Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Grizzlies Don't have a Chance, and Neither does Anybody Else

I'm a big sports fan. I love the action and drama in any big game, even if it's a sport with relatively little action, like soccer. I love watching the passion of fans, even though they (okay, we) look like idiots when they (fine, we) jump up and down, losing their (ugh, our) minds when people they (whatever) don't even know that are often just kids, do something better than their opponents. It seems silly and irrelevant, but like it or not, it's a huge part of our culture. If you don't believe me, ask Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds.

I love how sports teaches people to finish a task, to give their best efforts, and to be competitive in everything they do. But what just doesn't make sense to me is how fans seem to take credit for what their team does.

I've been guilty of this plenty of times, talking smack to opposing fans while I sit on my couch eating chilli dogs. If you don't know what I'm talking about, find any chat site for any sports team at any level and either feel ashamed or feel pretty good about yourself. You'll know which category you belong in.

I'm an alumnus of Montana State University. Here in Montana, the rivalry between the Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State Bobcats is as big as any rivalry I have ever seen, and I've spent a considerable amount of my life living in both SEC country and Pac-10 country. It doesn't mean a thing to anybody outside of Montana, but for our little state, it means the world. And even though the schools compete in many different sports, the one that really matters is football.

For the last 20 or 25 years, Montana has dominated Montana State in football, and therefore in statewide bragging rights. I'm hoping the tide is turning, but only time will tell. Montana fans have plenty of reasons to boast to us Bobcat fans, but there's one that makes me laugh every time.

Every once in a while, some genius Grizzly fan points out that an actual Bobcat is no match for an actual Grizzly. Yeah, like in a fight in the wilderness. That should sound ridiculous to you. Admit it, Grizzly fans, you've heard this one and either participated or turned a deaf ear. No wonder the smarter kids go to Montana State.

If that was the only criteria for a team's dominance, why would anybody have ever picked a Bobcat as a mascot? Are Montanans that dumb? I doubt it. So why don't teams always just pick the most dominant mascot every time?

You know what's killed more people than Grizzly bears? AIDS, that's what. So why hasn't somebody named their team something like the Atlanta AIDS Virus? Who would win between the Atlanta AIDS Virus and the Pittsburgh Bubonic Plague? Or how about a matchup between the New York Nuclear Weapons and the Colorado Cancer? Good luck in one of those games, Grizzlies.

Would minor league teams have to pick less-deadly monikers? So you'd have the Newark Napalm vs. the Memphis Meth or the Columbus Car Accidents facing off against the Huntsville Hunting Accidents? While still deadly, those can't really compete with many other human-race-threatening incidents.

And how bad would the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox be? The only team a sock could ever beat would be the Baltimore Blisters and the Fort Worth Foot Odor.

Come on, meatheads, let's put that argument to bed. If you have to take credit for something a bunch of sweaty guys you've never met did, make it about what they actually did, not what they're called.

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