By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Stop. All of you pathetic excuses for human beings, stop.
Stop attending team fan conventions. They are the equivalent of a Justin Bieber concert, and you, convention-goer, are the screaming, crying, fainting tween girl.
You are the lowest form of fandom. A grown adult traveling downtown to a hotel ballroom to see other adults talk about their jobs—pathetic. And if you seek autographs, please drive off a cliff.
I'm a Cubs fan and root for them harder than anyone. I also understand that the Cubs play a game, and I respect myself too much to ask another grown man who plays a game for a living to write his name on something while I'm wearing a shirt with that man's name on it.
And I know you make fun of Trekkies and the weirdos who go to adult entertainment conventions and buy the rubber genitalia replicas of their favorite porn stars. But guess what? You're no different. Your drooling over a middle reliever or offensive lineman or backup goalie is on the same level as the creepy guy imagining his life-sized doll he's kissing is really a person or that he's a member of the Imperial Army.
If you're there on business, fine. Nobody ever went broke trying to make money off of idiots. I'll also cut you some slack if you are there with your kids and strictly for them. The fawning over athletes by children is absolutely fine—I'd be lying if I said I wasn't guilty of it back in the day. I spent an entire summer as a kid writing to every player on every professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey team asking for autographs and memorabilia (and I actually got a lot of stuff in the mail, my favorite being an autographed picture of Vlade Divac).
But at the same time, use the opportunity to teach your kids. Let them know that these men are professionals whose ultimate motivation is money. It's not the fans, regardless of what PR clichés come out of their mouths. Let your kids know that this isn't real life, that sports do not put food on your table or stop you from going to work each day. Sports are our greatest opiate, and we should not let them consume our lives or take up our time in the form of spending hours in a room with a bunch of strangers hoping to get a glimpse of Ryan Dempster ("Oh, I hope he does his wonderfully hilarious and accurate Harry Caray impression!"). Have your kids learn that someday they will have to accept that these men are not role models or heroes, and teach them proper priorities.
The clips of this past weekend's Cubs Convention were beyond embarrassing as they and ones from Sox Fest and the Bears and Blackhawks Conventions always are, and none more than the freakish ovation given when Kerry Wood and his new contract were announced. You were going nuts for an average at best middle reliever who flexed his "Cub fans will be angry if I'm not on the team in 2012" muscle to get Theo Epstein to sign him while Epstein is trying to tear down the old Cubs—that you for some reason celebrate—and build a champion. "Oh my God! It's Kerry Wood! He struck out 20 Astros fourteen years ago and hit a homerun in a playoff game that we lost! I'm gonna go get his autograph and then huff some cleaning products!"
What bothers me the most is that outsiders see you the convention-goer as representative of a team's fandom. It isn't fair to the rational people who aren't pathetic fanboys to be lumped in with your dumbass questions to the general manager and you buying a t-shirt with an uncreative joke about the team on it. You "got Wood?" Congratulations. I have a college diploma.
And I am aware that proceeds from these sports conventions often go to charities. Fantastic. But forgive me if I'd rather just mail a $60 check to a charity than stand among a bunch of sheep in jerseys and watch the team president jam with the awful Plain White Tees.
Be an adult for once. Cheer for your team, but don't blur the line between sport and real life, and stop burying your head in the sand in thinking these players, coaches, and executives are glad to see you and want to talk to you, and stop with the eternal optimism crap. Embrace reality instead of fantasy for once. And I don't want to know where you're hiding that Kim DeJesus-autographed mini bat.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America's youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim's inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don't follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago's Beverly To read more of Tim's blogs click here.
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