I have a soft spot for Royals fans who come to their fanhood from different perspectives. I stopped playing baseball after my third-grade year when my parents decided there was too much travelling to be done for a sport during the summer. I started playing basketball around that time and even though I liked baseball, I enjoyed basketball just as much, so I didn’t really complain.
My high school was small enough that there was not a baseball team. We had track, cross-country, basketball, and eight-man football, but no baseball. I really started following the Royals passionately during my freshman year of high school. It wasn’t long before I felt I had the authority to act supremely snobbish whenever someone started talking about the team. I knew who Alex Gordon was. I knew Hochevar was going to be the next coming of Zack Greinke.*
*I didn’t know as much as I thought.
It wasn’t long before I realized that judging and mocking people who I think are “lesser fans” than myself was a waste of time.* Anymore, I think are willing to call yourself a Royals fan, you deserve no mockery from people who have, perhaps, followed the team for a couple more years than you have. You’re not really jumping on the bandwagon of a winning team. Heck, when and if the Royals ever amount to anything, I’m going to be so ecstatic about the state of things, I don’t think I’ll have time to get annoyed by “Royals fans” suddenly appearing out of the woodwork.
*Unless it’s a fan of another team telling me about how dumb Royals management is. Look, the Royals often make foolish decisions. But if I hear the “the Royals traded Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye!” argument, I will ignore you. It proves to me that you haven’t been tuning in for about ten years.
Anyways, this spiel actually comes from watching that new Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial that was released a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.
This reminds me of why I love sports in general and specifically, baseball. As an individual who majored in English and is currently a high school English teacher, I enjoy things for the stories they tell.
The reason I’m a fan of baseball? All the stories I’ve gotten to be a part of. Each game I’ve watched was a story. Each game I’ve attended was a story. Stories that I experienced with family and people close to me and that makes each story special.
The reason I love baseball is because when I’m sitting in the stands watching Alex Gordon lace a double into the corner to drive in two runs, I am immensely happy. And when Hochever gives up 7 earned runs in the first inning of a game, I am sick to my stomach.
“Well, uh….Luke has got good stuff…..and toughness….grit….words.” (Don McPeak-USA Today Sports)
Baseball tells a story and that is why I come back to the Royals year after year. The stories may not always be happy. But they are MY stories and that’s a connection that can’t be broken by how well the team plays.
Although, it’d be nice if the team could be good.