Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Fan's Gift

In his column, "20 Rules for Being a True Fan," Bill Simmons writes that you cannot practice Sports Bigamy, or otherwise root for teams other than your hometown teams. I agree. And not just because I love Bill Simmons. And not just because I am true to these rules even while proving the exception to a few of them. (See #18, and "Pacers.") But partly because I like to make fun of my brother. 

When I was little, we had no money. This really hasn't changed for anyone in my family since then, but for a few years we had enough to go on vacation in the summer. And by "go on vacation," I mean instead of driving the 20 hours straight through to Boston and then staying with family for a week, we would go somewhere exotic. Like Michigan. 

For a couple weeks in a couple summers while I was in high school, we rented a cabin on Lake Michigan and did nothing but eat, lay in the sun and play terrible rounds of ping pong. I also used one of these weeks as an opportunity to extol the virtues of Dave Matthews to my whole family. (In my defense, I was 15.)

My brother spent most of these days in the lake with a Nerf football. He would spiral the ball as high in the air as he could, trace its arc through the air while slicing his way through the waist-deep water. He would leap out of the waves, a human splash, twisting his perpetually pale, skinny torso to meet the ball as if it would not come down of its own accord. And he would yell in a screeching impersonation of an unrecognizable announcer, "TO RANDY MOSS!" 

This phrase accompanied both the throwing and receiving ends of the play. Leading us to make fun of him endlessly. (In his defense, he was 7.) 

G's obsession with Randy Moss was so pervasive he became a Vikings fan. He was also a Seattle Mariners fan because he really liked Ken Griffey Jr. And there was one year when he rooted for the Mets for no apparent reason. His fan allegiances were all over the map. Until recently, when he moved to Boston and now he refuses to believe this was ever the case. 

To be fair, we were raised in a confused sports state. Indianapolis is the closest big city to where I grew up, and it is not a big market. My parents are from Boston and we spent almost every summer back there, gorging ourselves on televised Red Sox games. The Celtics were great and the Pacers were managed badly. The Bruins were bad and hockey barely existed in the Midwest. Indiana is a state for football, even though we are known for college basketball. Our family is a potluck of Massachusetts and Indiana, but nowhere in this mash-up does Minnesota or Washington factor in. 

All of this is to say:

1. I am a Colts fan.
2. My brother is a Patriots fan.
3. My brother lucked out when he moved to Boston. Randy Moss went to Boston that same year. 
4. Moss just went back to Minnesota, revealing the gaping hole in my brother's allegiances.

There are two gifts associated with this random assortment of family information. 

One is that my dad and I text back and forth during Colts, Red Sox and Celtics games. (He literally four seconds ago coined the term Farvrergate. Yes, there is an extra "r." Sound it out, it's funny.) My brother and I text back and forth during Patriots and Celtics games. (And sometimes Red Sox, but since we both text my dad for those, we can't keep it going.) These text conversations are some of my favorite times of the year. Really this is a gift for me. 

The second is that *SPOILER ALERT FOR MY BROTHER* I will be sending my brother a Nerf football this week. On it, in Sharpie marker:


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