There's a commercial that has been running on the sports channels lately:
I think it's hilarious and not only because I love hockey and know only too well how fans can be. Of course I'm talking about those fans who paint blue and yellow logos on their faces and declare that they're part of the "Tootoo Train". Me? I'm more reasonable and even managed to temper my sarcasm and knee-jerk maternal instincts a tad when some idiot in Brentioch wrote a nasty letter to the Scene suggesting that one of the Predators was only good enough to be his gardener. But I digress.
There's the commercial and it's funny and all but it also speaks to any of us who grew up in households where everyone worshiped at the altar of a particular club except for one poor oddball who just wasn't feeling the love. In most houses, children may feel that they have to compete with siblings or a stepparent or a job or hobby for parental attention. I have a brother and while there were the usual rivalries, we had a common enemy who siphoned away our parents' devotion:
That's right. The Dallas Freaking Cowboys were like the good looking, accomplished kids that my parents loved better than us. Some people saw Roger Staubach and Tom Landry as sports demigods, but I saw them as ringleaders of the group responsible for many shushings and being shunted off to a corner to draw snotty cartoons of "America's Team".
While my poor brother assimilated, I became a devotee of the Madden era Raiders and indulged in my love of that exotic sport from the far north, hockey. Expressing this usually makes at least one person sputter about the Raiders being "dirty" and "meeeeean". When they do that, I usually smile beatifcally while I'm thinking, "Aw shaddup!" Still, the fact that the commercial exists proves that this dynamic wasn't particular to my family. In fact, an NFL Season Pass ad from last year shows that no one is immune.
So, the next time you see one sullen child wired for sound in the back of an SUV while everyone else on board is screaming "Go Titans!", have some sympathy and realize that they are the future of the NHL.
copyright 2008 jas faulkner