Monday, June 26, 2006

How Others See Us

I'm back! My family and I vacationed out of state this past week and gained an interesting perspective on Texas and sports. I watched the NBA Finals with various groups of fans who had no allegiance to either team. Yet, I found a majority of them were rooting for the Miami Heat. There were several reasons why these fans were rooting against the Mavericks.

1. They think Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a "crazy eccentric"
2. They hate the Cowboys
3. They have allegiances to teams of various sports who are big rivals with Texas teams
4. I was rooting FOR the Mavericks (that's an entirely different story)
5. They like Shaquille O'Neal or Dwayne Wade
6. There isn't a player on the Mavericks they could rally around
7. They don't like Texans

I had a hard time understanding the dislike of Cuban. The guy is a passionate supporter of his team who will do anything in his power to help them win. How is that negative? Yes, his behavior can be a bit out of the norm for an NBA owner (i.e. running onto the court, venting on a blog, or Heaven for bid spending money!). But, apply that behavior to a fan. Fans rush the court, vent on a blog and spend an awful lot of money to go to the games. Wouldn't you do that if you somehow came into a billion dollars and became owner of your favorite team? I know I would.

Hating the Mavericks because they hated the Cowboys was a little easier to understand. Being "America's Team" doesn't always mean everyone in America loves you. It means everyone in America has an opinion about you. The Cowboys have established such a presence, that allegiances for or against them have spilled over to include other teams in the same city and state as the Cowboys.

Shaq is no surprise. He is larger than life. His popularity rivals that of the top athletes in any sport. Wade is a rising star who has benefited from Shaq's presence.

For whatever reason, Dirk Nowitzki isn't getting the exposure or support he deserves. Granted, he didn't step up in the NBA Finals, but he is one of the best in the game. I know he doesn't offer as much entertainment value as Shaq when it comes to interviews, but why should that be held against him? Does he need to call himself the OTHER, other son of Jor-El (Superman's father)?

There are a lot of people who don't get the Texas pride. They don't understand the Alamo or Lone Star stuff. They view Texans as arrogant. I usually get the same answer when I ask those people, "Have you ever BEEN to Texas?" The answer is almost always NO.

I think it's a combination of jealousy and ignorance. Their team usually doesn't win, their owner usually doesn't spend money, and their state doesn't have a strong identity.

And, if you've never been here, then "Don't Mess with Texas!"

Oh yeah, and "Remember the Alamo!"

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