I never really noticed the trend.
Random thoughts creep in and out of my head like a revolving door, and then – POOF! – there it was, proof that, indeed, there sometimes is a method to my madness: The teams I despise above all others share the same colors.
Blue and white. There’s just something about that color combination that really sticks in my craw.
I absolutely detest the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Toronto Maple Leafs (the fans more than the team itself) and Toronto Blue Jays. Always have. And to a lesser degree, the Glasgow Rangers Football Club (soccer), Duke (men’s basketball) and the Los Angeles Dodgers. But there are teams I don’t really mind, like North Carolina (any sport), the Indianapolis Colts, Orlando Magic (I don’t watch the NBA) and Kansas City Royals.
And yes, you Dallas fans, I know that one of your abomination of a team’s colors is silver. Newsflash: I don’t care.
What I find so ironic about this abhorrence for blue and white is that my beloved New York Giants also sport those colors. Maybe it’s the red and gray also in their scheme that enable me to tolerate the others. Red, white and blue make for a great combination (Go USA!). I can already hear my husband’s groans. He’s Canadian, so he gets a pass. And the gray is a mere afterthought with me.
The Wildcats top my aversion to blue and white, with the Yankees and Cowboys a close second. The Maple Leafs are just … special. And the Blue Jays we’ll get to in due time.
Having lived and worked in Kentucky for seven years, I dealt with overbearing UK fans on a daily basis and athletes, thankfully, more sparingly. Some of the fans are OK. Many others, you just want to muzzle because of their smarmy, cocky “better-than-thou” attitudes. It really puts you off. These people literally come out of the woodwork and never shut up because, you know, their basketball team is made up of gods who walk on water.
So it was with great glee that I watched unheralded Western Kentucky beat the fourth-ranked Wildcats 64-52 in Rupp Arena in 2001. I had never seen so many obnoxious UK fans stunned and subdued so quickly, and as one of the people in attendance, I reveled in it. Inwardly, of course. I had a story to write, after all, so I had to maintain my professionalism. On the inside, I was jumping up and down and screaming right alongside the Hilltoppers’ fans.
And the athletes?
Well, I had the misfortune of twice interviewing one of their 1998 national champion basketball players while they were traveling on a statewide meet-and-greet caravan that, in my opinion, extorted a ridiculous amount of money from their disgustingly adoring fans.
I won’t mention any names, but the player in question was supposed to be this big Christian type. Instead, he was a total zero with a crappy attitude and an exaggerated sense of self-entitlement. I didn’t care so much that he was pompous and snotty to me, but I wanted to smack him upside the head for the way he treated a little boy who had been waiting in line for hours to get his favorite player’s picture autographed ($20 a pop, if you must know). He blew the kid off like he was nothing. Nothing!
He blatantly ignored the boy and shooed him on because, after all, time was money. What I found so shocking was that the boy and his parents never once thought to call the player out on his high-handedness. They were too caught up being graced by his presence, I guess. It made me loathe UK even more, if that was possible.
I’ve always hated the Cowboys. America’s team, my ass! 1. Jerry Jones is a braying jackass. 2. I’m sick of hearing Troy Aikman talk about how great he thinks Tony Romo is, when, in reality, he sucks. 3. Tony Romo still sucks, Troy. 4. They’re division rivals with my Giants. 5. It’s fun watching them choke and self-destruct every year. 6. Nobody is ever going to like Tony Romo, but you, Troy, so take your bromance elsewhere. 7. I love watching them lose. 8. We’re never going to forget Jessica Simpson’s pink No. 9 Tony Romo jersey. 9. Their cheerleaders have a better chance of winning a Super Bowl. 10. Tony Romo is a living, breathing punch line. And punching bag. Ask me if I care. I dare you, Troy.
I simply cannot walk by anyone wearing Dallas crap without making a snide comment. It’s a compulsion. While riding with my best friend and our kids to our vacation destination in Niagara Falls last year, I saw a minivan that looked as if one of the Cowboys had puked all over it, there were so many Dallas logos and stars. So, unable to control myself, I apologized in advance to my friend and the kids, rolled the window down and pointed my thumb down vigorously at the other driver as I screamed, “Dallas sucks!” Not one of my proudest moments as a parent, mind you, but the temptation was too great to resist. I HAD to do it.
Most everyone I know can’t stomach the Yankees. Can I get an AMEN?!
Much of my initial hostility was directed toward George Steinbrenner – may he rest in peace – because he was so overbearing, controlling and probably fired more people in his lifetime than there are currently on welfare. OK, OK, maybe that’s pushing it a bit, but you get my drift. I worked at a newspaper in Indiana and constantly had to hear about Steinbrenner every time I went to Culver Military Academy to cover a sporting event. He graduated from the academy in 1948, in case you were wondering. So did his two sons. Big whoop.
Other major reasons to revile the Yankees are the philandering, cheating, douche-bag duo of Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez. Three words: Performance-enhancing drugs.
Don’t care that all federal charges were dropped against the Rocket for playing Pinocchio with Congress when it conducted its hearings stemming from the steroids scandal of 2005 after Jose Canseco’s tell-all book, Juiced, was published. It was for prosecutorial misconduct, not because he wasn’t guilty. And A-Rod, who “apologized” – what a laugher – for using banned substances early in his career and now is facing a major suspension if he loses his appeal for allegedly taking human growth hormones, is an overpaid waste of space who should have been booted out of baseball a long time ago.
Furthermore, both are narcissistic scumbags with a god complex. Go ahead. Try denying it. You’ll lose, and you know it.
Moving right along to the Maple Leafs, all I can do is shake my head and mutter a sarcastic “bless their hearts.” That phrase has more than one meaning in the South, and it isn’t always nice. This is the case for Toronto.
First, you have to understand that hockey is revered in Canada much the way football is in the South. Second, the Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967. And third, their fans wear rose-colored glasses, they’re so delusionally optimistic. I have several friends who are devout Toronto fans, and I have to shake my head when – not if – they break their hearts year after year.
They’re 3-0 right now, but you’d think they’d won the Stanley Cup three times already based on their fans’ reactions. But they always lose when it counts the most, and when they do, I hear all about it every single day until the next season starts. I’ve even given serious thought to wearing earplugs wherever I go to tune them out.
Case in point: While waiting outside to pick up my son from school, I was forced to listen as one mom spoke mostly in expletives about how Toronto really won its first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins earlier this year and should have been the ones playing the New York Rangers in the second round. Here’s what really happened: The Maple Leafs blew a 4-1 lead over Boston in the third period of Game 7. The Bruins tied it up and won in overtime. The end.
There’s another Toronto team I’ve wished every plague on since 1992: The Blow – er, Blue – Jays. They ripped my heart out and shredded it into a gazillion pieces when they beat my Atlanta Braves in the World Series 21 years ago. To add further insult to injury, pitcher Jimmy Key, who hails from my hometown of Huntsville, Ala., and graduated from one of the high schools I later attended, won two games for Toronto. Including the decisive Game 6.
I have to fight the persistent urge to destroy every piece of Toronto memorabilia I see and, living just an hour away from that city, I unfortunately come across a lot of it. But to be truthful, I don’t mind the players and fans NOW, just back then. When it mattered.
So if you’re ever out and about and you see me make a face, cringe or say something uncharacteristically mean, please overlook my behavior. It simply means someone wearing blue and white is in the vicinity.