wine by the color

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I used to read Bill Simmons' column unfailingly and have even enjoyed an e-mail exchange or two with him (one of them involving the "Fast Break" soundtrack, which I inexplicably own, ON VINYL). He's lost me a bit in the past year or two but I do still check him out on occasion. He's got a new feature called the Curious Guy where he e-mails with various folks of note. This week's is author Chuck Klosterman, who is a genius on many levels. But I have mixed feelings about this Klosterman passage:

I absolutely do not understand why you believe geography should have any significance on which teams you are somehow "obligated" to support. That will always strike me as the most irrational reason for liking anything. There is no inherent regional quality to pro sports, beyond the imaginary relationship created by fans. I remember when I lived in Akron, Ohio, during the late 1990s, and it was suddenly announced that the Browns were returning to Cleveland. People in Northeast Ohio immediately began insisting that the Browns were their favorite team; this was before the expansion draft. People were buying Browns' jerseys before they had acquired any players. They didn't even have a coach or a GM. It was a wholly theoretical franchise. So -- essentially -- these people were rooting for (a) an incorporated municipality with a shared tax base, and (b) a color best-described as "burnt orange." These things have nothing to do with football, and you should never like any specific team more than you like the sport itself.

While I somewhat agree with his argument that geography doesn't have to be the determining factor in one's sports-team patronage, I’m not thrilled with his using the Browns to back this argument (although the line about people rooting for an incorporated municipality with a shared tax base is classic). Browns fans were celebrating the resurrection of the franchise, which had been ripped away from them by their devil incarnate of an owner. They weren’t rooting for a player-less, coach-less, theoretical franchise, they were supporting the history of the team and its return.


  • At 9/28/2005 1:34 PM, Blogger Megan said…

    Wait - Chuck talked about something other than heavy metal? I'm confused.

    PS. I hate how that guy looks all Hollywood now that he's all famous. He lost his North Dakota street cred with me.

  • At 9/30/2005 2:13 AM, Anonymous Jeff said…

    pfft - he's a great writer and can wear all the Armani and hair gel he wants. Quit midwesting him g-girl...

    Thanks for pointing out the interview - first time in ages that I've read one where both sides of the conversation were actually interesting to read.


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