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Shufflin' on Through to Ecstasy -- What LA's Missing

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I’ve loved sports since I was 11 years old. No one else in my family was interested in sports, but I independently developed an obsessive love for the Chicago Bulls, who promptly won six championships in the next eight seasons, enough to cement a life-long affair.

I grew to love all Chicago teams and then, when I started college at Michigan, found a school just as much in love with its football, hockey and basketball teams as I was in love with mine – what a marriage! I eagerly adopted their teams as my own.

As an otherwise reasonable – at least in my own judgment – human being, I have often tried to examine my love of sports and find a reason for its hold on me, or at least a rationalization for my emotional involvement.

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My dad, who has no interest at all in sports, has always mocked my addiction, mimicking my excitement at the victory of the “guys in the red shirts over the guys in the blue shirts.” But, Dad, I’d insist, I care about the guys in the red shirts. I know them. Until, of course, one of the guys in the red shirt changes teams and puts on a blue shirt. Then screw him.

Anyway, I must acknowledge that my dad makes a good point: there is often little or no rationale for the love of a particular team. I accept that this is true, but it may be one of the most endearing things about sports. Much like love for a child, a family member or even a significant other, we love without question, wholly accepting the object of our affection for all they are (and especially in the case of sports, who they were and who they become). We hate their enemies with the same blind rage (I still say Patrick Ewing is a cow and Anthony Mason is a thug... don’t get me started on The Ohio State You-know-what).

This kind of mindless devotion would be dangerous were it applied to patriotism, but it is mostly benign when enacted in the world of sports.