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All For the Love of the Game Sports

Chasing sports glory isn’t worth it

By Blake Talabis

I’m all for hopping on trends.

Some of my favourite examples of these are eating viral TikTok foods and skipping Monday morning classes. But Stanley Cups—obviously the most coveted prize in the hockey world and not the tumbler—are where I draw the line.

To get your hands on the Cup is an honour hockey players yearn for their entire lives. And fans do just the same.

For Vegas Golden Knights fans—which I suppose do exist—this dream became a flourishing reality in 2023 when the team won the Stanley Cup after less than a decade of even existing. This was a feat a Toronto Maple Leafs fan—like myself—could only dream of.

Ultimately, that’s what comes with being a diehard fan of a team. Despite every hardship endured, someone must win each year—even if it’s not the team you’re rooting for. But this doesn’t stop fans from coming back every season with the hope that maybe this is their year.

At least, this is how it should work. Yet, not all sports fans seem to feel the same connection to their teams as I do.

Now, believe me, I understand the appeal of cheering for the championship favourite. I just watched my Maple Leafs win a playoff series for the first time since 2004. I was only one month old during their second-latest playoff series win. Trust me, I know what hardships feel like.

Unfortunately, that’s the biggest downside of being a dedicated fan: the gut-wrenching grief that comes with loving and supporting a team so much. It sucks.

With that said, I have never once thought about jumping ship. The unbelievable losses and crushing playoff exits are what make the eventual wins so much sweeter.

This is why I genuinely question how much Golden Knights fans appreciated their recent Stanley Cup victory. They never had to face any real adversity. They were one of the best teams in the NHL since their inaugural season. Not the best coming-of-age story, if you ask me. It makes me wonder how many Vegas fans would stick around if their team actually sucked. 

I just simply will never understand how liking Taylor Swift must also entail liking the football team her boyfriend plays for

So, this begs the question some fans might be wondering: are there any real benefits to jumping on the bandwagon?

The short answer is yes. There is still a sense of belonging and community that comes with any sporting team, no matter how good or bad they are. This is what sports do so well and I wouldn’t dare say that a sense of belonging is ever something that should be taken away from a sporting franchise. Additionally, you eventually get to see ‘your team’ win, which is why most fans watch sports in the first place. Those are two pretty big pros.

 Now for the long answer: yes, but if you do jump ship then you have no morals.

Fine, maybe some morals. But ultimately, riding the best team is like cheating on a test you didn’t study for. Sure, you may have gotten a positive outcome from it but does it really feel like that big of a victory?

I’m sure some people would say it does, but people who tend to easily bounce back and forth lack the loyalty and integrity to see things out to their end. So, not only do they suck at keeping a significant other, they’re also liars.

Although I have my beliefs about jumping on the bandwagon, I don’t think it’s for a lack of trying to see the contrasting arguments. But I just simply will never understand how liking Taylor Swift must also entail liking the football team her boyfriend plays for. Then again, Swifties are a whole different beast.

In the end, it isn’t up to anyone but yourself to decide what kind of sports fan you want to be. Do you feel like switching up on Stephen Curry now that the Golden State Warriors dynasty is coming to an end? Go ahead. Just know the fans who stayed through the rough times are the true beneficiaries of sport.

Look at it this way: if your best friend just got evicted from their apartment and lost their job, would you just leave and find a new friend who has more money—or would you stick around and continue to support them through their struggles?

If you answered yes to the former, then your issues go much deeper than sports fandom.

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