“The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.” ~Abigail Van Buren
We meet new people every single day, and we get to know people that are already in our lives better every day. When we first meet people we generally judge them on one of two things: their looks or their personality. Personality is something that we have all become experts at seeing and reading. Whether a person is funny, introverted, extroverted, shy, energetic, optimistic, confident, lazy, pessimistic, or bubbly we know that and we can generally see that within moments of meeting someone. When we come to the conclusion that an individual has any of these personality traits it is usually because we have amassed a good amount of information about that person and are generally right about them.
Character is different and is something that cannot be determined on such short notice. The character traits of an individual take much longer to reveal themselves. These traits include honesty, virtue, kindness, and loyalty. Character traits come from a combination of beliefs, virtues, and morals. Generally these are instilled in us as children, and while they can change from time to time as we grow and mature, often times the character traits we learn as children stick with us throughout our lives.
For some people this can be a good thing. Being a kind, loyal, and honest person is something that any person should feel proud to carry with them from the time of being a young child until the day they die. It is when someone does not learn these good character traits as children and they grow up without them that we end up with such a mixed bag throughout our society today.
I have actually lost track of the number of friends I have lost in my lifetime, most of which have been the result of poor character on their part. I cannot place all of the blame on others, because I know I have both personality and character flaws of my own, but loyalty to my friends has never been one of those flaws for me. I have always been loyal to my friends, almost to a fault at times. There can certainly be a point where one can become too loyal which results in being almost overbearing, which I am certainly guilty of.
I could spend every day with my friends; I couldn't spend every day with all of them because we all naturally would get sick of our friends if we saw them every single day. I could spend a lot of time with them though and live an extremely happy life because of that; loyalty does not run that deep with everyone though. I have had 3 or 4 different periods in my life where I thought I had the best friend a guy could ever ask for. Then in an instant those friendships became obsolete, mostly without explanation.
This brings up another character flaw that many people suffer with: honesty. It can be hard to be honest with people, especially people that we really care about. Sometimes people will let their lack of honesty come in the way of a great friendship or even a loving relationship because they are just unable to say what needs to be said. As I said before, I have been overbearing as a friend before, I recognized that fault of mine. I had to come to that realization on my own, because the friends that felt that way never could be up front and honest enough about it with me to tell me. So while often times I would and still do occasionally sit around and beat myself up over lost friendships that I may have contributed to the destruction of, I cannot beat myself up over the character flaws of other people.
I can only work on myself as an individual, which is what everyone should strive to do every single day. Strive to become a better person, and strive to build character traits that other people dream of finding in a friend. You may lose friends along the way, and it will be hard when that happens. The important thing is to stick to your guns because if you believe you have strong character and that you are truly a good person, others will see that, and the ones that do see it and really appreciate it could become the best friends that you could ever ask for. Never let the negative character flaws in another individual dictate your life and the way you choose to live; make people acknowledge and respect the positive character traits that you have developed over your lifetime.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Wooden
It is extraordinary that when you are acquainted with a whole family you can forget about them ~Gertrude Stein
When we are born, most of us are born into a family. While this may not be true for some, like adopted children, it is the case for most people. Some of us are born into broken families, raised by single mothers, raised by grandmothers or aunts, raised by siblings, etc. Usually a family is involved, and sometimes families are great and spend their entire lives being close-knit and loving. Other times that close-knit feeling disappears, or maybe was never present to begin with. I find this difficult to understand.
Generally the foundation of a family lies in the grandparents, however when the grandparents are no longer around weak families begin to drift apart. Family gatherings start to become fewer and fewer and eventually the only time families see each other is at weddings and funerals. Strong families hold together and maintain the love and that feeling of togetherness despite the absence of the grandparents.
Another reason families fall apart is that new families are created with marriages and babies being born. When this happens some people forget about the family that they had prior. They forget about the brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews that they had beforehand and the idea of seeing those people becomes a thing of the past. Family gatherings are no more, and even contact diminishes until it becomes nothing.
There are families that can overcome all of these things and remain strong and continue to get together and indulge in all of the fun. The families that have cookouts in the summer, the families that spend weekends together camping at the lake, the families that spend Christmas and Thanksgiving together, and the families that have yearly reunions to be sure that the idea of family is not forgotten.
Family is the only thing guaranteed to us when we are born, aside from life. We are guaranteed to have family, as we all have a mother and a father (whether they are present or not), we are guaranteed life, and we are guaranteed death. So for people to not treat their family members as one of the most important things in their life is one of the most asinine ways of thinking to me.
My own father has his dad, lost his mother, three brothers and one sister who is no longer with us. He only talks to one of his brothers and his dad at this point. At least one of my uncles does not even talk to his own father anymore. These sorts of things blow my mind. It should not matter what caused the anger to begin with, there should always be a path towards a solution and reconciliation. Me and my own father had a falling out, and didn't talk for years. When I had my first child we both realized that what happened in the past was in the past and that we needed to look forward because family is too important. So it blows my mind that people can just not talk to each other because they got mad at each other for something. As Jim Butcher said, “When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching -- they are your family".
Nothing should ever come in the way of family, because we are one of the guaranteed things in each others lives. To disregard family would be similar to disregarding one's own gift of life. We have one of each. Surely we can marry in to new families, but all this does is add more members to your already existing family. We cannot control the actions of our family members, but we can control our own actions and our own attempts to reconcile differences with those that we have fallen out of touch with. To some people, maybe it is not that important to reconcile the differences. To people like me, it is the most important thing, because I love my family. Despite our differences, despite what they might not like about me as a person, I still love my family. I just wish I felt that love from them. I wish I saw my family on holidays, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins. I wish I had a close relationship with my cousins and could see them and build personal relationships with them. Maybe time will change these things that are missing from my family life.
“My dear young cousin, if there's one thing I've learned over the eons, it's that you can't give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.” ~ Rick Riordan
"The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life" ~Sigmund Freud
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary atheism is defined as; a disbelief in the existence of deity. For the sake of discussion a deity is defined as; the rank of essential nature of a god (or goddess). Yet this definition of atheism is not so simple when talking with the masses, as the idea of what an atheist is can become quite construed from reality. To the point that atheists are seen more as villains, hate-mongers, heathens, and sinners than they are seen simply as people that do not believe. So this brings up the question, what are atheists if they are not all these things? The dictionary definition seems too simple, because atheists are much, much more than just people that do not believe.
The following was a post on Facebook, it needs no introduction.
"Just as someone who doesn't believe in God doesn't understand how someone can...it's just as difficult for someone who does believe to understand how someone can't. I think it must be a sad empty life to not have belief in anything bigger than yourself. If you're a parent you must look at your children and think they're far too amazing to just be some scientific happening...I know mine is!;)"
This is the stigma often times placed on atheists as a whole. That we are some sort of self-centered miscreants without any belief system at all. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth and I hope that my writing this can shed a little light on what many believe to be a dark place.
This post from Facebook introduced me to a brand new form of hatred from someone that called herself a Christian, and the conversation that ensued was far from anything that I would associate with the Christians that I know. Let's look at the first real issue of her post, and something that is far from true of the atheist community.
When I think about someone living a sad, empty life I think about someone that never experiences freedom, love, compassion, kindness, and joy. Without those things, I believe that sad and empty could be used to describe someone's life, but not with the choice of being an atheist over the choice to be a Christian (or other religion). Could someone really have a sad empty life just because they do not have "God" in their life? I personally do not think so.
Then there is the idea that an atheist does not have belief in anything bigger than him/her self. Many atheists also consider themselves humanists as well as environmentalists. They have a deep love for humans, as a species, and for the health and well being of nature on this planet. Not to mention the love they have for their families and compassion for others. The universe, the planet, nature, wildlife, mankind; these are all things that are much larger than us as individuals, and these are all things I have a lot of belief in and love for.
Atheism did not come to me early in my life, as I was raised going to church every Sunday for nearly 16 years of my life. I have read the Bible from front to back probably three times total, and that does not count the research that I have done aside from reading it to try and better understand the stories. I did not come to the conclusion of being an atheist as soon as my family stopped attending church, but I started to question the validity of it. Eventually I began telling people I was agnostic, not that I really knew that that meant because I still was not able to tell anyone what I really “believed”.
It was not until I picked up the book ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins that I really started to lean towards atheism. I realized that being agnostic was really just a transition phase into being an atheist. Many people will say that there is no proof one way or another as to whether God is real, and they consider themselves to be agnostic. I just got to the point where I said, “Well there surely is more material that says he does not exist than there is to say he does”, so I made the best educated decision I could make and took on the tag of atheist.
This is the sort of decision that can make or break many relationships; family, significant others, friends, children. My parents were very supportive, despite the fact that they believe differently from me. I did not get the same response from my spouse and in-laws. Over time things have simmered down, but there was one question that really stuck in my head that my spouse asked me. “How are we going to raise our children?”
For me the answer was simple. We have not once attended church together, even before our child was born. Nothing was going to change now that children were in the picture. We would raise them to love and respect other people, and teach them everything we know, and eventually they will have enough information to make their own decision on the matter.
Atheists battle these sorts of things every day, because atheism is not “accepted” yet in many circles and communities. Marriages, friendships, and even families have been lost to individuals that actually expose themselves as atheists. Times are changing though, and the numbers of people that do not believe are growing every day. Australia even has an atheist prime minister.
We are not heathens, and hateful people. Are there atheists that can come off this way and give the rest of us a bad name? Yes. But there are plenty of “Christians” that do a wonderful job of that as well, think Pat Robertson and Alex Jones. People from all walks of life have those that give their “group” a bad name, but that does not mean we should stereotype the entire group of people based on those few.
The best thing you can do if you do not understand an atheist, is to simply engage them in conversation. Most of us are more than willing to talk and answer questions, or have discussions about why we believe or think the way we do. Many Christians would be surprised to learn that there are atheists who know a lot more about the Bible than they do themselves. There are many times I have been in discussions with others and gotten the response, “well I don’t remember that part, I’ll have to go back and look at it sometime”. That is just a clever way of covering up that you do not really know as much as you think you know.
The reality of the false perception is simple. Atheists are people, just like Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. We have many of the same morals, and principles that we live by as these other groups of people. We just do not buy into the idea that there is an invisible guy in the sky listening to every prayer, and ignoring most of them. We believe in action over prayer. We believe that one pair of hands can do much more to help than 1,000 prayers. Many atheists are activists, actively involved in saving the environment, promoting green products, promoting clean energy, and helping the less fortunate. I did not say a prayer for the people in Oklahoma when the tornado surged through, I made a donation to the atheist mother and her son that lost their home. I am not knocking prayer, if the person doing the praying is also a doer. I just believe that if you try, or do, twice as hard and often as you pray, you might find that you have better results.
This stigma around atheists will diminish eventually, as we slowly begin to melt into the pot and start mixing in with the rest of the people around us. I am a firm believer that the atheist movement is just beginning, as there are a lot of atheists out there, many have just been too scared of what others might think of them to come forward. We have not faced the sort of discrimination as other minority groups, but it is still an issue and something that many people fear because they do not want to put their relationships with others in jeopardy over something as simple as believing or not; so many choose to just keep their thoughts quiet.
I just hope that the perception of who and what atheists are is just a little bit more clear for some people that might have previously struggled with the idea of atheism. We love people just the same; the belief in a deity does not change that.
“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived” ~Isaac Asimov
People always ask, "What is the hardest part about being a parent?". The answer is simple, and is one of the most difficult things for a parent to handle, seeing our children hurt. In this sense the word hurt can mean many things, physical hurt, emotional hurt, or even just seeing our children mentally drained or stressed. The greatest pain for any parent is seeing their child struggle through the many obstacles in life that inevitably can cause them a great amount of hurt.
As we continue through adulthood we will go through the ringer many times with friendships, relationships, family members, school, sports, work, money, etc. This gives us a great deal of experience in dealing with the pain and hurt in our own lives. When we have children we tend to think to ourselves, "With all this experience I will be able to help my children avoid all the pain and heartache that I have been through, so they will not have to experience it". Unfortunately we learn quickly that it will not be that easy. As humans we are conditioned to learn through experience, rather than just taking another individual's advice, and our children are no different.
As infants and toddlers we have the ability to shelter, and ultimately control the amount of pain and heartache a child endures. They cling to us with their every move, and every decision, because they have not yet realized the potential that they possess and all of the things they have to experience in the world. But they will not stay little forever, and eventually they will step out from the shadows and the world may just start them off with a big slap in the face. This is not to say that an infant/toddler will not experience any hurt, that will bring us as parents to tears, or to unconsciousness.
All children experience what they believe to be emotional hurt, when they get disciplined or when they get a toy taken away, but we as parents know that this is nothing compared to what will come later on. The greatest pain for a young child will almost always be physical, as they are prone to run into things, trip over things, hit their heads and faces on things, etc. My son has had more bloody noses than I can count, one time to the point I thought it was broken and I nearly passed out while holding on to him while he was screaming and writhing in pain. He has had scratches everywhere, black eyes, and even a pretty severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic at one point. All these physical pains are hard to deal with as a parent, partially because our children are just beginning to understand what pain is, and they do not realize that these minor scrapes and bruises cannot compare to broken bones or other physical pains that they might experience later in life.
The physical pains later in life will be even more difficult to handle as a parent, but I believe the emotional and mental struggles will be more taxing on me as a parent because I see them as much greater obstacles because they cannot be fixed with a Tylenol, a cast, a band-aid, stitches, or a bowl of ice cream (okay maybe some of them can be fixed with a bowl of ice cream).
The mental struggles will likely begin when a child starts kindergarten, as this is where children begin to learn about real responsibility and how their actions can have serious repercussions. They will have homework, that they are required to do to receive a grade. This can cause a lot of stress, and that stress will continue for another 12 years and these struggles can weigh heavy on a young child and as parents we will see that and it is our job to do our best to alleviate some of the pressure from them. We do this by simply being there, answering questions, and doing our best to help them without holding their hand the entire way. It is important that we allow them to excel on their own, but we have to stay close enough to them to know that they are not becoming overwhelmed with the stress of being a child.
These struggles will not end when they finish school, they will actually become greater and much more serious. Going to college, working a job, buying a car, paying bills, etc. can all be stressful for us as adults, and we all know how stressful it can be as a teenager just getting out of high school and starting on our own. This is not the time to stray from your child and leave them to fight the battle alone, but it does not mean that they need the road map drawn out for them. Mental struggles for children can often be mended easily, by us simply being there for them, and listening to them. The biggest obstacle for someone struggling mentally is being left alone with their mind.
I believe the most severe of the three hurts that a child will endure is emotional. For myself, and many people I know, the worst periods of our lives were times that we were hurting emotionally. This can be at any age, from toddler to senior, we all experience great emotional struggles throughout our lives. As parents the most important thing we can do is love our children, and guide them through these tough times by showering them with the love that we have for them.
I remember the hurt I went through in high school after my first major breakup, and it was one of the hardest things I have dealt with emotionally in my life. I dread the day that one of my children come home and tell me that their relationship ended, because I know what that pain feels like. I also dread the day that my children begin to understand death and what it means when someone dies, because the pain of losing someone forever does not go away easily, many times not at all.
These emotional pains that our children will experience are going to be monumental times in their lives, and these are the times when strong bonds are made, both with family members and friends. Making it through hard times with someone by your side will create an everlasting bond with that person and will create a mountain of trust which is absolutely necessary between a parent and child.
I fear the pain that I know my children will suffer throughout their lives, and like many parents I wish I could just keep all the pain away forever. There are some things we can prevent, and others that we have to watch as bystanders. The important part is never straying too far away, because as parents we are responsible for helping to pick up the pieces and put them back together. It is not our job to judge whether they were at fault, and are suffering because of their own doing, it is our job to love them unconditionally. The real test for a parent comes when our children are hurting the most, and they need someone to show them that love. We all fear the inevitable pain they will endure, I just hope that we all also rise to the occasion when they need us the most.
"'Kindness' covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this an am happy I lived long enough to find it out" ~ Roger Ebert
Not enough people in society today have learned that making ourselves, and others, happy is the real definition of kindness. We cannot make all people happy, but each person has the ability to touch the lives of others and do something, or say something, to make them happy. It could be something as simple as holding the door open for someone at the store, or restaurant. Or it could be something less subtle, like paying for the person's food or coffee behind you at the drive-thru, or making a donation to a charity of some kind.
Selfless acts have not completely disappeared, but they are few and far between during the time that humanity needs it the most. Violence is on the rise across the United States, and worldwide. Meaningless wars are being fought, children are being murdered, babies are being killed, and bully victims are taking their own lives because they feel like it is their only way out of a painful life. So we have to ask ourselves, when does it become too much? When do we put aside our differences and just start treating people like human beings instead of using labels and being hateful towards one another?
Two of the most volatile topics in the United States, as many will attest to, are politics and religion. You will hear people say all the time, "Don't talk about politics or religion, it will just turn in to a big argument". Why? Is it impossible for people to have genuine discussions without getting ugly with one another? It is okay to be passionate about a subject, but when that passion becomes hateful towards the other person and their own beliefs, then you know it has went too far.
I have personally been witness to many of these conversations, both in person and over Facebook. I once was out with a group of friends for drinks, and the topic of abortion came up at the table. One girl supported abortion only for specific cases (rape, incest, stillbirths), while the other supported them fully and had actually had an abortion at one point. The conversation escalated quickly and both girls actually had to be held back to avoid any sort of physical altercation. All because the two sides disagreed on one single issue.
Friends, and family members, have actually went as far as to remove me from Facebook because they did not like something that I said. I never say anything to be deliberately hateful towards someone, but like many I am firm in my beliefs and I support them with strong convictions. To simply disagree with someone should be no reason to get upset, or hateful towards them, it is not worth it.
Facebook has created an avenue for these types of debates on a much larger scale, with hundreds or thousands of people having the ability to get involved at any one time. It has also provided the safety for many people to say hurtful things without the fear of a physical altercation arising.
So the question is, when does it become enough? When do we realize that another person's words, while they can be hurtful, are simply just words. Our actions are the real determining factors to our character as individuals and as a nation. Yet here we are, in 2013, and we are still not all seen as equals. Women are inferior to men. Blacks are inferior to whites (even our President, thanks Congress), Hispanics are inferior to everyone, Atheists are inferior to Christians, Muslims are inferior to Christians (I sense a pattern with this one), and somehow Gay and Lesbian love is inferior to Man/Woman love and can be easily compared to bestiality.
As white men continue to slowly become the minority, they still hold most of the power. With this it appears that the intent is to hold on to that power, and hold everyone else back, for as long as possible. But what happens when that power is gone? Equality is something that should not be hard to comprehend, yet it is. Two people are not free to love each other, because they are the same sex. Gay high school boys are killing themselves because they are being teased for being gay, and that is something that should make the stomach's of everyone turn over. A child feels as though death is a better option than being relentlessly teased for being "different" because our society labels them that way.
I urge people to make a change. Look in the mirror and realize that you are not perfect. For the religious people, realize that you are not the judge of others, whatever deity you believe in is. Stop oppressing others, and being nasty to them because they look different, act different, talk different, or simply think different than you do. Whites and Blacks don't have to hate each other. Christians and Atheists don't have to hate each other. And Republicans and Democrats don't have to hate each other. Conversations are how we strengthen our minds, and how we learn and grow. Without growth we will never be able to fully emerge and live our lives. Engage one another, with love, and as Roger Ebert said, with kindness. You can never be too kind to another person, but hate has its limits.
"One thing you learned as a Cubs fan: when you bought your ticket, you could bank on seeing the bottom of the ninth." ~Joe Garagiola
Sports fans come in all shapes and sizes, and every team has them. The best teams in the world have fans, and the worst teams in the world have fans. There are real fans, those that stay true to their favorite teams no matter what happens. There are bandwagon fans, that decide to root for whatever team has a chance of winning a championship, or that just won a championship recently. Then you have alumni, and hometown fans, which are those people that feel as though you can only be a fan of a college team of a college you attended, or a fan of a professional team in your hometown/state. I want to examine these different molds of fans and pinpoint the flaws in each of them.
We all come to cheer on our favorite teams in different ways. Some of us are raised by parents that support certain teams and that carries over into our own lives as we become fans ourselves. Many people don't become fans of particular teams until they are older and acquire a group of friends that all support specific teams and they adopt those teams that their friends are fond of. Other times people might follow a certain player in college that eventually turns professional. They continue to follow that player into the pros and they become a fan of that players team in the process. Another common reason for becoming a fan of a particular team is the hatred for another. This person might become a fan of that team's rival. These are only a few examples, but let's take a more in depth look at the types of fans that can be produced.
Let's open this up with the standard sports fans. These are the people that really love sports, sometimes it is a specific sport, sometimes they are a fan of many different sports. There are different types of REAL sports fans, primarily die-hard and fair-weather fans. Die-hard fans never waiver, they stick with their team through the good times and the bad. A prime example of this, considering I live in Michigan, would be fans of the Detroit Lions. Again remember we are looking at real fans, not the people that became fans this year, those would be the fair-weather fans. Many people I know have been Lions fans since they were children, me being one of them. Watching Barry Sanders avoid defenders was one of the greatest joys of sports in my childhood. I never gave up on them, and neither did the rest of the die-hard fans across the state of Michigan. Die-hard fans will never give up, and when the season is going they will watch the games and continue to cheer on their team.
This year brought out all of the fair-weather Lions fans. On Sundays an individual from Michigan can sign in to Facebook and probably see at least 10-15 status messages about the Lions football game that day. How many of those people were posting good things about the Lions in 2008? Some of them were likely rooting for a different team, but MOST of them probably didn't watch or even care about football. They care now because the Lions are doing well. It is extremely possible that these fans can fall into the fair-weather category as well as the alumni/hometown fan category. They root for their home team when that team is doing well, which could also be seen this year from many Detroit Tigers fans. The loyalty for these teams have grown significantly with the winning seasons, which fits the definition of fair-weather fans.
I have always loved the home teams, the Pistons, Lions, Tigers, Red Wings. I will always support those teams, through thick and thin. Throughout my life however I have found other teams that draw my interest as well, and in time I feel as though I became a fan of those teams. I have never been a fair-weather fan, when I am a fan of a team, I am a die-hard fan and I support my teams through the worst of the worst, which gives me the leverage for supporting my teams through their winning seasons. The problem with being a fan of teams that have winning seasons is that you will instantly receive the "bandwagon" tag when your team does well. Usually this term is thrown around by individuals that are fans of teams that are currently in a losing season, or by people that really aren't sports fans at all.
The real definition of a bandwagon fan is someone that becomes a fan of a team during or after they have a great season or win a championship. Currently this would be Packers fans or Mavericks/Heat fans for example. Don't get me wrong, there are REAL fans of these teams, but there are also a LOT of bandwagon fans that became fans simply because they were doing well. I've always liked the Packers myself, I don't hate them, and I rooted for them in the big game. However, I would not consider myself a fan, and I never claimed to be. The bandwagon fans are those that, like the Lions and Tigers fans, came out of the wood work to voice their support of the winning team. The bandwagon is not a good place to be, because the wheels always fall off. Of course being bandwagon fans they don't really know about the wheels falling off because they've already Paul Walker'd (for those that need the explanation...watch any of the Fast & Furious movies and you will see Paul Walker jump from something onto a car) it onto another bandwagon before the crash.
Bandwagon fans are really a part of the environment that are necessary, almost like the animals right in the middle of a food chain, like the gazelle. They feed on the grass and plants, or the merchandise and tickets, and eventually are killed off by the lions, or the die-hard fans. They will never go away forever, and unfortunately for them they will never be a REAL sports fan either. Speaking of people that aren't REAL sports fans, we will now move into the WORST type of "fan" (I cringe to even call them that), Alumni or Hometown fans.
When I say hometown fan, I don't mean everyone that cheers for their home teams. This label is only fitting to those people that feel like it is some sort of crime to cheer for any team outside of the state that they live in. When meeting someone in the same state as them, rooting for an out of state team, they generally call them a bandwagon fan, or a traitor. I don't remember when it was determined that as sports fans we were only allowed to cheer for the teams in our state. Maybe I missed the memo, or maybe I wasn't included on the recipient list. It's really a sad way to look at things because it's the comfortable way to do things. Being a sports fan is about making choices, finding a team that you can connect with and grow to love. Not about being forced into supporting a team simply because of where you live. The one question I have for these fans is this...what happens when you move to a different state? Are you then supposed to switch teams because you live somewhere else? I just don't understand the logic behind it.
This leads me to the final, and what I believe to be the worst and probably most disgraceful sports fans on the planet. These fans are only seen among college sports, and they always make themselves heard. Being from the state of Michigan there are a handful of big time college sports rivalries. Michigan vs. Michigan State, Both Michigan teams vs. Ohio State, Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Michigan fans tend to take the most criticism for supporting their team, primarily because of a video that surfaced labeling most Wolverine fans as "Walmart Wolverines". While there is a more detailed definition of that name, most MSU, Notre Dame, and OSU fans decided that anyone supporting Michigan is considered a "Walmart Wolverine".
The name "Walmart Wolverine" was created by someone that attended Michigan State and was meant to degrade Wolverine fans that buy their gear from Walmart and that never had a chance at attending the University of Michigan. But that is the primary flaw in the whole idea. If only alumni were allowed to be fans of a particular University, the fan bases would not be nearly as great as they are today. The reason this is so flawed is because GOING TO A SCHOOL DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE YOU A FAN. That is the most fake and illogical argument to ever be made in the sports world. Why, you ask? Let me explain.
Let's say Cameron was born into a family that supported team A. He was raised being a fan of team A his entire young life. Cameron gets accepted to attend the school of team B. Now he is a student and soon to be alumni of team B, who happened to be a rival of team A. So now is he supposed to jump ship? From the team he has supported his entire life to the team of the school he now attends and graduates from? He attended the school, it is not like he had to make a blood bond with the school stating that he will always be a fan of team B. Stick with the team you've supported your whole life, or don't claim to be a sports fan.
Now for example 2. Samantha was never a sports fan. She never cared about college sports and really never thought she would. She attends and graduates from a University. Being an alumni she now claims to be a "die-hard" fan of that University. What makes you a fan of them? Because you went to school there? I smell bullshit. By using this argument an individual would simply be saying they became a fan because they HAD to. They didn't have a choice to be a fan of any other team, and if they did it would classify them as a traitor, because they have to be a fan of the University they graduated from.
The individuals that follow these paths are the same people that will say WE aren't proper college sports fans because we didn't attend that particular college. What about someone that goes to ITT Tech, or a community college? They aren't allowed to be college sports fans at all? These are all rhetorical questions by the way, because as a REAL sports fan I don't need the answers to them.
I know what it means to be a fan, a REAL fan, of all the teams I support. Win or lose, I am still a fan and I always will be. Discussing sports and explaining my stance is something I take great pride in. It is important for the REAL fans to make their voices heard, as we are being drowned out by all of the posers across our country and around the world. Support your team, whoever that may be, and never give up on them. You aren't a fan until you can watch your team set the record for the worst season in football, and still support them every game after that in the hopes that they will turn things around. Don't ride bandwagons, and PLEASE don't be an alumni fan, it is not a good look...for anyone.
"Fans don't boo nobodies." ~Reggie Jackson