It's not easy being a sports fan. What a luxury... but it's not easy. It's part autobiography, part resentment, part disdain, part joy, part where one lives at present, part pure bastard, and part complicated route through various chains of fandom.
Schizophrenic Exhibit A: I am a San Diego Padres fan by birth, painful as that is year in and year out. I am not a Chargers fan. I live in DC now and, if anything, am a Redskins fan, but the NFL doesn't thrill me, so this is subject to change pretty easily next time I move. But I also like the Yankees because my grandfather was a minor league manager in Minnesota and a Yankees fan. I can't stand the Red Sox because of the so-called "Red Sox Nation" routine that people obey like zombies, which I equate with another team I can't stand, the Dallas Cowboys and their "America's Team" bit. When I first moved to Texas in high school from Thailand, I saw one kid beat another kid to a pulp for saying the Cowboys sucked. I'm a San Antonio Spurs fan in basketball, however, partially because of the years in Texas and partly because I also lived for years in France and I want to see the French guard for SA, Tony Parker, do well. Plus, I like Popovich and think he's the best coach in the league. I can't stand the Lakers, partly because of my San Diego heritage and partly because Kobe Bryant is a pompous ass. I'm an Arsenal fan in soccer because of the French crew - Henry, Pires, and Vieira - but now Vieira is gone and this fandom is slowly diminishing. I can't stand any of the Italian players because of their drama and spitting, but if faced with a choice I'd go with Juventus for Trezeguet, the French striker. I detest that American cliché about French losers when the US depended from the outset on French support, and especially when the French are some of the best sportsmen/sportwomen in the world, devoted to the "fair play" of sports. You want primadonnas, they're not going to come from the French. They're American and Russian.
I should be a US fan during the Olympics, but the great majority of the American athletes are so expectant of the gold medal or nothing else matters and it means so much in terms of endorsements that I have a difficult time reconciling the business-sports, especially at the competition that is supposed to be about sheer athleticism and healthy competition. I usually just like to see them lose. So I root for Italian policemen who ski, Georgian figure skaters, the Norwegians because I like their economy and have some Norwegian in me, and the prettiest girls - which made curling a really tough choice this year. I love to see Kenyan domination in long-distance running. I root for the University of Maryland basketball team, where I teach now, and would for NYU, where I used to teach, if they had a team in anything. I like Princeton in basketball because good friends are there or from there and the team often overachieves. I root for Penn State in college football, where I did graduate studies. I once cared about hockey when San Diego briefly had a team (the Mariners) and it was a decent team and tickets cost about five bucks and the San Diego Chicken (used to be the KGB Chicken after the local radio station, KGB, that sponsored him) would come and sit next to you. Sometimes I like to see Japanese lose in sports; sometimes I like to see them win against the odds because I lived there for a couple of years and have personal attachments but as a gaijin always struggled to be a part of the place, as all gaijin do. I like to go for the underdogs and the supposedly working class teams. I like to see hard-working athletes compensated - especially when they've trained without the vast resources of the American or Russian stars - come in eigth and be overjoyed with that finish. I like to see primadonnas embarrassed.
It would be so easy to be from NYC and be a Yankees-or-Mets/Jets-or-Giants/Knicks fan. Or from Chicago.... But I'm not, so it's all cobbled together in some convoluted and schizophrenic algorithm of sports fandom. There's actually an argument to be made for the whole thing. Like Kantian system-building philosophy. But I'd have to have several pints in me to do that, and then it would take too much effort.