In Defense of Homerism in Pro Sports
On May 16, I sat down with Marty York for a lengthy conversation. You can hear our entire chat in episode 174. He had some rather strong opinions about homerism in sports.
When it comes to our local sports media, I believe he has a valid concern. Just look at the current ownership landscape:
- Blue Jays - owned by Rogers, which owns Sportsnet
- Argonauts - owned by Bell which owns TSN
- Maple Leafs - owned by Rogers and Bell
- Raptors - owned by Rogers and Bell
- TFC - owned by Rogers and Bell
- Marlies - owned by Rogers and Bell
It would be prudent to be aware of these inherent biases when absorbing content from these sources. That's just sensible behaviour. We've been on high alert since Mike Wilner's suspension, and you can kick that up a notch following Bob McCown's admission Bob Elliott was banned from Prime Time Sports for something he wrote about the Blue Jays.
Where Marty York lost me was when he attacked the fans for homerism. He pities the suckers who collect at Jurassic Park to take in a Raptors playoff game, or the thousands sporting Jays caps and believing they can repeat as AL East champions.
Sports has one purpose, and that's to entertain. Although it sometimes doesn't feel like it, it's supposed to be fun. Rooting with your city for the home team is a huge part of the experience. I've always been a homer, passionately rooting for Toronto's teams and passing on that same love to my children. I'm a homer, but I'm a realist.
That means I'll tune out when the Leafs are just awful with no redeeming qualities, and tune back in at the beginning of the next season. If prices are too high, I stop buying tickets, and watch on television instead. My collection of paraphernalia is minimal. But make no mistake about it, I want the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Argos and Marlies to win.
I think it's fantastic when fans collect to watch playoff games. I love the fact the Jays and Raptors were both two wins away from the finals. I can't wait to see Auston Matthews in a Maple Leafs uniform next year. I'm even excited to see the Argos play their opener at BMO Field later this month.
Call me a homer. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
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