Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sportsmanship

I dated a rugby player once who was all about sportsmanship.  He gave talks to young players about the importance of sportsmanship, team unity, and being as humble a winner as you are a loser.  I hadn't thought too much about sportsmanship until then, but it's really stuck with me.

I love the Saints.  I love them because I love New Orleans, where I spent my very formative college years. I imagine that anyone who knows New Orleans in a deep way understands the grip that the city takes on you; it's the most spirited, unique, celebratory town I've known.  New Orleans is a city that has undergone deep tragedy, and that has bounced back from that tragedy with an inspiring grace.

I recognize that as much as I love the Saints, other fans all over the country love their teams (whether it be football, baseball, basketball, etc.).  All my football energy goes into rooting on my team, and frankly, I don't understand why people so viciously hate other teams.  Even division rivals--sure, cheer for the other guys in order to advance your own team's standing--but straight-up hating on teams?  I find it unclassy.

You can imagine what my facebook & twitter feeds looked like on Saturday; I'm a Saints fan living in San Francisco, home of the 49ers.  I can't count the "Who Dat?  San Francisco's DAT!" statuses I saw, as well as one guy I went to high school with commenting after the game: "YES!  Now both LSU and the Saints went down!"  I couldn't help but wonder: why does he hate Louisiana so much?  For him, is his love for UGA and the Falcons buttressed by his hate for LSU and the Saints?  I don't know.

from @Official_Saints twitter

Above is a picture of Saints coach Sean Payton, former Saint Steve Gleason, and quarterback Drew Brees.  They're promoting ALS awareness, as Gleason revealed in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with neurodegenerative ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Drew Brees on the Saints and post-Katrina New Orleans: 

"You can draw so many parallels between our team and our city.  But in reality, we've had to lean on each other to survive and in order to get to where we are now.  The city is on the way to recovery.  And in a lot of ways, it's come back better than ever.  For us as a team, we've used the strength and resiliency of the fans to go out and play every Sunday and play with the confidence that we can do it," he said.

For these reasons and many more, I love my team.  Here's to being a good sport.

12 comments:

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Well stated. I had to deal with the same treatment. I have had COUNTLESS rude and downright mean comments posted on my Facebook when it comes to sports. I was attacked earlier this year for saying that the fans at a SD game were too rowdy and that fights should not break out. Then I received comments about the Saints loosing this weekend. It was a close game that could have went either way! I am all for competitive shit talking when it's lighthearted. But if the Saints won I would never have left people comments rubbing it in. I guess I'm not that type of person.

I posted a question about the fact that the Packers had only lost one game this season and then they lost to a team with a not so great record in the playoffs, saying something to the effect of is NY the better team? I'm not even a fan of either team lol and I was seriously attacked...by a Charger fan of all people. Somehow because I was just posing the question he got so angry that it turned into him saying that I need to shut my mouth, I have no idea what I'm talking about, and that my father molests me. REALLY? Needless to say I deleted that person from fb...

bananas. said...

aw lady, you don't even know...i was rooting for your team like crazy.

i'm obviously not a niners fan but i don't dislike them. they deserved that win for sure. however their fans on the other hand, i could kill...especially the ones on facebook where they have the cajones to talk shit to everyone even though last year i didn't "hear" a friggen facebook peep from any of them!

anywho...way to be the better person.

bananas. said...

ps. did you try souley yet? i bought the groupon too and have been dying to try it.

drollgirl said...

you make some very good points.

i grew up in nor cal. my dad and male relatives were all about the raiders, which meant they really couldn't stand the 49ers. which is probably pretty lame. maybe they considered it loyalty and allegiance to one team and one team only, and that meant they had to mock the other? i don't know.

manfriend love sports and coaches his son's baseball team. it is interesting to watch the kids and the parents, and how they deal with good plays, bad plays, wins and losses. sometimes the kids have more grace and restraint than the parents. it is all interesting to me, as i am not sooooooo interested in sports, but i sure love watching people. :)

ag. said...

Ugh, I so know what you're talking about! I'm a huge hockey fan and I get soooo much hatred directed towards me because of the team I like. I always think it's better to cheer for your team than cheer against another team. Does putting me down make you feel better about your team? I just don't get it. Even when my team isn't playing, I get comments about other people hating them. Baffles my mind!

Ashley said...

Nicely said, Claire!

Even though I'm a die hard Niners fan, I would never put down your team! =) I love the Saints and I always go for them.. just not when they are playing the niners. lol

What a game that was though! Could have gone either way really....I'm sure you were having a heart attack like i was! =)

Faiza said...

i have to say that this is why i was never drawn to sports and even my love for baseball has nothing to do with winning and losing but more about the experience of going to the game. my first memories of sport were filled with the haters you talk about.

i'm glad you can see the difference and love new orleans and your saints <3

Marz said...

There is nothing ugly than a sore loser! One of my best girlfriends Erin and I love to watch sports together whenever she's in town visiting and we happen to like opposite teams. We like to play around and joke about one another's team if they're playing against each other, but it's all in good fun. But the serious shit talking that goes on is not cool. I can't even tell you the number of comments that came after our beloved Rangers lost in back to back World Series. My facebook and blackberry blew up with absolutely RUDE comments about my boyfriend C.J. (I wonder how Ranger fans will react when I show up in my Angels shirt when they play in Texas? I will always be a Rangers fan, but I have to support my boyfriend no matter what :) and how it was his fault we lost and bla bla. And the stuff people leave C.J. on his twitter can be so full of hate it's ridic! I was very proud of you and your social media comments giving the 49ers credit while being so proud of your boys. I have no ties to either team except to the Saints for you and Jessie - but it was an incredible game!!! Games like those make me love football so much! And football players like your Brees - he seems like such a stand up guy! :)

nicoleciomek said...

So very true.

The Packers (my fav team) lost on Sunday and while I was disappointed and wanted them to win, I don't hate the Giants or Giants fans. The Giants were a better team that day - that's how it goes. I think watching sports is supposed to be fun, but can become too personal and too much about the winning. I think that's a general problem in US culture though - it is all about winning, and that leads to people become rabid fans, which I typically find unnecessary and uncool.

Here's to good sportsmanship!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Ugh, I hate when people have really bad sportsmanship!

Happiness Is... said...

I just found your blog and cannot believe that this is the first post! I live in NOLA and am a diehard Saints fan, and I don't understand why people have to be rude! Chicago fans were AWFUL a few years ago, and I heard that people who went to the SF game said the same. Like your team winning is your team WINNING, not another team losing. Ugh. Such a hard loss but at least we have Mardi Gras!

J. said...

I get questioned ALL the time about my love for the Saints. People think that I should automatically be a Cowboys fan, as Oklahoma doesn't have a pro-team and Dallas is our closest 'football city.' I don't have the ties to New Orleans that you have- I've never lived there. But I love that city with every fiber of my being, for all of the reasons that you've detailed in this post. (and then some.) ;) It's so hard to explain this love of New Orleans and our team to those that have never been there.