Posted on: September 2, 2008 8:21 pm

A fan without a hometown

My favorite professional sports teams are the Oakland Raiders, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago White Sox, and the Dallas Stars. For collegiate sports, my favorite teams are from the University of North Texas (I am an alumni) and the University of Tennessee (grew up cheering for the Vols). I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and have lived in Virginia, California, and Texas. My teenage years were shaped by constant relocation and sports became a haven of distraction for me, as it was difficult to make friends changing states and schools so often. My first "hero - athlete" was Bo Jackson. That explains my loyalties to the Raiders and White Sox.

I wasn't much of an NBA fan as a young teen, but it eventually grew on me. I remember watching the NBA Finals with my grandmother back when the Bulls were running with Jordan. I enjoyed watching him, and I also enjoyed Charles Barkley and the Suns - I remember when, at a Spurs game in San Antonio, I was disappointed when Joe Klein didn't give me a "high 5" as he ran past me towards the locker room at half-time. After Barkley's retirement and the Klein incident, I evolved into a Spurs fan. That city really knows how to support their basketball team, even before all the championships.

I am admittedly not much of a hockey fan, but I'm now living in the Dallas area and have attended a few Stars games. I've grown into at least a half-fan (cheering for them but really not following them all that closely). I attend UNT football games as often as possible and WISH they had a baseball program.

I am often jealous of people lucky enough to grow up in a single area, running into people they know at grocery stores and having many lifelong friendships. I was never in the same place long enough to develop those, and growing up just before the Internet revolution, the phone and snail-mail were the only ways to keep in touch. I wasn't about to sit around chatting on the phone with long-distance friends, that just wouldn't be masculine. I'm also jealous because I didn't get to grow up as a fan cheering for a hometown team, and I can tell that other fans view me differently since I've got alligiences to multiple cities (i.e., I'm an Oakland Raiders fan, shouldn't I also be an Oakland Athletics fan instead of Chicago White Sox?).

Am I less devoted to my teams, am I not a "true" fan? I don't think so. Even standing up and saying I'm a Raiders fan these days is enough of a test of loyalty. We have been a "Shell" of a team for quite awhile, and I've been here, watching every game and cheering at the local Hooters, proudly wearing Raiders Jerseys and caps. This is in Cowboy country, and those guys love to tease Raiders fans - especially when our team is playing poorly. They'll even team up with fans of other teams, even fans of their divisional rivals, just to pick on a Raiders fan... and I still can't wait for gameday.
Category: General
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com