Sports Fan 101: Required Reading

Bill Simmons, over on ESPN, is one of my favourite writers. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he knows his sports. A few weeks ago he wrote what I think is a must-read for every fan of sports teams.

The background, if you don’t follow pro-baseball in the US, is that Johnny Damon, a player with the Boston Red Sox (Bill Simmons is from Boston and loves all its sports teams), signed a contract with the New York Yankees, the hated rivals of the Red Sox. So, the fans in Boston was outraged, but Simmons didn’t say anything for a couple of days.

Then, he wrote a column called Damon, dollars and you from which I quote:

For instance, let’s say your buddy has spent eight quality years working for a law firm. He loves everyone in his office, loves his job, never imagines going anywhere else … and then another law firm comes swooping in and offers him a partnership and big bucks. And let’s say he asked you for advice. Well, you know what you would do? You would tell him to take the big bucks. You would. I’m telling you … you would. And when he does so, you would praise him for doing the right thing for his family. That’s the way life works. With sports, for whatever reason, we expect athletes to do the right thing … for us, not for them. When they choose themselves, we act like they mailed us a pile of dog poop. Somehow they’re the ones being selfish.

This article changed the way I think about the teams (and players) I support.

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