Do you have a team, someone that the Astros play every year, that beating them becomes bigger than the season itself? For instance, if Houston were only going to win 56 games this season, but 12 of them came against the Cubs, would that mitigate the disaster that happened in the other 150 games?
I ask because I'm sort of that way. I care more about the Astros taking two out of three from Chicago last weekend than I did about the Washington Nationals series last week. Both were big wins, and the Nationals series was even over four games, meaning the Astros won more. I still liked the Cubs series more, because I dislike Chicago much more than the Nationals. I can see the Astros losing to the Padres and get depressed, but losing to the Cardinals? I may throw up a bit in my mouth. (For the record, the teams reaching this status for me are, in no particular order: Cubs, Cardinals, Reds, Braves, Steelers, Colts, Titans, Jazz, Lakers, Texas, Texas Tech)
I touched on this a little in my game recap on Sunday. My dad and I seem to have opposite views of fandom. I don't like the Cubs; he thinks they're too pathetic to root against, since they never win anything. I still don't like the Cubs; he rooted for them in the 2003 NLCS. I delight in Mack Brown's Texas team getting trounced in the national championship; he...well, he doesn't like the Longhorns either, so he too was pretty happy.
My point is that some fans will root for teams they hate, just because they came from the same conference or division. My dad's logic is that it's better for the Astros if the Brewers win the World Series, since the Astros had to play them and the division looks that much tougher. I feel differently. No matter when a team is playing, if I dislike them, I don't root for them, even if it's the playoffs. When Steven Bartman ruined the righteous Cubs' chances of making the Fall Classic, I was thrilled, not because I was a Marlins fan, but because I dislike Chicago.
The thing is, I know I'm in the minority. The fact that I won't root for a team ever, no matter who they're playing, is probably a little strange. I realize this and am okay with it. After all, I'm the same guy who once saw a girl on campus wearing a Cardinals T-shirt and immediately thought, "Wow, I can't be friends with you. Ever." I had no idea who the girl was. Still wrote her off immediately because of her team allegiance.
It doesn't stop there. When fans suddenly adopt a new team willy-nilly, I get annoyed. One of my good friends is a huge Indians fan. He grew up around Cleveland, is a Browns fan too, even after moving to Texas. I respect that. We sometimes talk about the Indians and how bad they are, comparing them to the sad-sack Astros. But, then one day, he up and moved to Chicago, a couple of blocks from Wrigley Field. All of a sudden, he's a Cubs fan. Wearing a Cubs hat. Going to Cubs games all the time and almost completely ignoring Cleveland. It was sports bigamy at its worst. Did I visit him in Chicago and go to a Cubs game? Yes, yes I did. I also proudly wore my Astros gear to the game and didn't step down from the taunts. If I had to move to Chicago, I know I'd still be an Astros fan. Why can't everyone be like that?
But, that's not how some fans are wired. Sometimes fans get worn down so much by losing, it's enough to have a rowdy, drunk bleacher section to entertain you, if the play on the field won't. Maybe you just grow up in a city without a team and need to latch on somewhere later on in life. My wife is from Omaha, with only a Triple-A baseball team and some college sports to its credit. The year before I started dating her, she went to her first professional football game. Unfortunately for me, it was the New Orleans Saints. Now, she's the world's biggest Saints fan and has been for the past four years. If I had only gotten her sooner, she could be a Texans fan like me and not have to live with those crushing "Super Bowl repeat" expectations. At least I got her on the Astros and Rockets. Plus, we can both agree that the Cowboys suck.
So, my question to you is this: What kind of fan are you? Are there teams out there that you can't stand losing to? Do you have a favorite memory of a big win over a particularly disliked team? How did you become an Astros/ Houston sports fan?