You ever have one of those moments where you think of the perfect retort to an idiotic comment days later? I’m having one of those now. And the inanity of the original comment to me is so beyond absurd, that it’s leaving me irritated and fuming even now.
I was riding in an elevator when a man, whom I have not met before or since, said to me (upon seeing my Redskins badge lanyard), “What’s the matter, were they out of Cowboys lanyards when you bought that?” (Need I even say it was said with a self-righteous smirk?)
WTF? I was dumbfounded. Mercifully, the elevator stopped at my floor and I left, but the whole three second, one-way exchange left me reeling.
Of course today, several days after this comment, I think of what I should have said at the time:
Listen, you can deride my team as inept, a mess, and a joke and all of that will be true, but they’re still my team and I will continue to root for them every week, every season. Besides, how much success has your team had this century?
As a football fan, I can abide many things. I can grant fans of other teams taking pot-shots at mine. That’s the whole point of being a fan. I can even take taunting about my character or intelligence for even being a fan of the Redskins. All of that is absolutely fair.
But to imply that my fandom of the Redskins is a mistake!? A convenience brought about by lack of supply at a store for what some guy thinks is the only team anyone should be a fan of!? That, in my opinion, is hitting below the belt. It is lunacy and idiocy at its most flagrant.
Besides, did he even realize that he made his comment within the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, where fans of any team not the home team (let alone that of our arch-rival) might be a minority? Or that his team has won exactly the same number of playoff games (that is, one) as mine since 2000?
Being a fan of a team is very much like being an adherent to a particular religion. Maybe you are that because that’s the way your parents raised you. Maybe it’s because of where you live. Or even because something about it spoke to you in a way that made you say to yourself, “This is right for me.” Whatever the reason, it is your choice, and while people may disagree with it on its merits, they should still respect your allegiance as your right. (Side note: I had a very similar reaction years ago when an evangelical Protestant coworker derided all Catholics with a very broad stroke, which infuriated me because my grandfather was a devout Catholic. That exchange still bothers me over a decade later.)
So to that guy with whom I shared an oh-so-brief elevator ride:
Go home and root for your own sorry little team, you pathetic excuse for a football fan.