I am a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina. I spent four and a half of the best years of my life there. For more than ten years I had season football tickets and attended games faithfully. Only after moving out-of-state and having a family did I trade my season tickets for a big-screen TV and Saturdays watching the Gamecocks from afar.
When people ask me what kind of team I think we’re going to have this season, I reply “I think we have a chance to be pretty good.”
Why do I say we?
- Because the USC took my money, and in return I received an education. I have a piece of paper that is proof of this exchange.
- Because week in and week out, through the good and the overabundance of bad, I watch and cheer and curse and throw furniture for my team.
You see, me and USC, we are “WE”.
So when the Gman, the almost silent but extremely important third member of TRC, brought up the topic this morning, it got us to thinking – what are the rules of “we”?
First of all, for you fans that believe you absolutely have to be a graduate of a school to say “we”, I disagree. I think intensity of fandom + loyalty + length of fandom can ultimately warrant a “we”.
Let’s review the situation that started the conversation – Gman met a guy from Indiana who claims to have “adopted” Alabama as “his team” and referred to them as “we” throughout the conversation. Is that we-worthy? Absolutely not, under any circumstances, including the equation listed above. You are never allowed to adopt a team outside of your state or a bordering state. Indiana to Alabama? Preposterous.
If you received your undergraduate from, oh, let’s say, Furman University, and your graduate degree from USC, you are we-worthy. You are also we-worthy to Furman because they are in a lower division, but I’m not sure why you would want to be.
If you received your undergraduate from, oh, let’s say Baylor University, and your graduate degree from South Carolina, you are only we-worthy to one, not both. Pick a side, mister.
If you have been an intense, loyal fan for fifteen years or more, you CAN be we-worthy, but these cases must be reviewed individually for we-worthiness. (Are you a season ticket holder? Do you have more than one golf shirt representing the university? Do you have a sticker on your car? And the list goes on.)
If you are a loyal fan under the age of 20 but are not attending a school, but have a parent that is a graduate, you are we-worthy.
If you are a loyal fan and are not attending the school, but have an uncle you admire and wish you could be like, you are we-worthy. (You are welcome, nephews.)
If you have a son or daughter attending the university, you are we-worthy, because more than likely you are making some sort of contribution the university.
If you are my wife and are only a casual fan, but you are a graduate, you are we-worthy. She is extra we-worthy because watching a game with me is like watching with a rabid chimpanzee that hasn’t been fed in a week and has the ability to hurt your feelings.
If you read obscure blogs about your team because you are so desperate for more, you are we-worthy. (If you manage or write for an obscure blog about your team, you deserve a round of golf with Steve Spurrier.)
Professional sports – you are never we-worthy, so don’t even think about it. You can be loyal, faithful, own the paraphernalia, be a season ticket holder, be neighbors with Prince Fielder, it don’t matter. I have been an Atlanta Braves fan for 35 years and have never once referred to them as “we”. It just ain’t right.
But with collegiate sports, there are gray areas, for certain. You must use your discretion to determine if Johnny Nextdoor is we-worthy, and opinions may differ occasionally.
There are also some exceptions for different universities.
Take Clemson Tiger University (CTU) for example. Rules for CTU fans are, like their subject, slightly different. You can be CTU we-worthy if:
- You own more than one tractor.
- You own or are married to a goat.
- You are on your fourth marriage, but only your third wife.
- You are constantly trying to convince your friends to listen to Jimmy Buffett’s “new stuff”.
- You have more felony arrests than teeth.
- You believe the 1981 “National Championship” is legitimate.
- Your family tree fails to branch.
- You have a tiger paw painted on the side of your meth lab.
- You had your wedding, reception and honeymoon at the Super 8 in Anderson.
The rules of “we” are a work in progress, but we at TRC are determined to be the we-police and exact justice for all true fans. Please help us stamp out we-posing everywhere.