Saturday, September 17, 2005

Fanning the Flames

I would like to direct all my loyal readers to Inside Pulse to catch Aaron Cameron’s 25 Worst Fans In Sports feature. This has been a long time coming, but the wait proved worth it. The highlights: who knew that there hasn’t been a decent group of fans to see their team win the World Series since . . . why what a coincidence! The Oakland A’s! Aaron also tears the lid off the professional poker tour, puts Yankee fans right about where they deserve to be at #17, and makes Jim Rome flinch like he just saw Jim Everett.

He saves the best for last, too, putting Notre Dame partisans at #5 (and hitting all the right notes, too: the Catholic obligation, the holier-than-thou academic talk, the recent legacy of sucking) and the Boston Red Sox at #2 (oh how swiftly the worm has turned on those “lovable” losers).

If I were in the mood to add an addendum (and really, when am I not?), I might propose the following:

Toronto Maple Leafs fans: No occasion is too inappropriate for a Leafs fan to bring up how much their team rules and your team sucks. If I ever heard a report of a “Go Leafs, Go!” chant at a funeral procession, I probably wouldn’t blink an eye. You’d think such an in-your-face fan attitude would be a natural fit for a team that dominates on the ice. But with no Stanley Cup to speak of since 1967, a lot of these overzealous Torontonians seem to know not of what they brag about. Sure, they’re one of the most storied franchises . . . of your dad’s generation. Until they’re able to make a Finals appearance again, why don’t you try giving it a simmer, Gordie.

Duke Blue Devils fans: Now, the Dukies haven’t really been on my shit list for a while now. I’m no fan, by any means, but they’re the lesser of two evils in their biggest rivalry, and considering that the other evil is the powder blue menace known as the North Carolina Tar Heels, I’m often eager to give the Cameron Crazies a pass. But I can see where their detractors are coming from. They’re another from the same “we not only raise top quality ballers, we raise top quality young men” school of thought, placing them alongside every overeager private high school who ever passed you literature. And all that “we graduate our students” haughtiness was irritating, but at least accurate. That is, until Mike Krzyzewski lost control of the reins and William Avery and Corey Maggette decided to make their fame (heh) and fortune (*snicker*) in the NBA. Now they’re just the same as every other top tier college team, except with a bigger handful of white kids to make middle America feel good about rooting for them.

Cleveland Browns fans: Hey, when Art Modell took a backdoor deal to move their team to Baltimore, I felt sorry for them, too. This was blue-collar, salt-of-the-earth Cleveland we were talking about, and if their team could be spirited away, anyone’s could. So I was happy along with everyone else when they got their franchise back – old name, jerseys, history and all – in 1999. I even gave a pass to the Dawg Pound, who were the bratwurst-and-beer equivalent to Raider Nation’s whiskey-and-switchblades psycho fan base. Then they decided to throw beer bottles at the opposing team and referees back in 2001, and we all remembered why we kind of hated the Dawg Pound. Then they made their own quarterback cry. And that’s when we all knew it was okay to start making fun of Browns fans again for their team never having been to a Super Bowl before. Thanks, Dawgs!

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