The sad tale of a transplanted sports fan

By Daorcey Le Bray

Just before I left the golden fields of Stony Plain to come down south and live the wild life in the big city of Calgary, my friend grabbed my shoulder and delivered his ultimatum:

"You’d better not go down there and start cheering for Cowtown, or I’ll…" His face turned purple and that vein throbbed in his temple; I worried my friend might have an aneurism.

Finally, I had to face the fact that I would not be an "Edmonton and Area" citizen any longer. It would no longer be socially acceptable to talk of Calgarians as strange "redneck" beings who can’t play hockey and just recently (although we always knew they would) folded on the Labour Day Classic. I wonder what Calgarians think of us up North.

What should I do? Should I act as an "Edmonton and Area" citizen transplanted into this city with somewhat better weather? Should I continue to cheer for the Bears, Pandas, Oilers, Drillers, Trappers and Eskimos while enduring the slings and arrows resident sports fans have to offer? Or should I strap myself down and force strained grunts and hollers out of my throat while watching the home team, red and white?

Neither seems too appealing.

The problem, when it comes to local sports, is that you must choose sides. And it doesn’t really matter which side you take–people will end up loving you for your decision. Either they’ll hate you for cheering for the visitors, or they’ll just love you as one of their own if you wave the home team’s banner. Sitting on the fence on the other hand can put you in a bit of a pinch.

If you don’t take a side, you end up becoming an elusive "watcher" to the other fans’ eyes. They may fear you for your intangibility, or worse yet they will dismiss you; they will make you disappear. And if you disappear, what good are you? You might as well go watch clips of the game on the tube. You will essentially become worthless as a sports fan. An overlooked silence. An "anti-fan," heaven forbid!

You don’t want to loose your raison d’etre as a sports fan, do you? No, me neither.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ve found a way to legitimize and save my life as a screaming useful face in the crowd. I will not let my traditionalist-based allegiances to Edmonton teams dominate my fan personality. Instead, I will unhealthily bury those emotions deep within me in an effort not to alienate myself from my peers, thus eliminating a downward spiral of abuse before it begins. Once I successfully begin living this facade, I will joyfully cheer "rah, rah!" for whoever the home team happens to be while knowing full well that, on the inside, I am enjoying the guilty pleasures of silently cheering for my old home town.

Or, maybe not.

On second thought, that seems unnaturally complex. Abuse doesn’t look that bad. Neither does honestly watching a Dinos game, for that matter.

The woe of the transplanted sports fan.


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