Are You a Hometown Fan or Home Team Fan? One of You Sucks.

  • David Gonos

Home-Team-vs-Hometown-Team-Icon-Sports-Wire

Any person that has lived in a metropolitan area or in move-to states like Arizona, California and Florida have had to deal with a plight worse than the designated hitter, the 76ers and Roger Goodell combined: fans for non-local teams.

That’s right – home teams all across this great land have to suffer with insufferable fans for the visiting team living in their cities.

Whatever happened to root, root, root for the home team? Instead of it being shameful that the home team doesn’t win, way too many locals are leaving happy and fulfilled.

It’s killing our sports!

“But Dave,” you say, “why don’t you put down that third sandwich and listen to reason? I’m from Boston. I’ve rooted for the Red Sox since my family moved to the Tampa area. My Dad, his Dad and his Dad rooted for the Red Sox! How can you possibly expect me to root for the Tampa Bay Rays?”

The easily explainable reason is – you no longer live in Boston. I want you to be exactly like your forefathers, though. I want you to root for the home team, just like they did.

Horrible Florida Sports Fans?

The state of Florida often gets a bad rap for being among the worst sports fans in the country, nay, the world!

When I was 9 years old, my family moved from New York to Central Florida, then as an adult, I spent over a decade working in South Florida. In my 36 years in the state of Florida, the sports world has added the Florida Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Orlando Magic, Miami Marlins, Miami Heat, Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Rays to keep up with the growing population.

These new teams have had a tough time earning fanhood because their customers come from other states, with predetermined team allegiances. The Buccaneers and Dolphins have been around a couple decades longer, so their fanbases have grown as the generations turn over.

There are now 20 million people in Florida, making it the third-most populous U.S. state, passing New York, adding more than 1,000 people every single day.

Where are these people moving from? Is this part of the Montana-to-Miami pipeline I’ve heard so much about? No. They are moving to the Sunshine State from places like Illinois, Michigan, New York and New England, for different reasons, of course, but their slow migration south is speeding up.

It’s these people that are often the loudest, wearing their Red Sox hat or a Yankees jersey or sporting a Cubs license plate holder or Lions jacket.

“Florida sports fans are the absolute worst! The only games that sell out are for the Red Sox and Yankees! Ha ha!” (It’s the final “ha-ha” that hurts the most.)

But my argument to them is – you’re a sports fans that lives in Florida, which makes you a “Florida sports fan.”

And you’re right, you are the worst! But it’s because all these “Florida sports fans” only come out to support a team from outside of Florida, from a city their family moved away from, as opposed to the one they moved to.

YOU are the terrible Florida sports fan!

Rooting For a Team You Identify With

I completely understand why people hold onto their former city’s sports teams. They do it because it reminds them where they came from. It reminds them of their heritage, their family, parents and grandparents.

It helps them be included among people with similar backgrounds, who also migrated from up north. That’s why there are Steelers bars everywhere. This is a much smaller world, where you can go to team-exclusive bars, follow your teams online, and watch games through satellite TV or even on your phones. That couldn’t happen in the ‘80s for our parents.

<blockquote>These displaced fans also root for their hometown teams because it helps create an identity – you’re the Boston guy and you instantly have a group of fellow Boston fans to hang out with at a Boston bar. When these guys lived in Boston, they were just another douchebag with a B on his cap. </blockquote>

Be Different By Becoming the Same

These fans feel like they can’t root for two separate teams – their hometown team and their current home team – because it would be like cheating on their Dad’s team. That’s not true.

Your parents and their parents rooted for their hometown team, and so should you. You can still root for your childhood team, of course, but you need to support the home team.

Why support the home team? Bad fan support for the local teams could force the leagues to relocate these ballclubs, which could mean you won’t get a chance to even watch your hometown teams when they visit!

“Root, root, root for the home team, while still holding a nostalgic place in your heart for your Dad’s home team.”

It’s a horrible song lyric, but it completely makes sense!

David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about sports online since 2001, including CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, NFL.com, MLB.com and SportsIllustrated.com.