Delighting in the Misfortune of Others

Is it wrong, loyal Honchoans, to be so happy after the beatdown Arizona put on Duke last night? Does rooting against a team to which my only emotional attachment is disdain say something about me? Say something about our country at large (because I know I’m not alone… and if you don’t believe me, just try out this search)?

Of course not. Rooting against certain teams is as much a part of sports as rooting for them. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if many fans had more teams they rooted against than teams they rooted for. And in a strange, sports-specific twist, fans of the hated teams don’t mind it. Sure, it gets under their skin from time to time (like maybe when they get hammered as favorites in the NCAA tournament), but better to be hated than ignored, or worse, charitably praised. It means you’re doing something right.

Take my list of hated teams, for example:

  • University of Oklahoma sports
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Birmingham City
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Chicago Bears
  • New York Yankees
  • Duke Basketball
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • New York Jets
  • Florida Football
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Texas A&M sports
  • Real Madrid
  • Chelsea

Now, many events and circumstances went into the formation of the above list. Most obvious, and one that every fan understands, is rivalry. Your favorite team most likely has another team it considers a rival, and maybe more than one. It’s very natural to root against, nay, hate that team, with all of your being. Thus, as a Lions fan, the inclusion of the Bears, Packers and Vikings. Birmingham City and to a lesser extent, Texas A&M also fit that criteria, as do the Sooners and Mavericks, but they fit in other categories as well.

Another reason for sports hate, possibly an irrational thing, is an adverse reaction to media love. When a team gets praised and praised and praised in the media, especially when they don’t necessarily deserve it, the natural inclination is backlash. Virtually every team on that list, save maybe Birmingham City, Texas A&M and criteria have at one time or the other, over the last few years, had their cocks gobbled by fawning pundits. It’s disgusting.

Still another reason, and possibly my initial motivation for developing a disdain for a sporting team, is what I like to call a superiority complex. Basically it’s the belief, mostly amongst its fanbase, that a team has a god-given right to be successful. This angers me to no end. No team, no matter how successful in the past, has a right to success, they have to earn it. The list of fallen dynasties is long, from John Wooden’s UCLA Bruin basketball team, to Notre Dame football, to Nottingham Forest F.C., to the Cincinnati Reds, to the Cleveland Browns, to the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters, to the Baltimore Colts, to the Montreal Canadiens, to on and on and on. And still some of those fanbases hold tight to the idea that they have a right to be good based on past successes. It’s the height of arrogance and hubris, and against everything America stands for. It’s the land of opportunity, remember? Not the land of you deserve it cause you’ve had it before (though, yes, I’m aware it often plays out that way… see ‘hated’ list above). And every team above, in one way or another, falls into this category. Even Texas A&M and its delusional fanbase believes they have the right, not so much based on past successes, but mostly because it’s a Texas thing I figure.

Now I’m not advocating for teams seizing that opportunity by buying their success. I have a major problem with teams that take that route, and it actually seems more the approach of teams trying to stay on top than up-and-comers. The Yankees, for years while they were winning championships in the late 1990’s, had virtually no farm system to speak of, they just bought everyone else’s best players. It’s bullshit, and it’s no way for a team, or a league come to think of it, to be run. Real Madrid and Chelsea do the same thing, as do Manchester City, who I’m sure will make the list once they’ve actually, you know, had success.

And failing all that, I just happen to hate all of Mad Adam’s favorite teams. Oh, Mad Adam rooting for them in and of itself isn’t what causes me to hate them, though I certainly enjoy seeing him squirm in his sports agony. Rather it’s that he seems to choose his favorite teams based on my criteria for hating sports teams. It’s mind-boggling. The Sooners and Lakers ooze with a vicious superiority complex (and by proxy, so does Mad Adam, which makes his teams so easy to root against). The Jets might not have made this list a few years back, but they sure seem to be getting shoved down our damn throats a lot recently, don’t they? And that damn blowhard coach? Yeah, I hope to see him crying every year come playoff time. And if Manchester City, a team he just happened to begin rooting for recently (hmmmm…) begins to have success, which seems only a foregone conclusion, they’ll make the list too, having paid billions for it. Only his beloved Dodgers bring me to shrug, and I’m sure it pisses him off to no end, because it means they’ve been a non-factor for years. Of course, they are from L.A., give them a few successful years in a row and watch what happens (hint: shoved down our throats, appearance on list above).

Now, if only I could get anyone to hate my favorite teams. It means they’re finally, finally, doing something right. Sigh…

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