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How to Build a Team (Part 3)

June 17, 2011

When I was young, my life’s goal was to be a part-time astronaut, part-time mailman. Some kids want to be firemen or cowboys, but I was way ahead of my time – always looking for an additional revenue stream.

As I near my 27th birthday, I have found myself reflecting on the goals I set for myself as a 3 year-old, and let’s be honest, I haven’t done such a great job. I haven’t been to the moon. I stopped drinking Tang in ’94. I’ve never dressed in all denim. I don’t carry a satchel full of envelopes to work. At this point, by toddler Juan’s standards, I have been an abject failure.

In reality, I’m doing great. The truth is, somewhere along the line since 1987, many things changed. Not just my skills (I have much better balance) or my preferences (I’m a much less finicky eater), but also my priorities. Sorting things and spending half my day outside, rain or shine, just isn’t that important to me anymore. Frankly, now that I’m not so close to the ground, I’m a little afraid of heights. I don’t know if I could handle outer space. Although, astronauts are the one group where folks still consider diapers to be a viable solution, so they’ve got that going for them.

All of this brings me to my final point about what I look for in my favorite sports teams. I’ve spent the last two blog posts talking about how much I want to see chemistry succeed, and how I want my teams to look for organic growth rather than wildly over paying for athletes that are past their prime.

All of that will always be true.

However, don’t we all want just one title? Don’t we all want to take off work for one victory parade? I know I do.

For me, rooting for a sports team is about believing in something, but as a fellow blogger pointed out so eloquently, we all know this is pretty irrational, right? Ultimately, sports are in many ways a distraction from the things that really matter. Of course, it’s all pretty awesome. I won’t pretend that I’m getting disillusioned about this thing that I’ve devoted the vast majority of my free time to for the better part of my life. Still, the conclusion I keep coming to is that if I’m putting this much effort into being a great fan, I should probably get something out of it.

It’s almost like a Maslow’s Hierarchy of Sports Needs. Sure, I want to root for a a team filled of homegrown, selfless talented athletes. Who doesn’t? But, before I can get there, I want to root for a team that can stay about .500 on a regular basis. Conversely, after their several recent championships, Boston sports fans can now decide they’ll only root for a championship team filled entirely with guys named Steve. That’s the top of the Juan’s Sports Hierarchy. Teams of Steves.

So, yes, I’m fundamentally against what happened for the Miami Heat, but even still, if Lebron had said “I’ve decided to take my talents to Chocolate City, along with a few of my particularly talented friends,” I wouldn’t have had a problem pretending to care about the Wizards.

In the end, it’s not my career we’re talking about. It’s not my legacy. For me, as the fan, it’s the memories. I don’t have to answer for the questionable ethics or signing tactics of my teams’ owners and players. I know because my friends that are Yankees fans have avoided my accusations for years.

It’s been 20 years since one of my pro teams got to visit the White House. In ’91, I was still sort of floating the idea of space exploration. A lot has changed. I still have my principles, but I’m ready to celebrate. It’s time for a title in DC, and I’m not choosy about how we get it.

“Pick me out a winner Bobby.”

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