Sports Fans, Please Stop Using The Word “We”
If you’re like me, you would assume that this is a quote from Buster Posey or one of his San Francisco Giants teammates. If you’re like me, you would also be disappointed every time it actually leaves the mouth of a fan.
If I have one pet peeve in life that has no impact on the real world, it is the use of the word “we” by fans. Living in L.A., it is something I hear all the time from the fans of any of the six major professional franchises in the city (male sports).
Call me cynical, but it makes no sense for a fan to refer to an organization as “we.” As a fan, you are not on the court, in the front office or even one of the young boys mopping sweat off the court after every free throw. You have no direct impact on the game, no matter how much you may enjoy telling yourself that by chanting “defense” you are intimidating a grown man making millions for ignoring you as you do just that. Too often you hear how “we are having a good stretch” or “we lost tonight; this sucks.” While I may agree that your favorite team losing does in fact suck, by no means does that justify claiming that you are a part of that team.
The argument I hear all the time about this is that as fans, you have put money into a franchise and invested yourself into that franchise so the use of “we” is justified. I readily admit that I am a fan of Apple products. I own an IPhone (thanks, mom!) and am currently typing this on a MacBook (before you feel the need to leave an anonymous “spoiled” comment, just know that I paid for that one myself). I have arguably put far too much money into Apple products, and have even gone so far as to have ridiculous debates with PC advocates. By all means, I have put as much money and time into Apple as most fans have into their teams (if you have a team logo tattooed on you, feel free to not include yourself in the “most” category).
Yet, I have never once looked at the share price of Apple and said the words, “gosh we had a great quarter.” You know why this is? Because I had no impact on that quarter! I don’t work for Apple or make any decisions for the company! Although, I would be willing to argue that my purchases had more impact than anything a fan can do.
The usual response is something like this: “but sports are entertainment, it’s entirely different than a product like the IPhone.” While I would love to channel my inner Bill Simmons and spend the next 10,000 words debunking that, let's keep it semi-brief. If you own a smart phone, my first question is this; did actual cell reception have anything to do with why you bought your phone? If yes, feel free to stop reading, because this no longer applies to you. If no, you clearly picked that phone for a different reason, such as how much entertainment it offers outside the convenience of phone calls?
If you still find yourself unconvinced, let me offer you this. I am a Tom Cruise fan (if you feel I just lost all credibility, I mostly understand). He gives me all the entertainment I look for when I go to the movies; let's even go so far as to say that I am incredibly disappointed when he releases a sub-par film. As a law-abiding citizen, I pay good money to go see Mr. Cruise’s movies. Having said all of this, I have never walked out of a theatre and said, “you know, we made a great movie there.” I paid my money to be entertained, had no discernable impact on how the movie itself was shot or produced, and therefore have no right to claim any stake in that film with the word “we.”
But Calum (if you’re still reading after finding out I like Tom Cruise, we’re on a first name basis), Calum, you say, part of being a fan is investing yourself in a team. It brings you community. That may be true, but I ask you this: what is the plus side of that? You are subjecting yourself to a franchise and being used by it (why do no Burger King fans say “we”?). You are spending more money and creating more stress in your life, all for something that will leave you disappointed 95 percent of the time.
There is no justifiable, logical reason to refer to a professional sports team as “we.” By using the word “we,” you are knowingly acting irrationally, and even promoting that behavior. For the sake of this country, I can only hope you didn’t wake up this morning wanting to be irrational; and if you did, you may want to email Mr. Cruise and let him know that the two of you made a great film in “Jack Reacher” (just make sure he knows it was “we” who acted those scenes).