I do not profess to be the greatest BU hockey fan. In fact, I still don’t understand all the basic rules of the sport of hockey. I don’t know exactly when it’s icing and when it isn’t. I’m more of a football, basketball and baseball guy. But I still love watching BU win; it’s in our blood.
I think back to a men’s hockey game my freshman year. It was one of my first BU-BC games, and safe to say I was pretty stoked. After a hard-fought win over the rival Eagles, I was ready to celebrate.
I remember seeing a guy walking out of the arena in an Eagles jersey, obviously looking depressed. I wanted to make a celebratory scene with my friends, showing him that I was a BU fan and therefore proving my supremacy over him. But then I stopped and thought. Why should I have bragging rights over this BC fan? Sure my team had beaten his, but is that enough?
I couldn’t tell you every player on the BU roster. I couldn’t even tell you the positions that most of them play. Maybe this guy had been a die-hard BC fan his whole life. Maybe he could name the entire BC starting lineup from 1995. Heck, is it even called a lineup in hockey? I’m not sure. So why should I have the rights to make this BC fan feel bad when he could be a much more dedicated fan than me?
This same issue came about this time last year. I do claim to be the greatest New England Patriots fan that I know. I honestly do not think that anyone else feels the joy of victory or the pain of defeat more than I do when it comes to the Patriots. My life will not be complete until I witness Tom Brady get his fourth Super Bowl title and stake his claim as the undisputed greatest quarterback of all time. So safe to say, I was pretty distraught after the Patriots lost the big game to the New York Giants for the second time in five years. Unfortunately, I know a number of Giants fans here at BU. After the game, I went back in to my room to immerse myself into the world of Skyrim in an effort to forget the real world. I was unbearably upset.
But that’s when a girl who I had known to be a Giants fan came into my room to brag. But I think even she realized her mistake right away. I just tried to avoid her, but she could tell my depression was more than she could understand. She couldn’t comprehend how upset I could get from a sporting event. She just didn’t get it.
That’s because we were on different levels of fandom. She couldn’t name a single person on the Giants defense. I could name you the backup offensive linemen from 2003. Even though her team had won, she didn’t have bragging rights over me. There are rules to being a sports fan. You only have bragging rights if (a) your team wins, and (b) you are a better fan than the other person.
I don’t deserve bragging rights over the BC fan because I am a fair-weather BU hockey fan. But I also don’t deserve to be made fun of by a Giants fan who can’t name another player outside of Eli Manning.
Everyone needs to adhere to these rules. Sure, you are allowed to be excited when your team wins, no matter what. Teams wouldn’t survive without all types of fans; from die-hard fanatics to fair-weather followers.
I am allowed to be excited when any BU team wins, even if I can’t name a single player on the team. But I do not have bragging rights over the hard-core fans of the losing team. That’s just how it works. The truly serious fans have earned that right.