Song: A guide to being a fan

Dear Toronto Raptors: I QUIT.

That’s how my letter to the Toronto Raptors went after they went 0–4 on a West Coast road trip and lost nine of their last 10 games. I quit on them just like they’ve quit on me in effort, heart and any recognizable standards of team basketball over the course of the last decade. For more reasons why I quit, please see my Facebook note titled “Dear Toronto Raptors: I quit.”

(Aside: I’m serious. Go read my note. Now. And if you’re not Facebook friends with me, please feel free to friend-request me, especially if you’re a single female.)

Now, I know what you’re saying. “Wait a second, John, aren’t you the one that’s always championing the fan cause? Aren’t you the one who’s always telling us to show up to games and support our teams?”

That’s all true. I am as crazy about fandom as I am about this season of “Dancing with the Stars.” (Btdubs, have you seen this season of “Dancing with the Stars?” Erin Andrews, Pamela Anderson, and a trim and fit Kate Gosselin of “Jon & Kate Plus Eight” infamy are all participating “Stars.”)

However, I’m also a firm believer in a team earning the fan’s loyalty and respect. After undergoing knee surgery to fix my ACL over spring break, I was essentially tied to my bed and TV, watching endless hours of poopy movies and sports. You know what team earned my respect? That’s right — Cornell.

For those of you trapped under your Cold War library of books, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is on. Now, our great and storied Ivy League may have many things, but success in March Madness has never been one of them.

Until now.

As the first Ivy League team to advance to the Sweet Sixteen since Penn in 1979, Cornell has displayed a passion, heart and determination that’s got the entire country talking about the Big Red. Their guys genuinely like each other: Apparently they live in a big 14-bedroom house together off-campus, and they have been kicking butt in historical ways for the past week. As an Ivy Leaguer, not only did Cornell’s on-the-court success give me more street cred than T.I.’s jail time, but it also gave me a swelling of pride that Stalin would’ve been proud of. Plus, they’ve got a guy on their team that can speak five languages and do a Rubix cube in under two minutes! What’s not to like? I unabashedly rooted for Cornell over the weekend as the Big Red advanced to the Sweet 16, and posted status updates adoring them like a 12-year old girl for Zac Effron. Cornell was my team. (No offense Yale basketball.)

And that got me thinking. At what point is it OK for a fan to turn tail and/or root for a new team? If you’ve been contemplating that question too, then your friendly neighborhood John Song has the answer for you. For the first time in News’ history, I will be providing you with the Sports Fan’s Almanac (SFA). For as long as I write this column, I will continually add and/or amend the Almanac as I see fit. Today, the section that we will be exploring from the SFA will be the section detailing Fan Desertion and Fan Polygamy.

Fan Desertion (n.): The acquittal of a fan from a team for which he or she was rooting.

There are some simple rules concerning fan desertion:

1) In order even to contemplate fan desertion, your team must be so sorry that it consistently displays little to no effort, causes you mental and physical pain, and makes you cry on occasion to a level similar to the first time you viewed “The Notebook” or the “You Belong With Me” video by Taylor Swift.

2) You had to have been a suffering fan of that team for X amount of the length of time you had been interested in that sport.

For example, if I’m a Patriots fan who only came into being in the Tom Brady era and I’m pooped that the 18–1 season was followed up by a heaping platter of pupu, then that is not legitimate cause for desertion. Stop whining, you goober.

3) You are not allowed to return to that team for two years and are also not allowed to jump on the bandwagon should that team catch fire immediately or within two years of your acquittal. Otherwise, you’d just be a bad quitter.

Now, our second SFA topic.

Fan Polygamy (n.): Rooting for or having an active interest in more than one team in a sport in which you currently rabidly root for one team.

Rules for Fan Polygamy eligibility:

1) Your team must be undergoing a breakdown of comparable mass to qualify for potential fan desertion.

In other words, if you were the previously mentioned gooberific Patriots fan, you’re not allowed to suddenly switch over to the Jacksonville Jaguars just because God’s Other Son AKA Tim Tebow is going to be drafted. Get in line with us long-suffering Jaguars fans first.

2) The team to which you are now attracted exhibits at least two-thirds the number of qualities you found lacking in your other team.

For the purposes of this example, let’s assume that NCAA basketball and the NBA are essentially the same. My (former) Toronto Raptors failed to display any semblance of heart, effort or teamwork, all leading to a horrible season that makes me feel bad about myself and destroys my confidence with the ladies. Cornell, on the other hand, exhibits heart, effort and teamwork, in addition to winning in a historic fashion that makes me feel great about myself. Even though my confidence with the ladies is still shot, Cornell has corrected four of my five gripes with the Toronto Raptors. I can polygamy away!

And that’s pretty much it for this edition of the Sports Fan’s Almanac. Being a fan is hard work, and a team should deserve you. It’s just like dating — you’ve just gotta find the right fit. Don’t be afraid to sever ties, and certainly don’t be afraid to explore your other options. Happy fanning!

Wait … did you just take the equivalent of dating advice from me, someone that’s as experienced with the ladies as Cookie Monster is with the concept of a diet? You might want to rethink your strategy …

John Song is a junior in Berkeley College.

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