I am a sports fan. In many ways, sports is the ultimate good vs evil story. There is the dominate team, the one that money bought. Then there is the other team, the underdog. Sometimes you get a clash of the titans, or a clash of the underdogs. I like a good underdog story. Like the Ottawa Senators backstopped by Andrew Hammond going on a late season run to make the playoffs; or the Buffalo Sabres run with Ted Nolan as coach a few years back.
When presented with a game that I don’t normally find, I will inevitably figure out what team is the underdog and cheer for it.
These are some of the teams I cheer for (in no order of preference), and why.
NHL – Buffalo Sabres, playoff team is any team that isn’t Toronto. I grew up watching the Sabres, but it wasn’t until I moved to Oakville for college in the mid-90s that I really became a fan. If the Sabres don’t make the playoffs (ha!) I usually cheer for Ottawa (ha!) or teams like Vegas or Tampa. I will not cheer for a Canadian team, even the last Canadian team remaining, just out patriotism. These are professional athletes who play for multi-millionaire business people. There is no patriotism. I will cheer for Team Canada when I want patriotism.
NFL – Buffalo Bills, playoff team Green Bay Packers. I’ve cheered for the Bills since their four-year run at Superbowl failure. Because the team went 19 years without reaching the playoffs, I also cheer for the Packers. If both teams make the post season, I am happier for it.
MLS – Montreal Impact – I refuse to cheer for any team from Toronto, and the Impact have a decent team. MLS commentators are horrible though. Can’t stand to listen to broadcasts.
MLB – Montreal Expos – Yes they don’t exist anymore, which is why I don’t really watch baseball anymore. I grew up an Expos fan in the 80s. I tried to follow Washington after the Expos moved, but it wasn’t the same.
English Premier League – West Ham United – I started following WHU in the mid-2000s. My maternal grandfather was from the part of London that WHU played in, so it seemed like a good fit. Add in the perennial underdog vibe of the team, and I am an Irons fan. #COYI
English Football League – Forest Green Rovers – I learned about this League Two team a few years ago after a story on the NPR show Only A Game. FGR is eco-friendly soccer club and has a cool vibe. So I cheer for them and sometimes they show up on TV.
Serie A – AC Milan – I recently began following Italian Football because of my middle son and chose AC Milan because I am a fan of Zlatan Ibrahimović.
NBA – Boston Celtics all the way. Cheered for them as a kid when Larry Bird ruled the court.
CFL – Ottawa RedBlacks now, Rough Riders before. Secondary team is Hamilton Tiger Cats. Come on, any team with a chant of “Oskie Wee Wee, Oskie Wah Wah, holy Mackinaw, Tigers eat em raw” has to be fun to cheer for.
Scottish Premier League – Livingston FC – Ancestral region my paternal grandmother’s side. Again, another underdog team.
Canadian Premier League – Athletico Ottawa – New team, replaced Ottawa Fury FC, which I also cheered for.
Bundeslegia – Don’t really cheer for a team yet. I like watching Bayern Munich with my oldest son as it is his team.