After I slandered an entire "nation" of sports fans, it's only fair that I point to a positive counter-example: Mark Armour, who's written a lovely piece for the Baseball Analysts site about his own lifelong Red Sox fandom. The best bit:
As a fan of the Boston Red Sox, I submit that the team is no more, and no less, worthy of my caring than they were five years ago, or thirty years ago. The winning has changed the labels applied to me, but the new labels are no more accurate than the old labels. Winning is fun, don’t get me wrong. But I had fun in 1969, when we finished a gentleman’s third. Maybe it was even more fun--I was eight years old, after all. But in thinking it over, I admit that I miss the days when Red Sox fans were admired and thought to be the smartest guy in the room. Maybe we weren’t, but I liked hearing it.
But really, I just want to be treated like any other fan. I know faithful Indians followers, smart Pirates nuts, proud Phillies loyalists, and, yes, kind Yankees fans. My wish is that they all experience the occasional championship banner, but also that they enjoy the journey every year. But none of them, and certainly not I, can represent a Nation, or be made to pay for the sins of their team.
I think that last graf should be a code of sorts for all sports fans. Hell, in one of my weaker moments, I might even say it about Duke fans. (H/t J.S.)