Since, like kids before Christmas, I am sure we will all be watching the clock and going a bit stir crazy, I thought I would share an article I wrote a little over a year ago just to kill a few more of those torturous minutes until the draft kicks off.
The offseason is upon us. Some of us are in the throes of withdrawal already, craving our football fix. Unless we are Seattle Seahawks fans, we are having to deal with the sobering reality that we overestimated our teams.
What is a fan to do? There won’t be any meaningful football coverage for months yet.
Sure, we can wrangle over mock drafts and pontificate over free agent acquisitions. We can rail against the front offices of our favorite teams for missing the key pieces to the puzzle and not knowing as much as we do. We can even immerse ourselves in the excitement of March Madness — for a couple of weekends at least.
Why not try something nobler?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that we live in a society lacking in basic decency. I think we should do something about that and put this downtime to good use.
To that end, I am proposing the following draft of a Constitution of Fandom. This is but a rough draft. Give it a gander and tell me what you think.
Constitution of Fandom
A person shall choose one, and only one, team and remain a loyal fan for life.
No fan shall change his team allegiances except under the following conditions:
- He chose his team or was indoctrinated to root for that team prior to the age of 14; or
- He is under the age of 21 and meets all of the following criteria:
- He owns no jerseys, autographs, or other memorabilia pertaining to his current team;
- His family is not heavily emotionally invested in said team; and
- He has not attended more than one home game of said team; or
- His team violates what we shall term the Colts/Bartman Rule, departing its home city in an unbecoming manner or the city/team unjustly mistreats him. However, no fan shall avail himself of this exception more than once.
Moral turpitude shall constitute a valid defense for suspending support for one’s team. Every fan shall retain freedom of conscience to determine for himself when such line has been crossed.
A fan who determines that he in a state of distress shall not change team allegiances; however, he has the right to root vocally against the team or a member thereof who has committed the breach of decency.
For the purposes of this section, moral turpitude may consist of, but is not limited to, the following actions: acquisition of a hated player; lying; violations of trust; and commission of violent crimes such as murder, rape, or assault.
Any person who changes team affiliation merely because his team has a poor record or trades away or otherwise loses his favorite player shall be relegated to the dregs of fandom. No penance or self-abasement will expunge the stain from his name. No true fan (as defined by Section 1) will offer him a token of acceptance or inclusion in any celebration of team achievements. He shall be accorded no respect at any function and is subject to perpetual ridicule and shame.
Tailgating shall be of a frivolous and fun-loving nature. Tailgaters shall at all times and to the best of their ability welcome fellow fans into their revelries, and said fellow fans will reciprocate the welcome. Tailgate parties shall be declared sacred ground on which all feuds shall be suspended. Discussions of real-world problems are unlawful.
It shall be unlawful for a fan to wear the jersey of a player on any other team except under the follow circumstances:
- He is fulfilling the provisions of a wager made with a fan of a rival team;
- He is in a state of destitution after a natural disaster;
- Wearing the garment will facilitate copulation with an attractive mate;
- The player used to play for the fan’s team and has not:
- beaten the fan’s team in the playoffs;
- insulted his former team or city after leaving; or
- played for his current team longer or attained greater statistical achievements than he did with the fan’s team.
Time for talk
This is just a start of what I hope will become a grander manifesto. It is by no means an exhaustive list, nor have these provisions been codified. Nevertheless, it is high time that we, the enlightened and dedicated denizens of NFL fandom, call a constitutional convention, assemble together, and open a dialogue. Let us, as George Washington might say, raise a standard of decorum to which the wise and honest can repair so that we can form a more perfect union.