From my most recent post at WorldMag.com:
Earlier this spring, Jared Allen, one of the better pass rushers in the NFL and a longtime Minnesota Viking, signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears. If you’re an NFL fan you know the Bears and Vikings are divisional rivals. If you read this column with any regularity you know I am a Vikings fan. Needless to say, seeing Allen cross over to the enemy wasn’t pleasant.
Last week the NFL held its annual draft. The Vikings had the eighth pick, and I desperately wanted them to select Johnny Manziel, the polarizing quarterback from Texas A&M. I love Manziel, but apparently the Vikings did not. The Cleveland Browns selected him later in the first round.
In these situations fans like me are faced with the question of how to react to the players. Do we turn on them?
. . .
Not everyone in sports can win (also true in the rest of life). It’s a zero-sum game; if one person or team wins the other cannot. As a result, it’s part of being a sports fan to root for opponents to lose. On the whole, though, it’s much more enjoyable to root for a team or player than to expend emotions and energy rooting against someone.
Rooting for opponents to fail is an empty, heartless endeavor.
. . .