When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year, I expressed delight at that rare treat – a successful Chicago sports franchise. My son promptly labeled me a “fair weather fan.” It’s true that I spend no time watching hockey and only notice the Hawks if they make the front page of the Chicago Tribune.
Still, as a Chicagoan I feel a sense of pride when one of our home teams does well. When the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, I cheered for them despite being born and raised a Cubs fan.
I understand the backlash when a team does well and suddenly everyone in town is on the bandwagon. Loyal fans rightly fume when a team’s new-found popularity makes game tickets pricey and hard to come by. And I get it when diehard fans who have sported their team colors for years resent the sudden proliferation of hats, t-shirts and jerseys on these fair weather fans. Where were you when the chips were down? they might rightly ask.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not that much of a sports fan in the first place that makes me laissez faire about the issue. Still, I don’t see anything wrong with applauding successes when they hit close to home.
This weekend I will be attending a basketball matchup between my husband’s beloved Michigan State Spartans and my alma mater, the University of Illinois. The weather has been anything but fair for my team, which is currently tied for last place in the Big Ten. Yet there I’ll be, sporting my orange and blue and cheering on the Fighting Illini, win or lose. Maybe I’m not such a fair weather fan after all.