The Breakdown: Please don’t be ‘That Guy’
Each year, there’s that one dude at every Super Bowl party that gets on everybody’s nerves – and he’s always doing it on purpose. You know who I’m talking about: The guy with no vested interest in the outcome of the game, yet cheers louder than anyone … for whichever team everyone else doesn’t want to win.This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the whole World of Fandom.It’s annoying, and when you have your favorite team in the game – which, honestly, is rarely the case for most of us – it can be more aggravating than an actual loss.The one time in my life I was able to watch the Bears in the Super Bowl, it was a disaster. Combining Rex Grossman with bad weather and a tough Indianapolis defense – with everything at stake – is like dropping Charlie Sheen off in Las Vegas, handing him your life savings and saying, “Make me rich!”It was doomed from the start, and really, the only thing worse than watching Peyton Manning hold the Lombardi Trophy with his 4-year-old’s hair cut was listening to a buddy – from Colorado, mind you – act excited, because he was suddenly the biggest Colts supporter outside of the Hoosier State for no other reason than to get on my nerves.Anyway, as you can tell, I get over things quickly.But that’s the point, because watching your team in the Super Bowl should be one of the greatest experiences as a fan. Yet, my lone opportunity stands as one of the worst days in sports for me, right up there with the “Bartman Ball,” Wayne Gretzky retiring and the time I met Jay Cutler.And it was because of That Guy (and that other guy named Rex).We need to put an end to it.Fanhood isn’t something to be taken lightly, and picking a team to root for shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment (or spurn-your-friend-at-the-moment) type of decision. So, I’ve come up with a list of viable reasons for picking a team in a game that doesn’t feature “your team.” Of course, each of these can be taken in a way to root against a team, too. Here we go (in no particular order):Ties to your team. There are a couple ways you can take this. For one, if your favorite team was knocked out of the playoffs by a certain team, you can either say you’d want that team to lose horribly (as revenge) or to win, as to (absurdly) claim your team would’ve won it all had they just been able to beat them. On the other hand, if a team is a bitter rival of your team, this is obviously a case where you’d root against it.School ties. There’s nothing like rooting for a guy who played at the same school you went to. And having that connection to a player can give you that loose connection to the team, making it OK to cheer for it.Historical significance. One of the reasons to watch sports is to see amazing things happen – or almost happen. Think of the Pats-Giants Super Bowl: We could’ve seen the first 19-0 team ever. Ever. That would’ve been pretty cool, you know, unless you hate the Pats, then you’d have a reason to root for the Giants.Karmic significance. Maybe it’s just me, but if Tiger was taken down so harshly for his, um, transgressions, then how could Bathroom Ben Roethlisberger not have a visit from the Karma Police today? Anyway, it’s definitely a valid reason to root against the guy. Gambling – you know, if it were legal. Money’s money. No one likes to lose it.Personal connection. This is our variable category here, because it’s pretty vague. Basically, it all comes down to having a very valid personal reason for a team to win over the other. Maybe your cousin plays for the Packers, maybe the cousin of your friend’s cousin does, maybe you’ve used Head & Shoulders your whole life and feel a strong bond with Troy Polamalu. I don’t know. Use your imagination.Just whatever you do, please, please don’t be That Guy.
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