Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why Can I Change my Name and Location, but not my Team(s)?

I have been a Colorado (Denver) Transplant since May, 2007. During which time I have adopted Spike, moved four times, changed my phone number, bought a Subaru (the "un-official/official" State Car of Colorado), and gotten married. At no time have I even remotely let go of my Chicago team allegiances. I did, however, change my name.

Let's start with the name change. Early on in the iteration of my talking with Danny that actually stuck, I made an off-hand remark that if I were to get married and change my name I would like it to be something simple that could not be mispronounced or misspelled. His response, well I guess you cannot marry me. Since his last name begs to be both misspelled and mispronounced while simultaneously receiving a comment about how cool it is... The typical response I would get to my maiden name, is are you related to Val? So in that respect it has been a nice shift. 

When I began to realize that our relationship was getting serious, I started to give some actual thought to changing my name. Initially I balked - explaining that it was going to be a pain to change my name, but more importantly I had been me with my name for nearly 30 years so it was not going to be an easy emotional shift either. Still, Danny persisted, helping me to understand how important it was to him. Plus if we were to have children, they would have his name and having parents with different last names could create a problem. 

Then I started thinking about a comment from my Grandmom somewhere along the way. Both my grandmothers graduated from college at a time that not many women were receiving higher levels of education. For that and many more reasons, when they would say things to me, I tried to listen. She once told me that perhaps feminists ruined chivalry. I understood what she was saying to be that the actions of men that were once so common place have been denigrated by women to the point that younger generations do not necessarily do them anymore. For instance, opening a door for a lady, helping her off with her coat, etc. While I am fully capable of opening my own door, taking off my coat, sometimes it is still nice to have it done. Yet, I like a balance of Danny opening  the door, and me getting the next one. I also took this comment to mean that perhaps it would be okay for me to change my name; while it may be seen as old-fashioned, I liked that Danny wanted me to take his name. Having two sisters, my family's name will end with my Dad, but I did not see how me not taking Danny's name would prolong it per se. Plus it was the first of what I am sure will be many, many, many compromises in the course of our marriage. My maiden name became my middle name as I had no particular attachment to Ann. The only time I regret that decision is on boarding passes since my middle name only comes out as six letters - leaving off the crucial "r."

So why is it that I can change my name and move a thousand miles away from my family; but I cannot let go of my Bears, White Sox, and Duke basketball allegiances? It's pretty simple - I equate these teams with my family,  in my head it's what helps close the distance between us. We rooted for teams together as a family - no really, all of us. My first baseball game and team was the Philadelphia Phillies, which is why when we moved to Chicago my Dad chose to root for the White Sox because they were in the American League versus the Cubs in the National League with the Phillies. I am convinced I am a better person because of it. I will never forget going to see the White Sox play countless times with just my Dad or with the whole family. I remember one game in particular that was super windy to the point that my Dad's hat started to fly into the street. After he tracked it down, he said only real fans come to games like this! I was a real fan! There was a Father's Day gift from my Mom for my Dad, sisters, and me to see the White Sox play the Cubs in the Crosstown Classic. I also remember a Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards with my whole family and my Mom's extended family sitting down the first-base line in which we were close enough to be in foul ball territory. I was responsible for telling my Mom-Mom when we especially needed to watch out for a foul ball coming toward us. Baseball is a critical part of so many of my family memories.

Our wedding at Coors Field officially solidified my National League team being the Colorado Rockies. I have some how managed to rationalize to myself that the baseball season is so long that I am "allowed" to have two teams. It's pretty amazing how I can twist things in my own head to make them work for me. 

I did not really start watching football until we moved to Indiana when I was eight years old. I would always ask who my Dad was rooting for, and root with him. By then he was a devout Bears fan - so I was too. My sisters also enjoyed cheering on the Bears to varying degrees with the youngest coming on in the last couple years as she has become successful in the family fantasy football league. While the Bears have caused much heartbreak over the last 23 years, I cannot imagine rooting for anyone else. I recently received an email from my Dad saying that I should consider the Broncos as my AFC team. So this past Sunday as I watched Denver beat up on Jacksonville, even if it was not the extent many people thought, I could not get excited. While I have long admired Champ Bailey, thus the reason I have his jersey in my closet, the Broncos just do not evoke the same level of connection and emotion that the Bears do.

Now, rooting for Duke basketball is truly a full family affair! My Dad went there for undergrad, and we were all raised to root for them! I have  a picture of myself at about two years old with a cast on my arm, a nurse's hat, and a Duke t-shirt. There is also a story of a family friend coming over to watch the Duke game with us. I was about four or five, and I came out to ask if Abdelnaby was going to play in the game. Shortly thereafter, my Mom came in and asked the same question. The friend was quite impressed by how much the "women of the house" knew about Duke basketball. No, I mean it when I say the whole family roots for them. My grandparents like to talk Duke as well when they're in season. Even after going to a school with it's own rich basketball tradition (Indiana University - HOOSIERS!), I still root for Duke. Although with the hiring of Tom Crean a few seasons back, it has once again been fun to be a Hoosier! So now I have two college teams in separate conferences - while I have not completely reconciled it in my own mind, I make it work because I want it to. My sisters and I were taught to take pride in our education and the schools that we attended. 

Finally, I realized that my switching my football allegiances to align with Danny's would throw a wrench in our relationship dynamic. No, really hear me out. I once dated a guy who was also a fan of the Bears and White Sox. Oh my, I missed the healthy debate and competition. A little smack talk every now and again only raises the fun factor. Members of my family have called Danny the worst sports fan ever because he appears to switch teams like most people change shirts. Really in fairness to him, just as I have my own rationale, he reasons that as a fan of Peyton Manning he has followed him to the Broncos while maintaining a following of the Colts. Although truth be told, I was sitting with him at a Broncos game when he jumped on the Tebow bandwagon - oh the horror! Again, back to being fair. He has become quite the baseball fan, which is a relief since when I first met him he said he hated baseball including going to three baseball games in five days in three different states back in September. Plus he recently told me that he is listening to Mike&Mike on the drive in to work so that he can have an intelligent sports conversation with me at night. That warmed my heart more than a little bit. 

I truly do love being a Colorado Transplant. To be completely honest, it is hard to imagine myself living anywhere else. I miss my family, friends, the lemon rice soup only found in the Region of Indiana, and of course Tastykakes that are only found on the East Coast. Yet, I have also tried to embrace what Colorado has to offer, and hope to continue for years to come especially getting a lot more use of the nice road bike I bought myself. Regardless of my love for Denver and Colorado, I just do not ever see myself giving up my Bears and White Sox. Perhaps next year I will have saved up for NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTV. The fact that such a product exists leaves me to believe I am not the only one who cannot let go of his/her home teams. 

Post a Comment

© Sheer Ridiculousness. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.