So you need a new sports team, huh?
NO. No. Stop. I don't want to know. Everybody's got pain, man.
Being a sports fan means hurting inside at night because at a one point or another, someone failed to put the ball through the thing and the other team got to wear hats.
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Which is to say, fanship is an irrational thing from the jump. And your desire to see other franchises is a rational response to a very silly thing. So while it feels like sacrilege, you can do this. You are the liberated fan. You can change.
And the way you go about making this change and finding the group of athletic strangers that's right for you is sitting down and asking yourself the following questions. If you're honest with yourself, it'll quickly become clear who your true team is, and why you deserve each other.
What did your old team do to drive you away?
Were they not good at sports? Did they not make you, the fan, a priority? Did they hoard draft picks in the cellar and come home late at night reeking of spreadsheets and Shirley Temples?
Because whatever they did, it was enough to make you walk away. And identifying precisely what went wrong with your past team will help you avoid making the same mistakes again.
If you're here because your team spent $36 million on Sam Bradford, don't turn around and rush into the arms of another team that's overpaying a human drink coaster to run the offense. The Dolphins are not the answer.
What are you looking for in your new sports team?
Are you here for commitment? Play? A one-night exhibition game that doesn't mean anything and is purely physical because both of you are too busy for a season tickets right now?
If you find that you're leaning toward something long term, find a franchise with a tradition of excellence and leaders who'd rather split dinner with his team than dine one steak with the Son of God.
On the flip side, if you're looking for a fun, noncommital team, pick a group with energetic young talent and a head coach who'll be fired in two years. These guys have no idea what they're doing, but they're doing it as hard as possible, and it sure is fun to watch.
Pluse, you'll also get every postseason off to do laundry and podcasts. Which brings us to:
Do you need to root for a contender?
It's okay if you do, because this question really boils down to two more elemental human quandaries: Do you want to enjoy sports? Or do you want to flaunt self-righteous misery over the heads of others like a burden they could never possibly conceive?
Because that second type of fan is everywhere, and if you're here at this article, you're probably tired of the overwrought brand of pride fans stuck with unendingly crappy teams try to show off.
You're not trying to want to win a few games. It doesn't have to be all of them. Picking a new team doesn't mean picking the best team, and if you sign on for a promising franchise and it eventually becomes a powerhouse--huzzah! You can act like you were in on the ground floor.
Lastly, the most pressing question.
How old are you?
If you're young, you have time to figure this out and root for some useless dogs.
If you're declining fast into the sunset, however, you need to sign on with your sport's odds-on favorite STAT.
Because at this point, it's not bandwagoning. It's a going-away party.
Dan is on Twitter. He wishes his team was better at the winning and not being located in Florida parts.