"Your choice to be a fan"
The Kansas City Star
You might’ve heard about the strange dust-up between the Chiefs’ Twitter account and a fan who just happened to be a social media manager for a Fortune 500 company with, ahem, more Twitter followers than the team.
The man’s name is Travis Wright, and this apparently started after Wright criticized the team for having too much salary cap space. That’s an argument for a different time — it seems to me that the Chiefs are spending more money than they often get credit for, but are also among the league leaders in cap space every year — because the point today is a terse and unnecessary private response from whoever was manning the Chiefs’ official Twitter account:
Would help if you had your facts straight. Your choice to be a fan. cc get a clue.
Now, a couple things to keep in mind before we move on. Clark Hunt, Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, Matt Cassel, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry and anyone else you cheer or curse on Sundays have nothing to do with the team’s Twitter account. Whoever runs the account apologized (though apparently not to Wright). I’d also like to point out that all of us — I’m very much included in this — have said things we’d like to take back. Most of the time we’re lucky enough that it doesn’t go viral.
That said, the line about “Your choice to be a fan” is just awful, on a few levels.
I’m running short on time here, so I can’t say everything I’d like, but that phrase right there is so corporate, so detached, so condescending that I’ve been thinking about it since I first saw this yesterday.
In some ways it’s true, of course. Technically, we do choose which teams to follow. Most of us root for the local teams, or the ones our dads follow, or the ones with the player who captured our imagination as kids. I have one friend who decided to be an A’s and Packers fan as a kid because he liked green and yellow. I grew up a Cubs fan because my grandma was a Cubs fan, and the games were always on WGN.
Whatever the reason, we all make our choices, but at some point the word “choice” no longer applies because you can’t “un-choose” it if the team starts stinking or whatever. If you could, how many Royals fans would be left? For that matter, how many Chiefs fans?
Being a fan isn’t something you can shut off, like a faucet. It becomes part of your life, part of your plans, part of you. You get together with your friends because of your teams, you blow off steam from a rough day at work with a beer and your teams, you make memories with your teams.
The relationship between fan and team can outlast marriages. It can be the reason fathers and sons start talking again. The relationship is precious. It means fat profits and salaries for the people lucky enough to be on the inside of franchises, but it means much more than that to the people lucky enough to develop the bond.
I’m not trying to pick on whoever runs the Chiefs’ Twitter account. It was a stupid thing to say, and the person apologized. We’ve all said stupid things and apologized. We can all move on.
I just hope that as we do, we’re reminded of what that fan-franchise relationship really means.