Thursday, January 11, 2018

Stranger in a Strange (Seahawks) Land

INGRID THOFT

Think back to February 1, 2015.  Unless you are an avid football fan (or live with one,) you probably don't remember where you were on that particular day.  My husband and I were at home in Seattle watching the Superbowl, that nail biter of a game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.  If you watched the game, you were either thrilled with the outcome (Yay Pats!) or despondent (insert crying emoji).  But it's not the game itself I want to focus on; it's the two weeks leading up to it.



Did it ever feel so lonely being a Pats fan?  Did my husband ever feel more out of place when donning his "flying Elvis" hat?  Is there anything more divisive (putting politics aside, of course) then loyalty to a team or a place?

Do you stick with your pack, even far from home?


People have asked me if we ever considered shifting our allegiance to the Hawks when we arrived in Seattle to which I always give a resounding "No!"  What kinds of Pats' fans would we be if 3,000+ miles were all it took to dampen our enthusiasm?  But we're not unique in this regard.  Head to any sports bar in any city in America on Sunday, and you'll find fans far from home.  Each big screen will have a small crowd before it, wearing the hometown team's colors, connecting to their sense of "home" if even for three and a half hours.


Not everyone is a sports fan, but most of us have a place or a group to which we have allegiance.  Maybe it's your alma mater, a volunteer organization or your book group from before your move to a new city.  Our allegiance exists even when great distance separates us from the origin of that loyalty.  Or perhaps, distance really does make the heart grow fonder? 


So tell me about your team/group/club loyalty.  What makes the pull so strong?



66 comments:

  1. I'm not much of a sports guy. I am getting more into it, but I still like to have it on mainly for background noise/company. I will root for the underdog. And I will root on either the northern or the southern CA team since I grew up in Nor Cal and have lived in So Cal for over 20 years.

    Now if we are talking about Trixie Belden vs. Nancy Drew, I'm firmly in the Trixie Belden camp. And speaking of which, I've gone to the Trixie Belden convention, that we call Trixie Camp, many years.

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    1. You're full of surprises Mark! I've never heard of Trixie camp...

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    2. I know of Trixie Belden, but I know nothing about her. You've piqued my curiosity, Mark!

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    3. Me too, Mark. I've always been a dedicated Trixie Belden fan and got my daughters and all their friends to read her as well when they were in that age group. Trixie rules!

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    4. Oh, I have some Trixie books! hmmm..gives me an idea...

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  2. I belong to a women’s group at church. I think the cohesiveness within the group comes from the shared commitment, the shared belief common to each of the women who are members. Since the groups tend to be essentially the same within the denomination, I think it must be a shared commonality keeps the group so strong . . . .

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    1. Do you think the group would be friends without that particular commonality, Joan?

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  3. It's a special kind of crazy and fun when you are a dedicated fan for a team. My team is my college alma mater, the University of Kentucky men's basketball team. My husband, whom I met a UK, is a rabid fan, too, and when he's not here for a game on TV, we call each other all during the game. Of course, you don't have to be a graduate of the school to be a fan. My mother-in-law never misses a game (on TV), and she's never even been on the campus. Being a Kentucky fan is a passion that is in your blood (we do bleed blue), often genetic. My parents were also big fans.

    I looked up rabid fan on google to explain my passion, and there is such a thing called "rabid fan syndrome," which notes that it is a fan who arranges his/her schedule in life to accommodate the game schedule of their team. Yep, pretty much so. During March Madness, there is little more important than the game.

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    1. Thank goodness you're both fans, Kathy! It might be tough if you didn't share this passion!

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  4. Go Canes! That's the Miami Hurricanes my alma mater. Of course when you follow a team that likes big bling (think this year's turnover chains) it's not hard to be a fan.

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  5. No, I have never been into watching sports. Mainly because the Toronto professional teams all sucked (Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Raptors, Argonauts). And in Ontario, they do not show the university games on cable TV (like in the US), so it's hard to become/stay a loyal fan.

    I would say the main group that I am loyal to is (no surprise) the mystery fiction community. I do this by reading your books, participating on-line here (and on Facebook) and going to several mystery conventions each year. And why? Because you are the best!

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    1. You are the best Grace, thank you for being on the mystery team!

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    2. It's the best team to support and root for!

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    3. Our colors are midnight black and blood red.

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    4. Thanks, Grace! It is a great team!

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    5. Yay, team! I will be the Designated Worrier. xoxo

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  6. Go Pats! Celtics! Revs! and Bruins...Go Sox!!!! and Braves until they moved....

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  7. Yes, we are big fans here in Central Texas. We lived in Portland, OR for several years, but took our passion for the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns with us, and then we brought it back home with us. Big rivalries here between the University of Texas and Texas A&M and also Longhorns and University of Oklahoma. We like the burnt orange of Texas, not the maroon of the Aggies or the red of the Sooners. And we are fans through the good years and the bad years. So - 'Hook 'em Horns'!

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  8. I am a huge sports fan. I played as a kid, watched as a teen, coached in a youth basketball league from the time I was 14 until I was 39, and have gone to games of all sorts from youth league to professional.

    Growing up, everyone around me always seemed to root for the hometown teams unless it was the Boston Celtics. They always seemed to root for the Lakers (TRAITORS!) and gave me trouble because I rooted for the Celtics.

    So I was oppositional to that. I rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball because they were both good and had great players I loved cheering for. I rooted for the Hartford Whalers (okay that was because of their green uniforms, my favorite color). I rooted for the Chicago Bears because they were the epitome of pure power and viciousness with their "46 Defense" and the sublime awesomeness of Walter Payton.

    But that didn't last and the pull of the hometown teams ended up winning out once I didn't have to deal with stupid people my age. I started rooting for the Red Sox when I was 14, I rooted for the Bruins once Hartford ended up folding in 1997. And the day the Patriots hired Bill Parcells as coach was the day I became a Patriots fan (that was the first sign that the team was finally serious about being a real organization).

    As for the Celtics, I've been a fan since I can remember. Basically as my love of basketball took over my life, so did rooting for the Green. I've gone to games, bought the merchandise, watched them on TV with such passion that I was banned from the living room for being too loud. I coached a "Celtics" team in the youth league to a number of championships. Heck, my mom and dad even got me one of those fake sports contracts/news articles that announced me as the new coach of the Boston Celtics. Through thick and thin, I've bled green with a fervor that borders on fanaticism at times. There's no other basketball team that matters more, everyone else is an also ran at best. GO CELTICS!!!

    And this all comes from a place that no one can figure out because no one else in my immediate family was a real passionate sports fan. My mom came the closest but she really didn't come into her own as a full fledged fan until my dad got sick and they ended up watching Red Sox games every night. Though we did get to watch the Sox reverse the curse in 2004 together and it was so insanely great that night.

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    1. The Celtics/Lakers rivalry was part of the backdrop of my childhood, Jay. I'm so sorry you were surrounded by Lakers fans! I think it's so interesting that you're family didn't share your love of sports. You're a mystery!

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  9. Despite living with a rabid Red Sox fan, I don't really care about sports. I am, however, a fourth-generation Californian. And when I fly west and cross the Rockies, I feel like I can really breathe again. When I watch the Rose Parade on New Year's Day, I remember walking two blocks the night before to watch them put the finishing touches on the floats in a big warehouse-like building and I long for my mountains - yes, the San Gabriel mountains, the backdrop for the parade, are MY mountains. I still have strong ties to the west, even though I love New England and have now lived here longer than I lived in California.

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    1. All things being equal, would you ever want to return to CA, Edith? If you could transplant your friends and family, of course.

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    2. Huh. I might, if I could live in a part of California with clean air and not too many people, LOL. Oh, I guess I'm describing where I live right now...

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  10. Not at all a sports fan although I do remember as a kid I loved the Dodgers for no special reason, I think, except they weren't the Yankees!

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    1. The "not Yankees" motivation is a strong one, Judi!

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  11. For me it's the UConn women's basketball team--the Huskies. We feel like those girls are OUR girls and we're so sad when one graduates, and love watching them play. Some people hate our coach because he's so hard on the girls and he's a big winner, but we love him too:). Early in our marriage, I posted a newspaper-page photo of Coach Auriemma above my side of the bed. John didn't even notice it until I pointed it out 2 days later LOL.

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    1. Even a non sports fan like me is a huge fan of the Lady Huskies, and I don't even have TV!

      DebRo

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    2. Coincidentally, Coach A won his 1000th game on the same day that UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell won hers.

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  12. Last summer, we had the time and interest to attend FCCincinnati professional soccer tournament games. UC stadium was packed to the rafters, fans wearing orange and blue and drinking Fiona (that's the baby hippo at the zoo) beer.

    The Cleveland Indians hooded sweatshirt I wear for yard chores belonged to one of my children. I'm amused when teary-eyed men stop to chat about growing up in Cleveland and "their team."

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  13. I watch exactly one football game a year... the Super Bowl. And then only the last five minutes, which is guaranteed to last 40 and to be pretty exciting. I am a Red Sox fan mostly because my husband is (he grew up in Brooklyn, a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan, so rooting for the Red Sox and btw against the Yankees is in his blood). But barely get to watch a game now that it's no longer aired on any TV station we get. Plus Big Papi is gone and there are so many new players every year it's head-spinning. And when we do manage to get seats, they're so far away that I can barely see the players, never mind the ball.

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    1. My M.O., too, Hallie. The last five minutes. Which, since they're football minutes, last half an hour, at least.

      Someone once said that if real minutes were like football minutes, Will Shakespeare would still be alive and writing plays.

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  14. I was a bigger sports fan when I was younger. Age has given me perspective. Still, it's fun to follow the Buffalo teams, even after spending 20+ years in Pittsburgh. My brother-in-law is here and we all settled in to watch the Bills-Jaguars game last Sunday (not the outcome we were hoping for). My brother lives near DC and there is a bar where all the Buffalo people meet to watch games.

    I am, however, still slightly rabid about my college basketball team. Go Bonnies!

    Mary/Liz

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  15. If you figure it out, let me know, okay? I'm mystified, frankly. I cannot bring myself to get worked up over over-paid, testosterone-poisoned (in many cases) men moving a ball around on a fake grass surface. It doesn't affect my life in any way, so why would I spend a small fortune to participate in the craziness? And don't get me started on cheerleaders.

    My apologies to all sports fans. You go on with your bad selves. You have plenty of company, including two of my daughters, who are both half-crazed Bengals fans. Neither have lived in Cincinnati for well over a decade, but they both dress up on game day and park in front of some gigantic TV--either at their own home or at a public venue--and drink adult beverages and trash talk. It both cracks me up and kills me at the same time, that I birthed these two women.

    My husband played football in high school, and for his first year at Brown, but he's not much of a fan. Now and again he'll watch a game if he has a personal connection to the team (Ohio State, because of Ohio; Nebraska because his brother taught there for thirty years; a Cincinnati team if there's a big deal match like the World Series or the Superbowl). He's a refreshing change from my first husband, who was glued to the TV like it was his job whenever the Bengals played.

    My cousin and her husband tailgate to every Bengals home game, and they make this elaborate setup with two or three other couples. They've invited me a few times, especially when my uncle used to come to visit from Phoenix (they surreptitiously left some of his ashes at Paul Brown Stadium after he died). I have so enjoyed that, but when the game starts I go home.

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    1. I have to add that when our kids, my brother, and my grandson have played or participated in sports, I've been there, cheering them all on. Even when I had a completely imperfect understanding of the game or event.

      For instance, I bragged to another track mom that my daughter was on the junior varsity team. My face still burns about that one! LOL

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    2. Ha! You must have won points for enthusiasm, Karen!

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  16. Basketball has been my passion, although I also enjoy soccer, especially the USWNT, and volleyball. I've coached basketball and soccer in rec leagues. I rooted for the Providence Friars because my uncle taught at PC (so yes, Mary, I know who the Bonnies are). I became a UNC fan after watching a game on TV and seeing some of the things they did, like pointing to the player who had made the pass that led to a basket. I'm still very much a light-blue fan in the rivalry of the shades of blue here in the triangle (i.e., UNC not Dook). I've never been much of a football fan, although I do root for the Buckeyes and will even watch a game occasionally, mostly to see the marching band perform the Script Ohio at halftime. I always get a kick out of watching the tuba player prance out to dot the I. I find baseball boring, but we generally go to one or two Bulls games with friends each year and sit in the bleachers and chat. Still haven't seen Annie Savoy or Crash Davis, though.

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    1. I went to a Mariners game in September, Jim, and it was a lovely backdrop to a wonderful chat with friends! Forgive me, baseball fans!

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  17. I married into Red Sox fandom, and spent many an evening puttering around while Ross listened to them on the radio. Like Hallie, we could barely see any games because we don't have cable, and that's where 90% of sports broadcasts are to be found. I will say Yeah, Pats, because I'm a New Englander, but pro football has never been my thing.

    My passion - which I passed on to my husband and children - is SEC football, particularly Alabama (Roll Tide!) My father was a graduate of Alabama, and I have wonderful memories of my Paw-Paw taking me to the Crimson and White scrimmages, the intra-squad games which, back in the 1960s, were free and open to anyone. To me, there's nothing like college football. And yes, I - and everyone else in the family - own Alabama sweatshirts, t-shirts, pennants and a little stuffed Tusker the Elephant. #NoShame

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    1. You must be very happy this week, Julia!

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  18. I grew up a Sox, Pats, B’s, and Celtics fan and I still am. That 2015 game was played here in Phoenix and, boy, we were a city divided! I moved to Phx the same year as Charles Barkley and he and the Suns charmed me silly as did Larry Fitzgerald when he donned the Cardinals uniform, plus we had Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling win us a DBack World Series, so I am a fan divided. I can honestly say I love the Suns, Cards, DBacks, and Coyotes as much as my New England teams and if they ever meet up in a championship...oh, dear...that will be the true test of where my loyalty stands!

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  19. In my extended family, you must pledge allegiance to the Yankees, although there are a few misguided Mets fans here and there. We tolerate them because at least they like a New York team. Again, I am not a sports fan, but rooting for the Yankees is part of our DNA, kind of like eye color, and should not be changed. Ever.

    I have never in my life seen a football game, not even for five minutes, and I don't intend to start now. A few years ago my pastor asked me who I favored in the upcoming Super Bowl. "Super bowl?" I said. "Is that something like a huge fruit compote?" He's a big joker, but even he wasn't sure if I was joking!

    DebRo

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    1. Deb, I think the Yankee loyalty is like the Red Sox loyalty; you've got it whether you like it or not!

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  20. Oh gosh. Football is major in Texas. I went to our junior high games and our high school games. Then we moved to the New Orleans area and life changed. I am a Texas Longhorn fan, having gone to school there in Austin and meeting my husband as freshmen. I still watch their games on TV. My late father-in-law was a rabid LSU fan and we had fun times talking college football, especially the SEC. Since we lived in NE Ohio for almost 20 years in the 80s and 90s I rooted for the Browns and the Indians and the Cavs. I'm still mad at Art Modell for sneaking the Browns off to Baltimore. I gained an appreciation for baseball when my son played in the Kiwanis league and I went to all his games. The Indians rebuilt their team thanks to the Jacobs brothers and we had a wonderful time there for a while. I still love Omar Vizquel to pieces. Now I'm in love with Jose Altuve of the Astros. What a guy. I find I support the local pro teams from where we've lived (Saints, Browns, Vikings, Texans) but have to prioritize when they play each other. I don't adopt the local college teams though. Now, let me just say this: I don't sit and watch sports on TV all the time. I watch Longhorn football (unless they really stink and I have to turn the channel). I watched the Astros in the playoffs and the World Series. Occasionally I might watch the Texans. But that's it. My father-in-law, bless his heart, watched everything on TV, even golf.

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  21. Like Ann Richards, I'm a Cowboy fan. They never lost a Super Bowl while SHE was governor.

    But I rarely I watch the games. We find so many other inspiring things to watch, like reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Mama's Family" and "Big Bang Theory".

    We do like AAA baseball and try to get to Red Wings games a few times during the summer. They never lose when I am there, which make me think I should go more often. It also makes me feel like Ann Richards, minus the big hair.

    However, I love the Super Bowl, not for the commercials of the food though. It is the evening to explain every play to Julie, none of which she retains to the following year. No, Julie, that line on the field isn't really there. No Julie, ten minutes on the clock does not mean the games is almost over. No Julie, GB doesn't not stand for Great Britain. Julie, look away from the slaughter; that guy's leg is bent funny. It makes for a fun evening.

    I can't wait!

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    1. This year there is a vague possibility that the Bills will end up in the bowl. I think that is a football team to the west of here. So all bets are off.

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  22. I've lived in Wyoming longer than I lived in Texas (where I was born and raised), but I'm still a Cowboys fan. You learn early if you live in Texas that you might as well enjoy football (if you want any social life at all) as the entire fall and early winter revolves around it. My parents took me to my first high school football game when I was only a few weeks old.

    However, at our house, it's baseball that counts. My husband's greatest desire in life was to play for the Detroit Tigers. We watch baseball incessantly during the season and really get into post-season ball. Our local team is the Colorado Rockies and we do root for them (as long as they're not playing the Tigers).

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  23. My hub doesn't watch or follow ANY sports, so there are no team loyalty issues in our house:-) I, however, like baseball, although I didn't grow up watching or playing the game and may still be a wee bit fuzzy on the rules... I try to keep up with the Texas Rangers and rooted for Houston in the World Series.

    I've never been a Cowboys fan, partly because I'm contrary, partly because I've just never seen anything to like about them. (Don't even mention cheerleaders, gah.) My son-in-law, however, and for whatever weird reason, is a huge Green Bay Packers fan. They wear green and cheese heads and have even been to Green Bay for a game (where they nearly froze to death.) So if the Packs are playing, they're my team!

    And I love the Superbowl, no matter who's playing. And, yes, I love the commercials.

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    1. I do have another team loyalty--Team GB rowing!!!!

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    2. My in-laws are Cheeseheads, Debs. It takes a lot of loyalty to don one of those hats!

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  24. GO SEAHAWKS.

    I was an L.A. Rams fan, grew up one, but they left (deserted) us and went to St. Louis. Phooey. Now they come back, but still phooey. I have lived in Portland for years and am a Seahawks fan. Seems to me loyalty in sports should have something to do with supporting the local team. How can you live in Seattle and not support the home town franchise? Supporting the Pats is Old News. Let go and move on.

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    1. Never, Rick!! It will never happen! ;)

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  25. Condolences, Ingrid, on the loss of the SuperSonics. Or maybe they were gone before you got there? I used to root for them because of Nate McMillan, whom I had taught when he was in high school in Raleigh.

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    1. They left a couple of years after we got here, and although I wasn't a fan, I know a lot of people in the city were very upset (and still are). There are always whispers that we might get another NBA team, but I suspect we'll get an NHL team before that happens.

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  26. Thirty years ago, I married into a Cleveland Browns family. I hadn't really followed pro football much before that, being from a city dominated by college football. So it was easy enough to go along. (And 30 years ago the Browns won enough of the time to make it possible to become a fan.) Then for about eight years in the late 80s and early 90s, we lived close enough to Cleveland to make attending games fairly easy. That's probably when the bond solidified.

    Fast forward to now, and you all know the story. Our team was stolen in the dark of the night and after a few sad, quiet years, was replaced with an expansion team that wears the Browns uniforms but is a sad shadow of the old Browns. This year they have the dubious honor of a perfect season of losses.

    But here's the thing: my allegiance to the Browns has in some ways grown stronger than ever. Oh, I don't watch their games anymore. (I'm not a masochist.) But there is something I find so endearing about my in-laws and other true Browns fans. I tell strangers I run into in the grocery wearing Browns gear that I think every woman should try to marry a Browns fan. That way they know they are getting someone who will stick around when the going gets rough, who will be with them through thick and thin. So in some weird way, I'm almost proud again to wear my gear and identify as a Browns fan. And who knows? Someday they might even, you know, start winning games again.

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    1. I love that idea, Susan, that team loyalty is a mark of character and a good potential mate. And you never know; the Pats were losers for a long time before they were winners.

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  27. My dad and I watched the Phillies win the series but he got turned off by the strike, and after he died, I didn't watch anymore. My sport is figure skating, mainly for the beauty, costumes, and music. In figure skating if you go over your time, you are penalized. Before OnDemand, I used to hate when overtime in baseball, football, and basketball made me miss my programs!

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    1. I'm looking forward to the figure skating in the Olympics, Sally, after watching some of the Nationals last weekend. It will be interesting to see if I enjoy it as much as years past, what with the heavy emphasis on the quad jumps.

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  28. Patriots! Red Sox! Back when I lived in Indianapolis, there were no Colts or Pacers, so my loyalty is not divided. However, I am married to a New Yorker, so we do have some ..situations. He's Patriots and Red Sox, too, though. We just have a bit of a difference of opinion over the Y-team.

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    1. I don't think you're alone in that, Hank. There's no division like that between fans of the Y-team and fans of the RS-team!

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  29. A few of you have noticed that we had a technical snafu that resulted in today's post disappearing and another showing up! We've fixed the problem, and are back to our regular scheduled program!

    If you left a comment already, it will be there on Saturday when that post goes live.

    Thanks for your patience. Blogger keeps us on our toes!

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