Drooling on the Pillow

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Morphology of Fandom 

I was glad that Houston won last night, even though I'm supposed to be something of a Cardinal fan. Maybe it's because Houston has Clemens and Pettitte, two former Yankees, or the manager is a former Pirate. Maybe it's because St. Louis has become the beast of the National League. I think it's just because I like the way the Astros play. Which probably means I've become an Astro fan without knowing it. Great.

I spent my first twelve years within 25 miles of the Golden Triangle where the Allegheny and Monongahela join to form the Ohio River. So the Pirates are hard wired. Countless hours of wiffle ball imitating the swing of Roberto Clemente and countless hours in bed with the Philco turned down low to listen to Bob Prince do the play-by-play (the set on the left is, as near as I can tell, the one I had as a kid, though mine was red) made me a Buc fan for life. And Steelers, Penguins, Panthers and, briefly, the Condors (ABA).

When we moved to New Jersey I stuck with my boys, but eventually the need for someone more local to root for asserted itself and by the time I settled on the Yankees, they were solidly in one of their rare hapless phases. I went away to college in St. Louis and picked up the Cardinals, but (obviously) never really took them to heart.

There was a short period where I was really playing up my Irish heritage (buying the Irish Echo, drinking Jameson exclusively) and I naturally became interested in Notre Dame.

A few years in the north-west and I picked up Washington State University, the U of Montana and Carroll College (I look them up every Sunday). Three years of doing musicals in North Carolina gave me NC State. I spent a summer in Tulsa thirty years ago and the fact that I saw my first college game there since WSU means I have to check their scores every week.

I acquired Colgate when I married a girl from Alex Bay, New York and when we divorced she got the records and I kept Colgate. Marrying a Palmetto girl added South Carolina. I live in Jersey City now and saw my first St. Peters game a few weeks ago. You have to be very patient to catch the St. Peters score on the ESPN crawl. For basketball, I'm a Nets fan and I'm sure I will be after they move to Brooklyn.

I'm a fan of some of these teams only in the sense that I look up their scores every week. I follow some of them closely only when they're doing well. The Pirates and the Steelers are the only teams that can ruin my day, but still, that's a lot of bookkeeping. No offense, Houston, but I'm hoping this is a one night stand.
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