Now that I am thinking about it I have a pretty varied range of interests. Some of the things I love to do include read, hike, camp, needlework, bowl, bake and watch sports.
Over the years the sports and teams I follow have changed. In high school I was a huge Baltimore Oriole fan. When I was stationed at Offutt AFB, Ne in the mid- 80’s I followed the Washington Redskins. For awhile I watched NASCAR, rooting for Joe Gibbs racing. I have a tendency to pick my teams sometimes by geography but mostly by good role models. I like athletes who are making millions of dollars to exhibit a good work ethic, a sense of responsibility to the community and excellent sportsmanship. Cal Ripken Jr. was all about the work ethic, Jack Kent Cooke was an excellent owner and Joe Gibbs (a coach for the Redskins before retiring to run his NASCAR team) is hardworking and open about his christian faith.
These days I am a football and basketball fan. We have season tickets to University of Arizona Wildcat football games this year. It is only six games so not too big a commitment. It is more of a geographic choice but I do like the atmosphere at college games.
For my pro teams it has been hard to find good role models lately. Nothing worse that a team that has players who should be in jail (or have been in jail) for assault in any form, drugs, drunk driving etc. For now I follow the Denver Broncos because I am a Peyton Manning fan. In my opinion Peyton Manning is one of the best role models in football these days. It is amazing what a person who has raw talent and an astounding work ethic can accomplish in one short athletic career. Not to mention what a giving, unselfish person he is. His parents got everything right with him!
(As an aside I am happy so many Denver fans were as upset as I was about Aqib Talib’s horrible behavior. I agree with the one game suspension and wish the Bronco’s would throw in some postseason community service as well.)
And then we get to basketball. For many years I was a Phoenix Suns fan because of Steve Nash. When we moved to Tucson I was excited to be able to go to a few games a season and watch all the rest on television. For a few years I was a happy camper. And when Nash retired I had no problem moving my allegiance to Goran Dragic, another excellent example of unselfish sportsmanship, hard work and community spirit. His community spirit exists for both his native Slovenia and his adopted U.S. home. When the Sun’s front office made some really boneheaded moves I was quite disgusted, not the least impressed with Bledsoe and totally on Dragic’s side when he decided to jump ship. So now I am a Miami Heat fan. I have asked Santa for tickets to the Heat vs Suns game in Phoenix in January.
It is not always easy to be a sports fan these days. Favorite players change teams, teams move, teams go through “rebuilding” phases (ie. many losses in a season) and sometimes teams play really well and everyone jumps on their bandwagon. We true fans hang in there and enjoy what we can.
I hope the players remember that the fans are the reasons they get to be paid for doing something they hopefully love. I hope the players think about all those kids looking up to them before they go and do something stupid. I hope the players remember to be grateful for being able to employ their wonderful gifts. I hope the Bronco’s win the Superbowl and the Heat win the NBA championship. And I really hope Santa brings me those basketball tickets!