Hi all, another Fanpost from me. This one again isn’t terribly relevant to the Jays specifically, but fandom as a whole. Also, a disclaimer: I do mention one or two views on religion, but there more for premise than argument as I don’t think BBB is the place for theological debate.
Again, comments are more than welcome, and I would love some advice from the more seasoned writers out there.
Growing up, I’ve always been what I think a pretty spiritual person. I believed (and still do) it comes with asking questions, and understanding, instead of blind acceptance to one path above all. Kind of like the kid from life of pi, although without the Tiger/unfortunate events.
In addition, over the past 10 years, I have found myself changing (go ahead, make the puberty joke) as a sports fan. I used to devour every single yahoo sports article written (not just baseball, but NFL, NBA, NHL as well), and spend hours and hours of time just trying to keep up to date. Over the past 5 years, my sports time has shifted to almost 99% baseball/Jays, and even then the overall time sports takes from me has diminished. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen changes in their fandom over time.
What does this have to with sports/Jays?
One thing the past few years has made me realize (especially through the BBB and PPP communities) is that sports can require the same amount of time devotion to a religion could. This doesn’t mean I have a shrine to Bautista in my room (honestly, I don’t), but I’ve put in probably as much time or more on this team as I have in a lot of other areas of my life, including many personal relationships. Again, I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Having said this, I used to blindly follow my home teams. I thought this was expected of me, how could I not root for Toronto? Eventually, I evolved, and this lead me to frequently question the decisions “my teams” have made. I would question trades, signings, draft picks, and somehow even if I disagreed, it would not affect my fandom. Now, I believe I am slowly evolving again, because I’m starting to question “Does this team deserve my devotion?”.
This question to me is the important one, and one that I am allowing to change my perspective on sports. Reading the many trips down memory lane regarding Alex Anthopolous, I have strongly agreed (or at least seen the logic/rationale behind) almost all of the decisions he has made. This fact has made me strongly relate to the Jays and I believe they are a team (even though they are down in the dumps right now), that deserve my devotion, especially through the tough times. If anything, I believe AA has “spoiled” me with such a high level of logic/rationale in his moves. His moves have shown me there is a better way, and it is not out of the question to have a team operate as you hoped they would.
On the other hand, this past NHL season (especially the playoffs) had re-kindled some of the old flame I had with hockey and the Leafs that had greatly diminished since the lockout. I was excited by the young core that ‘we’ had, and was excited to make some minor moves in order to maximize their output in the future as a contender. However, even if hindsight proves me wrong, I am really not in sync with how Dave Nonis is managing the Leafs. Not nearly in the same way that I am with AA’s moves. For those Leafs/Jays fans (Wizard of Naz I’m looking at you), you may agree with this sentiment.
Therefore, as I am not fully invested into the Leafs yet, I find myself asking the question “Do they deserve my devotion”, instead of “What was the decision making behind move x, y, and z”.
The point of this Fanpost was not to highlight the “evolution” of a sports fan as the way it should be. Every person is different, and therefore fandom will manifest itself differently. However, for me, I believe in the future I will base my devotion/following based on the ideals and decisions the team makes on a consistent basis, instead of just geography.
For my own curosity's sake, I've added a poll here as to which area of fandom you would put yourself in. I've added an "other" choice, and would love to hear some alternate views.
Thanks for reading,