By: Jeff Lingard
Grantland posted a roundup of staff opinions on whether it is acceptable for a Knicks fan to become a Nets fan now that they have moved to Brooklyn. I don’t know how I would react to this if I were a Knicks fan, especially now that the Jeremy Lin offer sheet was not matched. Bill Simmons thinks that this is an appropriate question due to the Knicks mismanagement for a number of years and the fact that they have an unlikeable owner. I am not going to judge how others would make this decision since the choice of a team to follow is a personal one and is different for each individual. I was brought up to pick my teams and then stick with them no matter what. Even if they were the worst organization in baseball in the 1980’s, the football team left town for three years, they didn’t win a title in the 7 years they had the best basketball player on the planet, and they endured the longest playoff drought in NHL history.
I think it really depends on the situation to whether someone should change teams. If I were a Knicks fan living in Brooklyn then I would think about changing allegiances, especially if I was planning on living in Brooklyn for the rest of my life. It would be a long term choice though, since I think it is unacceptable if the fan becomes a bandwagon jumper. The fact that a Knicks fan would consider jumping to the Nets who have Billy King as their GM and have not built a title contender yet, and unless they do get Dwight Howard, I don’t think they will contend in the near future. If it was Oklahoma City or San Antonio moving to Brooklyn I would probably dump the Knicks for the new hometown team without a second thought.
Media coverage of the NHL in Canada touches on the possibility of expansion to Quebec City or the Toronto area about once a month. The Toronto option is fascinating because the Leafs’ fan morale is about as low as the Knicks fans. People think Toronto is a hockey town but it is really a Leafs town. The most interesting scenario was when Pittsburgh almost did not get a new arena. If Jim Balsille had bought the Penguins and moved them to the Greater Toronto Area with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin I think a large part of the Leafs fan base would have switched to the new Toronto franchise. I don’t think there will be quite the fan migration if an expansion team comes to the proposed arena in Markham, Ontario, which is on the outskirts of Toronto.
I am in a different situation than a number of sports fans as I do not cheer for the “local” sports team as Peterborough is too small to have a professional sports team. Obviously, I cheer for the Petes of the OHL. I have thought about what I would do if a NHL team moved to Peterborough. I think I would give up cheering for the Panthers but it would be a hard decision, and other than the Panthers folding I don’t think there are any other reasons for me to switch teams. Luckily, it is almost impossible that I will have to make this choice.
What would make you switch whom you cheer for? I’m too far gone with my current teams as they have all had near misses and long periods of time without a title so when something happens, like the Browns winning the Super Bowl, it will be that much sweeter. The only team I could never switch allegiance from is the Indians. My fandom of them is one of my defining characteristics of my life and I don’t think I could ever switch or be able to tell my Dad or imagine what my late grandfather would think of me if I stopped cheering for them.
Thanks for reading. I welcome your comments and any constructive criticism you have. You can follow me on Twitter @jefflingard.