A solitary fan, his face anguished, sits alone in the isolated silence of failure. His team has lost again. They came so far, so close, but just not close enough and now he has nothing—nothing but an empty stadium and rumination of what might have been. His despair is an unwanted, unsavory and loathsome side effect of devotion, a result of his absolute, exclusive committal and unswaying servitude over many years—all to a singular team.
And I know how he feels. Growing up as a teenager in Scotland, I was not a big sports fan, but I loved World Cup soccer and the Olympic games. Nevertheless, supporting Scotland in the World Cup was about as fulfilling and successful as an Ernest Shackleton expedition. And cold too. The 1970s Olympics were also light on Jock joy; going to the bathroom you could’ve easily missed both Scottish golds while the Yanks racked up well over sixty.
Since then I’ve moved about a bit, from Scotland to England, to the USA, and to boot, the UK became part of the European Union in the ’70s. I’m currently a dual citizen of the United States and the Europe, thereby offering an impressive array of celebratory sporting prospects. The UK is presently technically part of Europe but admittedly this may be a fanciful fandom stretch here, although lately I really like Bayern Munich.
Some may think this is selling out, or fair-weather fan fickledom, but I see it differently; more pragmatically, and guaranteed to provide revelry and festivity, at least occasionally in an otherwise bleak sport’s silverware existence. So for this year’s hockey Stanley Cup, when my first pick, the Washington Capitals, lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, I immediately donned the Tampa Bay Lightning jersey. But they too were pounded by Pittsburgh. Hey, let’s go Pens!