4.20.2007

Green and Gold

It is my hope this season that I will be able to see my beloved Oakland A's in both Baltimore and New York.  Three years ago, they played in Philadelphia and I was there, and you best believe that three years from now when they return, I'll be there too.

As Jerry Seinfeld once noted, in the era of free agency, with players changing teams so frequently, we're really just rooting for uniforms, since that's all that's constant about our team from year to year.  Is that really all fandom is?

Some would say a team represents values we hold dear; think of blue collar fans in blue collar cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.  It's true that I happen to love this manifestation of the A's, because they've used their brains to figure out a system that's kept them competitive despite a meager payroll.  But I was equally devoted to them in the late 80's and early 90's, when they spent lavishly and definitely didn't fit the "beloved underdog" label.  So that can't be it.

I think it's about being true to something for the totality of your life.  Rooting for the Green and Gold brings me back to my childhood, when I would freeze in place if something good happened, certain that if I moved I would be to blame for my team starting to fall apart.  And I'd like to think I'll retire to some elderly community in a mixed-use development near wherever the A's play, so I can spend my retired years as a groundskeeper and watch all the games for free.

That sort of loyalty may seem out of place in our ADHD age.  But I think we all yearn to experience and exhibit that sort of loyalty.  It may seem hopelessly old-fashioned to be true to one spouse, one job, one neighborhood, or one God in this day and age, just like rooting for a team through thick and thin seems to have given way to jumping on the bandwagon and playing fantasy sports. 

And yet I do believe it's how we were made to be.  I may not have the same job or live in the same house all my life, but neither will I be flitting around for something new the minute it starts to feel old.  I know I'm in it for the long haul with my wife and my God, and more so I am relieved that they are just as committed to me.  And so it is with the Green and Gold.
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