Over the years, I have tried off and on to be a sports fan. In the 1980s, I got interested in the Chicago Cubs, when I was dating a woman from Chicago. In the 1990s it was the Atlanta Braves, since they were on TBS most days all summer long. In 1998, I followed the home run race, partly because Harry “The Cat” Brecheen lived in Ada and we did a couple of stories about his role in Major League Baseball.
In my locale here in Oklahoma, the archetypical sports fan likes the Oklahoma Sooners, the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys, the East Central University Tigers, and the Ada Cougars. I personally feel that the bigger and more professional the sport, and the more money involved, the less it genuinely represents us. When the Konawa Lady Tigers softball team wins a state championship, for example, the athletes are the children and friends of their fans. When the Pittsburg Steelers win a Super Bowl, the athletes are just hired guns who are just as likely to be playing for their opponent the next season for enough money.
That said, I have been swept up in a few professional teams in recent years. I got interested in the Texas Rangers last year. I remember last October when Abby and I were driving home from our Las Vegas trip, game 6 of the World Series was on in the hotel lobby in Flagstaff. Every time I passed through the lobby to get something else out of the truck, the lead had changed hands. Abby and I put the game on in our room and watched the 11-inning fracas that saw the Rangers blow one lead after another. The next night they lost in game seven.
The most satisfying teams to watch for me are the Ada Cougars. Since I’ve worked in Ada, they have bagged five state football championships, three girls basketball championships, two baseball championships, and a girls tennis championship.
Last night Abby and I put on the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. Abby’s daughter Chele and her husband Tom live in Baltimore. Tom has Orioles luggage, and I have yet to see him wear anything on his head but an Orioles cap. So at the moment, we are trying to be Orioles fans. But any team is a fickle mistress, and can break your heart if you let it.