I am a sports fan. In many ways, sports is the ultimate good vs evil story. Politics is really a sport too. 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 – 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 – 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. I also detest any Manchester team, Liverpool, and Villa.
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 Ibrahimovi?.
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 – Atletico Ottawa – New team, replaced Ottawa Fury FC, which I also cheered for.
Bundeslegia – Borussia Dortmund – I do like watching Bayern Munich with my oldest son as it is his team.
La Liga – Atlético Madrid
Ligue 1 – As much as it bothers me to say this… PSG – Come on, they have Mbappé, Messi, and Neymar. Not much competition for anyone else.