wigger, over a well-spoken, upper class, educated black player?

Because you're faced with that choice all the time.

Ok, so how about Chris Andersen vs Grant Hill? Which one would you hold up for a hero for your son?

Or, how about, Steve Nash?

Am I supposed to root for an immoral, ultra-liberal, America-hating Euro-weinie, just because he is White?

Grumpy Old Man said...

A guy I knew was a cab driver in Boston. One day he picked up a judge, who asked him to drive to Newton, a western suburb.

"How 'bout them Pats?" asked His Honor.

"Professional sports," replied the cabbie, "are a ruse designed by the bourgeoisie to pull the wool over the eyes of the working class."

The ride was completed in silence.

I'm more reactionary than Bolshevik, but I kind of like this story.

Anonymous said...

I root for players with cool names and teams with cool uniforms.

David said...

Justin: yes. Don't judge a book by its cover.

Kylie said...

eh said, "It's a shame the way big time college sports has been ghettoized over the last few decades.

Not to mention the fact that many of these guys do not belong in college at all."


Here, let me correct those typos for you.

It's great the way big time college sports have become more vibrant and diverse over the last few decades.

Not to mention the fact that it's great we see so many more of these types of guys going to college, period.

europeasant said...

"Are sports fans tribal or territorial?"

My vote is that sports fans are mostly territorial. In Chitown most northsiders are Cub fans while most southsiders are Sox fans.
However with the recent low Cubs attendance figures I might change my vote to tribal. This is based on the opening game team lineup. Those topics however will not be discussed or mentioned in the MSM.

SouthernAnonyia said...

All these comments regarding baseball...but does anybody actually still watch that sport anymore?