Column: Not hating soccer, but finding soccer fans insufferable

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I think I was accused of being a soccer hater online the other day.

I don’t hate soccer.

I can follow the game. I’ve played soccer. I’ve helped coach soccer. I let my kids play soccers when they were younger.

I use soccer as a metaphor to describe the network and cable news: “Watching the cable and network news scramble after a story is like watching a bunch of five year olds play soccer.” And I mean that as a compliment to soccer.

I have nothing bad to say about soccer.

Soccer fans? Hmmmm…

Not so much.

To be fair, I don’t tend to like Obnoxious Fans of any team or sport. I’ve stated this before. I can’t root against a team because those guys or gals work hard, train and give their best (well… except the Cleveland Browns), just like the other competitors or teams that they face.

Another group of fans I find insufferable are Winning Fans. They tend to be worse than the Bandwagon fans. At least Bandwagon Fans have the decency to drop any pretense of being a fan after the season has concluded. The Winning Fan keeps acting like he’sthe fan as long as the team keeps winning.

When the team isn’t winning… the Winning Fan doesn’t say much (except to comment about a different team – in the same sport – that is winning).

I know its not a rule, but there should be a rule to say you can’t be a fan of more than one team in a sport.

It’s like: Who do you like more? Elvis or the Beatles? *

You can’t really like both equally well. One has to be better than the other, right?

*In full disclosure, I can tolerate both, but I’m really a more of a Monkees fan.

Your team identifies who you are. It’s part of our tribal instinct to connect with other people who share the same interests.

A while back, a buddy of mine decided that he was going to become a fan of soccer and watch the English Premier League. He wanted to know which team to follow and narrowed it down to two choices: Manchester United or Arsenal.

Knowing that he was neither a fan of the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees, I told him to go with Arsenal. Since Manchester United is really the Cowboys or the Yankees of that league.

And he’s stuck with Arsenal ever since. One of our mutual friends got rather upset because I lumped Manchester United with the Cowboys and the Yankees. She’s a fan of Manchester United and she also happens to be a fan of the Cowboys and the Yankees. So, there’s that.

A wise man once told me: Once you suffer through two losing seasons with a team, you can call yourself a fan. (Which means anyone can fasttrack to become a Cleveland Browns fan in just two seasons).

I guess that’s why I have a hard time accepting that anyone can just be a fan after one season, one playoff run or just one game.

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