Conflicting Emotions on Fandom

The Kansas City Wizards are playing Real Salt Lake (how pretentious is that name, btw?) this weekend. I’m trying to decide if I’m going to care. The game on Saturday could be epic. And if I care, I should watch it. If I don’t care, I should probably not watch it and just pretend I’ve never heard of the Kansas City Wizards, just like you. (I’m going out on a limb and guessing that you probably haven’t heard of the Kansas City Wizards.)

Now… I’m a born and bred St. Louis girl. I rarely gave Kansas City a thought when I was growing up. If I did, it was just a silly wannabe city on the other side of the state. When I came to Columbia for college, I discovered that Kansas City actually had professional sports and that they had fans (so weird). Apparently people in Missouri do root for teams   other than the Cardinals (and the Rams). And apparently once you get outside of St. Louis, people don’t really give a rip about hockey.

So supporting a KC sports team has kind of been a non-issue. A “never gonna happen so why even talk about it” sort of a thing. Until now.

I went to the KC vs ManU game more out of love for soccer, and the novelty of seeing ManU play than out of support for KC. True, I wore blue. But that was more a “blend with the locals” sort of thing than true fandom. I didn’t expect KC to win, and I enjoyed rooting for the underdog. And it was an international friendly, so there was probably a bit of patriotic pride at stake as well.

But when KC actually won the game, I felt the stirrings of local pride.

And they are sitting in a fairly good position for playoff potential. Especially if they beat Salt Lake this weekend.

So if I’m gonna jump on the KC Wizards fanwagon, this would be a good time to do it.

And enjoying soccer would be easier if I had a team to support, rather than just watching whatever game is available. Games are better when you can invest in one team over another.

But it’s Kansas City. Can I really go home to St. Louis wearing KC swag of any kind? Can I hang a KC jersey in my closet next to my vintage Cardinals shirt?

And KC is 2 hours away. If I relinquish myself to KC fandom, I’m going to feel the urge to be physically present from time to time. Is it worth it to drive there? Is it worth the pain of a long-distance fan relationship? Especially when cable doesn’t seem to be a fully reliable source of MLS games.

Besides, no one I know supports the Wizards. I’ll be a lone ranger. Even lonelier than I already am as a soccer fan in a city that pretty much has time only for football and basketball, and NASCAR if Carl’s doing well. I’ll be watching games alone, going to games alone, and not able to talk about it to anyone who cares. Kind of like I’m doing now.

Am I setting myself up for pain and frustration?

I’m not all that concerned with disappointment as far as the team’s ability to win. I supported the Blues for a long time, with nary a whiff of Stanley Cup potential. But my support for the Blues waned as I found myself watching games alone, with no one in my circle of friends to discuss the joys and pains of hockey fandom. Is that what my future looks like if I attempt to support the Wizards?

And in any case, it looks like the Wizards will be changing their name when they move into their new stadium. And honestly, if they change their name to Real KC, Kansas City FC or KC United, I may just move to another state to avoid getting any poser-juice on me.


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