My Commandments of Sport Fandom

Maybe I’m not as strong willed as I’d like to think or I just had to satisfy my own morbid curiosity. Either way I bit a bullet I had been trying to avoid for years: the national phenomenon known as…Fantasy Football.

When it comes to defining myself as a sports fan I violated one of my cardinal rules of fandom. Peer pressure is a dangerous thing kids.

But what are my cardinal rules of fandom? I’m glad you asked. I decided to sit down, ponder the mysteries of the universe and my soul in hopes of discovering just what rules I’ve been abiding by for most of my adult life.

Remember, these are my rules. I won’t hold it against you too much if you walk through life throwing all of them into the wind.

1. Always root for your team, through thick and thin, through winning and losing seasons and even when Ryan Leaf is the quarterback for your team for four games in 2001.

2. NEVER. EVER. Root for your team to lose so they can get a better draft pick their senile owner will overpay by $40 million for the next six years.

3. For the love of all this is good in life, never openly root for a division rival under any circumstances, unless they’re the only thing standing in the way of the Pittsburgh Steelers going undefeated.

4. You may hate a player with every fiber of your being because he lit your defense up on Sunday/Monday Night Football two season ago, but as soon as your senile owner signs him, you’ll take a bullet for him in a dark alley if it means keeping him out of jail/the hospital for that weekend’s game. (Ex. Terrell Owens)

5. You’re a proud drinker of your team’s official beer…on $1 beer nights at your third favorite bar.

6. You’re a die hard supporter of your team’s starting QB, even if he throws five interceptions against one of your best friend’s teams preventing you from making any valid trash talk until the rematch next year. Jerk.

7. You’re not obligated to cheer for anyone else in your alumni’s conference…unless they’re playing Oklahoma.

8. You can root for another college in your state as long as they’re not in your conference, they suck, you’ve never played each other on the court/field for anything that mattered in the last decade or they’re playing Oklahoma.

9. If you have player from a division rival on your fantasy team you know exactly which two weeks you’re going to bench him.

10. You can trash talk and mock another team as much as you want, but insulting another fan for supporting their team is forbidden.

11. Don’t wear a rival team’s apparel at a game in which they aren’t playing. (I.E. Wearing Cardinals jersey at Pirates/Cubs game). Via @sjamespierce

12. If you paid for a ticket, you stay until the final whistle.

13. Unless it can’t be rescheduled or it’s a bye week, important life events such as weddings, birth of children and funerals are the only excuses for not making every effort to see your team play.

Addendum: It is excusable to leave the funeral of a loved one early if said loved one was as big a fan (or bigger) of your team as you and they’re in the championship game/series. He/she would understand.

14.  This is a last resort:

15.  Never play fantasy football.

16. It’s okay to admit the nosebleeds have a better view.

17. If a fan favorite on your team one day finds him/herself providing their talents for another franchise, it’s okay to wish them well in all endeavors, but they’re the enemy once they return to play against you the following season.

18. There isn’t an age limit on wearing jerseys. (This rule is reopened for evaluation every 5 years)

19. The wave is optional.

20. If a player from your alma mater is drafted by your pro team’s biggest rival, you’re obligated to have a moment of silence before shunning him.

21. Whatever the game, whatever the teams, even if you don’t have a rooting interest, cheer for the underdog…unless it’s Oklahoma.

That’s it. My 21 Commandments of sports fandom are now open for debate, endorsement, ridicule and academic study. Which commandments do you live by? What do you take issue with? What would you recommend be added to the list?

Let me know in the comments or at http://www.twitter.com/danielmcfadin

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About Daniel McFadin

NASCAR writer for NBCSports.com. Former Sporting News intern. Graduated from IUPUI in Indianapolis with a master in sports journalism in 2014 and from Arkansas State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. Originally from Lewisville, Texas, now in Fort Worth. Ask me if I like Star Wars. I dare you.
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