Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Attack of the "We" People: What Did McKelvin's Lawn Do To You?

I created a post a few months back and sent it to Bleacher Report, and it got very little attention either place. With the vandalism of Buffalo Bills CB Leodis McKelvin's lawn after his game-changing fumble Monday night, I need to revisit it.

I refer to people who identify a little too closely with their favorite teams as "we" people, after their annoying habit of lumping themselves in with the players as part of the organization. My personal philosophy states that if you use the terms "we," "us," or "our" when discussing your team, you need to be able to provide some video evidence that you were, in fact, on the field at some time. (As an active participant, not a streaker, you degenerates.)

Otherwise, you're discounting your own opinion as hopelessly biased and made discussing sports with you completely worthless, since you've now made it personal. I am now afraid to tell you that your team sucks, for fear that you will turn and crack me in the teeth...or worse.

I have very little doubt that the people who painted the game's final score on McKelvin's lawn, along with what has been nebulously referred to as an "obscenity," are the kind of people who take that kind of pathological interest in the results of the Bills' games. Living and dying with your team's wins and losses is much like fat, drunk, and stupid. Neither is much of a way to go through life, son.

And I use the term "living and dying" for a very good reason. I produced another piece a few weeks ago, attempting to illustrate why NFL players were in no hurry to challenge ye olde Seconde Amendmente. As far as these guys are concerned, they now need to be packing at all times. If people are going to start taking it to the next level and bringing it onto their front lawns while they're on road trips, the players might just start having their wives packing, to boot.

Some have said that Kawika Mitchell exacerbated the problem when he Tweeted this...

"Its def not a game to b playin. W/ all the safety issues n the NFL its not funny at all. We have Fam at our homes to protect. If u show ur face on my prop Ill make sure I do everythin to keep my Fam safe."

...and this...

"So dont come around thinkin, oh we'll just leave a message on his lawn or wall, b/c Im goin to take it as a threat. Its my job to protect my home as it is the job of all home owners."

But I don't view this as a threat so much as a reminder that paying your ticket price does not entitle you to complete dominion over these players and the rest of the team's employees.

You want to show up to the stadium and boo McKelvin for putting the ball on the turf and costing "us" the game? Fine. Your ticket gives you that right.

You want to make a phone call the next morning and get bent with your local sports jock about how "we" had the Patriots on the ropes? No problem. The amendment right before #2 above grants you that privilege.

Showing up on another person's property, however? That will get you shot, and justifiably so.

Visions of Sean Taylor still dance in players' heads, and any unknown person on their property in the dead of night will be assumed to have bad intentions. The next step past vandalizing the lawn may be executing a player's (or coach's) dog.

I shouldn't have to outline what would come after that.

I understand the frustration of watching a difficult loss. After all, I stayed up a little later than I should have just to watch the Bears forget how to cover Greg Jennings, then see Jay Cutler toss pick #4. The fan now has to take out mortgages at 18% to be able to afford a family trip to a game. Sometimes, it's difficult to justify this loyalty, especially when the only reward teams offer in return is a ticket price increase (or a lawsuit, in the extreme cases).

Note that "game" is bolded above. When the columns are totaled, a game is what we're talking about. Your team lost. Everyone's team loses at some point. But it takes a special breed of jackhole to decide that he's going to say it with Krylon all over a player's lawn.

These are the people who make it personal. These are the people who make me sad to be a sports fan. And I'll bet every damn one that overreacts this way refers to his team as "we."

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