Red With Envy

By: Adam #2

I am a living contradiction. I always roll my eyes at middle aged guys that obsess over their favorite sports teams and wear jerseys of someone younger than them. Why do we care so much? It makes no difference in our lives whether our team wins or loses. If you think about it, pro sports Is pointless. Yet I love it!

I was born and raised in the city of Pittsburgh. A town that bleeds black and gold and dies with their sports teams—especially the Steelers. I love the Steelers. I love football. But, sadly, my favorite team is much smaller in stature around here. You, the reader, probably won’t even be able to name one player on this sad team. My team, the team I live and die with, is the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I am 35 years old and the Pirates have been pathetic for 29 of those years. Why do I love them so much? That’s a story for another time. This is about how pathetic fandom can be.

In the fall of 2013, the Pirates were finally on their way to the playoffs. It was the first time since I was 8 years old back in 1992. My wife and I were going to a game on a Saturday at the end of September with her father. We decided to get their early and have dinner. The Pirates were playing the Reds that night, a heated rival who they would later meet in the playoffs. As my wife and I were walking across the Clemente Bridge to meet up with her father, I had a no nonsense look on my face that would have made you think I was the one playing in the game. She kept rolling her eyes at me. I can’t blame her. I often do the same thing when I see die-hard fans of other teams. Yes, I see the irony in this…

As we were walking across the bridge, a family wearing Reds jerseys walked by us. My blood began to boil….I saw the father say something to his son as they were looking at me. The son started walking towards me. Is this poor, uniformed child about to come at me? I immediately began to get nervous. How was I going to handle it if this kid started talking smack? The boy was wearing a Brandon Phillips jersey, a known Pirate enemy.  The child walked right in front of me, pointed at my jersey and said “Pirates suck! Reds Rule!” He then turned around and pointed at the name “Phillips” on the back of his jersey.

I had two options at this point:

  • I could punt the kid off the bridge. Quickly I looked at the pros and cons of this. Pro: the kid gets what’s coming. Con: probably going to jail. And, yes, I probably shouldn’t hurt an 8 year old. My mind quickly raced. What could I do? I couldn’t hurt him.
  • I couldn’t get into a verbal argument with this kid. I mean, he still believes in Santa. Wait! That’s it. I bent down on one knee and pointed at the kid’s parents. I told him that his parents were liars and there was no such thing as Santa Clause.

The look on his face was priceless as he learned who was boss. But, I was scared his dad was going to beat the crap out of me. So, I stood up, told my wife to run, and we sprinted the rest of the way across the bridge.

Looking back on it, I would like to say that I feel bad. But, like I said in the beginning, nothing is more important in life than rooting for and defending our favorite team that is paid to play a kid’s game.

Let’s go Bucs!!!!!

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