Friday, April 23, 2010


As I sit here and watch my first hockey game of the season (I like the intensity of playoff hockey but don't particularly love the game in the regular season) and flip back and forth to the Tigers' game, the thing that stands out the most is the fans. The Wings are playing in Phoenix and the Tigers are playing in Texas, and yet despite the fact that both locations are more than a days' drive from Michigan, there is a considerable contingent of Detroit fans at both venues. At the hockey game in particular, there seems to be almost as many Wings fans as Coyotes fans. Over the past few years (based on general assessment of television audio), this has been a growing and increasingly noticeable trend.

On the one hand it's pretty cool that there are so many Detroit sports fans around this fine country of ours. There are only a few truly great sports towns out there, and Detroit is one of those places that is generally acknowledged as one such great sport town. It is weird to hear as many cheers as boos when the Wings score in a foreign city, or the standard "Let's Go Tigers" chant in Baltimore. Unarguably we love our teams, and often the place (or the memory of the place) those teams represent.

On the other hand, it is also a bummer that there are so many Detroit fans out there. They're not fans because even though they were born in Seattle, they just really liked Jack Morris or thought that Vinnie Johnson had the best nickname in sports. This may be the case in some rare instances, but it's almost certainly more a matter of Michigan ex-patriots who have either chosen or been forced to leave. For those who chose to leave and never looked back, does it feel weird to go to the Tigers, Wings, or Pistons (Lions are excluded from this list until they manage a 4 win season) when they swing into town and cheer your heart out for your"home" team? Does it make you want to consider trying to get back home? Many people have little choice when they're forced to leave for work or other considerations, but I hope that when they do go to a game wearing their Michigan State t-shirts, it makes them at least briefly consider trying to find a way back to the Great Lakes State. You can always go home, and when you do, you can watch your favored Detroit team year-round.

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