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ETSF Fan Handbook: Vol. V - the enjoyment of watching teams when you don’t have a dog in the fight

For the past week, I was in a state of detachment with the world of sports. ESPN hasn’t been able to keep my attention like it usually does. The NFL is the NFL, which means it will always be fun, but the excitement level with them is so-so.

There’s no NBA season right now, which has a particular family member not feeling so hot. As for what transpired last week in the Fall Classic, well, my feelings towards that are clear as day.

So what’s left to do when I, as a fan of the game and an admirer of the culture, felt detached from what was going on? I went to the one place where the competition is at its most pure. Also, it helped that all that was asked for was a good game, for both teams to play hard, and whatever result came about, I’d be cool with it. I went to watch some high school football last night and got all of these things and more.

However, a fan doesn’t have to go to a high school game to get that. To take it a step further, fans BETTER NOT seek out a high school game to find this, due to the alumni element when their team is involved. If their team is playing, then it defeats the whole purpose of going to watch with no ulterior motive.

Simply put, the enjoyment you get from watching sports when you don’t have a dog in the fight can be just as high as when you do have one in it, and that is the theme for volume five of the ETSF Fan Handbook.

Yesterday was only the beginning of my rejuvenation, so to speak. See, for the past five months or so, a great deal of the games I’ve watched have all featured my teams. The Mavericks, Cowboys, Rangers, and the Sooners have brought so many different reactions, emotions, and feelings to the surface (some good, some bad) that, after a while, it feels like it can become hazardous to your health.

When there’s a game on, and neither of the teams that are featured are mine, it allows a sort of relaxation, an ability to exhale, and just enjoy what’s at hand.
This weekend, LSU plays Alabama, and for fans everywhere whose teams aren’t the Tigers or the Crimson Tide, you owe it to yourselves to be locked in on your Hoshitoshi on Saturday night.

Think about it: Carter Shay, Tanisha, and other LSU fans are excited, but they’re nervous as hell, too. They’re the number one team in the country, but they’re traveling to a stadium where the fans that await them are going to be absolutely rabid. On top of that, they’re going against a team that they know, without a shadow of a doubt, is not afraid of them. It makes the elements that surround the game even more interesting.

When it comes to Alabama, the one person who is more fired up than any friend I have is my boy, T-Hall. The man is Alabama, through-and-through. Shoot, he’s either on his way to Tuscaloosa right now, or will leave from Dallas in the morning to get there with plenty of time to spare. His team is number two in the land, at home, with nothing but bad intentions in mind. The man also knows the last time a number one team walked in there, his Tide gave up a 24-point lead and lost the game.

As for me, though? It doesn't make a difference who wins, so it allows me to simply be a fan of the game. A trip to Rudy's will be made to get some of those wings, and then, I'll go to B-Lew's and we'll watch, scream, and cuss at the Hoshitoshi from kickoff to the last whistle. Tomorrow allows folks who aren't fans of LSU or Alabama to watch the two best teams in college football go at it, with absolutely no motive other than seeing a great game.

Sometimes, as fans, we have to remember that the game extends beyond when it’s just our teams playing and, given the particular time, that's exactly this fan needs. There’s a whole lot more going on that can serve as a healthy dose of what we all come to see: exciting play, non-stop action, a tremendous atmosphere, and one team prevailing at the end.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda


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