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Choosing Your Child’s Sports Team Allegiance

nyyI am a die hard New York Yankees fan.  My wife is a die hard New York Mets fan.  Our kids will be….

When my wife and I were first dating the fact that we supported opposing baseball teams in New York was more of a cocktail joke than anything else.  Naturally, most Mets fans despise the Yankees for their greatness and pretension, and Yankees fans are condescendingly sympathetic with Mets fans and love to highlight years of disappointment and dismay.  I remained a relatively friendly Yankees fan, as I was very much interested in my wife (then girlfriend) and psyched that I found a girl that loved to drink beer and watch baseball and any other sport.  Yes, I’m a lucky man.

Once were married and announced we were having a baby, people asked the standard questions about finding out the gender, due dates, boy or girl, and then always landed on an inquiry about baseball team allegiance.  In a joking way my wife and I would both claim that the child would be a Mets or Yankees fan, respectively and then jab at each other about emotional stability, personality, and attitude of the child if he/she were to become a fan of either team.

metsBut joking aside, this topic was a critical decision that my wife and I both had a vested interested in the outcome.  Now the diplomatic thing to do is just wait for the child to be old enough to pick for themselves, but this could end up being a popularity contest and puts a lot of pressure on the child to not upset the other parent or be forced to pick his/her favorite parent, and by extension, his/her favorite baseball team.

So, what did we do?  We left it up to the teams, unknown to the players and management of the teams of course.  My daughter was born in January of 2008, with a full baseball season ahead of her, so my wife and I started a friendly wager – if the Mets were to end up with a better record than the Yankees, then our child would become a lifetime Mets fan.  If the more likely scenario were to play out – the Yankees finish the season with a better record – then our daughter would be wearing pinstripes for life.

Thus began the great NY baseball competition of the 2008 MLB season.  By sure luck, the New York Giants won the Superbowl 2 weeks after she was born, which pleased the whole family as our football allegiances are all the same (Go, Big Blue!).

After the Giants victory, the pressure was on both teams to deliver and gain the lifelong allegiance of a new fan.  To add even more pressure, both ball clubs were concluding their final year in their long-inhabited ballparks and moving to new state-of-the-art stadiums in 2009.  There was a lot at stake.

Long season short, both teams had mediocre years, both missing the playoffs which much fanfare – the Mets blew a September lead in the standings for the second year in a row and the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.  Not a good farewell tour for each for the stadiums and not a fun year to have my daughter’s fandome at stake.

But for the real race – believe it or not, they both ended the season with the same exact record.  Same number of wins, same number of loses.  Unbelievable twist of fate.


fan1

During the course of the season, I created a graphic to show how many games either team was up or down in the fan race for our daughter.  It was a fun experiment and experience to share with friends and family.  Every so often I would post an update on Facebook with the graphic and a number of people would comment on the latest standings.  Fun all around.
fan2

So, now what?  Well, we entered the 2009 baseball season without solidifying any type of parlay or extension of the bet, which in retrospect was a horrendous misstep on my part – the Mets had an awful season and the Yankees finished with the best record in baseball and won the World Series.  This will teach me to miss out on opportunities like this in the future.

Not sure how we will eventually settle my daughter’s MLB team association, but we now have another little one on the way, so it will only get more complicated if we don’t agree on a scheme going forward.  My advice to others in the same boat is to embrace the situation and have fun with the decision making process.  If you’re a serious fan, push the topic, otherwise your child will get gifts from people with your rival’s logo and it will drive you crazy.

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