Another reason I love DC is because it is a city where it is acceptable to root for the local sports teams AND your hometown team. DC is a unique city with a large population of transplants. But, when we move to DC, we don’t surrender our childhood fanaticism for our team. We hold onto our teams in most cases, and in many cases, find that it is acceptable to root for a DC team as well.
Of course, there are rules and exceptions to the sports bigamy concept. For the authority on the matter, I refer you to one of my favorite writers and a fellow Boston sports fan, Bill Simmons. http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/020227
The point of this post is to highlight when it is acceptable to root for your hometown team as well as DC’s. It is always acceptable for non-sports fans to move here and get caught up in the excitement and become a Washington sports fan. But, if you are previously attached to a team, follow these simple rules in order to avoid appearing as a bandwagon jumper.
Rule # 1: Never root for a hated rival, ever!
It is never acceptable to change allegiances if Washington is your archrival. Giants, Eagles, and especially Cowboy fans cannot root for the Redskins. That would be just as despicable as a Yankees fan cheering on the Red Sox or an Ohio State fan pulling for Michigan. Some things in life need to remain sacred.
Rule # 2: You may not root for a DC team against your home team.
This is almost as important as Rule Number One. If your home team is in the American League, you may root for the Nationals except if they play in Interleague or the World Series. The same rule applies if your team is in the AFC and playing the NFC Redskins. This rule works especially if your home team is not in the same league or division as a DC team. As a Red Sox fan, I can find common ground with a Yankees fan and enjoy the Nationals’ recent success together – a nice byproduct of this rule. A Patriots fan like myself would like to root for the Redskins, but Daniel Snyder makes it so difficult to like his team.
Rule # 3: Your team sucks this season or has forever.
Buffalo Bill fans will be forgiven if they hop on the RGIII bandwagon. The same goes for Cleveland fans of any sport. But, I do respect them for they will stick with their teams no matter what. In the case of your team sucking, you can still root for the DC team so long as you do not root against your team if they play DC (see Rule #2)
Rule # 4: Your team no longer plays in your hometown.
Seattle Supersonics fans are free agents. They can choose to root for the Wizards upon arrival in DC. They’ll tell you how awful it was to lose their team, so listen to them in agony and welcome them with open arms. The same goes for Caps fans welcoming Atlanta Thrasher fans – it is an act of charity and you will be rewarded in the next life.
Rule # 5: You come from a town with no competing sports team.
People from Alabama or Arkansas who come to DC may not be attached to a particular hockey team. It is perfectly acceptable for them to get wrapped up in the hype of the Capitals.
Rule # 6: Your hometown did not have a team when you moved to DC.
This is my personal exception when it comes to rooting for teams from Boston or New England. In all cases, I will root for my Boston teams over any DC team (Red Sox over Nats; Pats over Skins; Bruins over Caps; and Celtics over Wizards) EXCEPT I will root for DC United over the New England Revolution. Simply, I lived in DC before the MLS existed and did my internship and worked for DC United. When they won the MLS Cup in 1999, I was on the field celebrating in Foxborough when they beat the Galaxy.
Rule # 7: You started rooting for a DC team in spite of another team.
My cousins from Connecticut were all big Giants fans. I have always hated the Giants and all teams from New York. During the 80’s, I started rooting for the Redskins to beat the Giants. That’s where my connection to rooting for the Redskins started. In theory, I want to root for the Redskins with more passion, but they keep making ill-advised and self-inflicted wounds.
Rule # 8: You start dating a diehard sports fan.
In love and relationships, so much matters. This should be a discussion between the couple. In no cases can you change allegiance (Cubs fans may not convert to White Sox for the sake of a relationship), but most others can be explained.
Rule # 9: The DC Team goes on a playoff run.
Everyone is allowed to enjoy and get caught up in a good playoff run. DC hasn’t celebrated a championship in a long time, but the next time a local team makes a run, feel free to get caught up in the excitement.
Rule # 10: Remember, in the end it’s just a game.
Like life, try not to take it too seriously. People might mistake you for a Yankees or Steelers fan. But, hey, some of my best friends are Yankee fans…