Readers of the Cohn Zohn sometimes refer to the Bay Area’s professional sports teams as “us” or “we.”

“We had a good game yesterday,” or something like that.

I do not share that mindset, so I’m curious what it means to you to be us — if you are an us with the 49ers, Warriors, A’s etc. After all, you are not on the team and you don’t get a World Series share or a Super Bowl ring and the players don’t know you and the owners charge you lots of dough to see a game in person. So, in what sense are you us?

I am not challenging you. I just want to understand, and I promise not to argue with what you write in defense of being us.

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  1. Mark M

    I absolutely feel this way. It’s true that the players change, the owners even change, but the colors, the franchise, the legacy of success, the legacy of fans and their families remain. The stadiums….well, they stay with us for a long time too. The Stick is a dump and it amazes me it still stands when I go see the Niners, but surviving that place feels like a badge of honor and so I get sentimental about it. I have great memories of tailgating with family and friends out there. My parents, both gone, introduced me to this loveable dump. We all screamed for Joe, Steve and Ronnie, Willie, Barry, and Will too, together back in the glory days. Those are precious memories. So yes, it is an attachment to a team, and a passionate one at that.

    I recognize that good marketing may take advantage of my feelings about it, but I care not at all.

    December 14th, 2012 10:54 am

  2. Ben

    if the average sports fan viewed sports as dispassionately as a sports journalist does, that would be a shame. of course “we” won the world series. of course “we” beat the miami heat the other night. there’s nothing wrong with that. and if you’re looking for a real answer (are you?), i think it’s all about shared experiences. people are fans because they’ve spent years and years following the “story” of a given team… learning about the personalities… watching their successes and failures. after all that, why not say “we”?

    December 14th, 2012 11:05 am

  3. mbabco

    This reminds me of when I was in High School, several decades ago. I grew up in San Mateo and went to San Mateo High School. Our big rivalry was with Burlingame in “The Little-Big Game,” always on Thanksgiving. One year after San Mateo one (I almost said “we” won), I was talking to one of Burlingame’s players (we were in the same church group) and crowed how “we” had beat Burlingame. He, rather coldly I thought (rather accurately also) told me that I hadn’t played, that the San Mateo football team had beat Burlingame, that I had nothing to do with it. (I felt just a little bit smaller after that exchange.)

    December 14th, 2012 11:07 am

  4. CohnZohn

    Ben, Thanks for your answer. I was looking for a real answer and you gave one.

    December 14th, 2012 11:27 am

  5. RC

    you are objective “we” are not, hence Fan = fanatic.

    Simply put- “we” are emotionally invested.

    December 14th, 2012 11:48 am

  6. Dennis

    I think the “us” has to do with an individual’s emotional investment in the team. Growing up I had that sort of attachment with the Giants. But as I lost interest in baseball I lost the emotional attachment to the team. I still cheer for the Giants but it is “they” when they win or lose. The 49ers are a whole different story. I have gone, watched or listened to every game they have played since Y. A. Tittle was quarterback. I get down when they (“we”) lose and I am happy when they (“we”) win. I am emotionally invested in the team and have been for a very long time. I feel like the 49ers are my team, as much as that is possible.

    December 14th, 2012 12:26 pm

  7. lameduck

    When a fan attends a game I see it as the fan’s job to cheer on their team no matter the circumstances. Hence the fan has the same goal as the team – a shared purpose.

    I’ll never understand the fan that pays good money to boo the home team.

    I’d say the us only counts if you attend the game. For example, the famous Seahawks 12th man can impact the outcome of a game. When a force working together impacts the outcome of a contest, then it is definitely an “us” situation.

    December 14th, 2012 2:06 pm

  8. helga fels

    When your heart is open and you feel compassion as you do for the Conn. school children — that is feeling “us”. Similarly, if you’re a fan — you can be open to the team and feel “us”.
    “Us” is an openness.

    December 14th, 2012 2:15 pm

  9. tkh

    Actually I think you DO understand. That is why in a later post you said our collective heart breaks over the shooting in the school. You had no part in that, probably didn’t know anyone involved yet there is a collective feeling about it. It is why we feel a collective pride in Neil Armstrong on the moon, why you feel a collective connection to New York. We identify with a location, an event, a team and we take on their tragedy, accomplishments and so on as our own. We obviously realize that “we” didn’t take part but nevertheless we personalize it as if we were part of it. It is part of belonging, being part of a community. It is what makes us human.

    December 14th, 2012 2:39 pm

  10. Steve the cat rescuer

    Interesting post by mbabco. Reminds me of a couple of middle aged friends who always use “we” and “us” when referring to the Niners or Giants. I always respond with “How many runs did you drive in?” or “How many passes did you catch?” I’m a fan and appreciate enthusiasm for teams, but I think there are better ways to express it than we and us.

    December 14th, 2012 3:06 pm

  11. KauaiRobert

    It’s more fun that way.

    December 14th, 2012 4:26 pm

  12. Mike in N. Oakland

    If someone buys stock, then they feel like they own a piece of the company and could say “we did well today” or “i got my butt kicked today” if Wall St. goes up and down.

    If someone is watching the team, they are an investor as time is money.

    If someone buys a jersey (or any item the team has rights to), they are an investor as merchandise sales go back to the team to spend on ways to make the team better.

    Without “us” the fans, there is no team. So my opinion for this semantics issue: the “we” is certainly fine to use.

    (Don’t get me started on the whole RBI vs. RBIs thing either! It’s an acronym. Pluralize an acronym by putting an s on the end. I have an IOU. I have two IOUs. “Two RBI” sounds silly and I refuse to say it.)

    December 14th, 2012 5:12 pm

  13. Loneraider78

    There’s no home field advantage in an empty building.

    We matter. We are part of what the team is.

    We built the leagues up to what they are.

    Case closed.

    December 14th, 2012 6:58 pm

  14. Jumbo Shrimp

    We “Americans”
    We “humans”
    We “fans”

    Imagine how much more entitled Seahawks fans must feel, having had the #12 retired in order to recognize the importance of fans. If homefield really does provide an advantage, then perhaps fans are actually entitled to say “we.”

    Of course, I’m not a stadium visitor, dispassionately preferring my couch within 50 feet of everything I need for 3-4 hours of escapism.

    I don’t say “we,” and I understand your question.

    December 14th, 2012 10:35 pm

  15. b4huxley

    I agree with you Lowell, I look at the team with a complete non bias, they are not my family not my friends, they are a team I love due to years of sentimentality built up through shared experinces with those I love around their franchise. By saying we or us I feel like I somehow take credit for their actions and effort, I am not running and sweating with them, I am not their ball boy or even their water boy, I am merely a flag waving fan, I will forever be on the outside clammoring for their success and excellence.
    To state we or us to me cheapens their efforts and achievments, I have not earned a single shred or slice of their superbowl trophies or rings. It is laughable to believe that I deserve to claim what they have rightfully earned fought for and won.

    December 15th, 2012 8:12 am

  16. Capts

    The Raiders and the A’s were always a connecting point between family member. My father and I don’t share much in common, but we always had the Oakland teams to discuss and get excited about. They are part of our community’s social fabric and while the owners, players, coaches may change the colors and idea behind the teams remain. Although, basing one’s self worth on a team’s performance is going way too far and unfortunately, I see it a lot nowadays.

    December 15th, 2012 12:19 pm

  17. Seth

    It’s not an “us” in the literal sense, but more of an “us” as an emotional attachment. I guarantee you there are fans that are just as emotionally attached to their respective team as the players on that team.

    December 15th, 2012 3:35 pm

  18. Steve

    I absolutely am an “Us” or “We.” I participate in the experience and enable the building of Stadiums through my taxes and ticket purchases. I purchase World Series DVD’s, hats, shirts et al. I pay for satellite TV so that I can watch every Giants game and the 49ers when they are not broadcast over the air. If not for me (and people like me) who give their money and time, there would be no sports teams. I am every bit a part of the Giants and 49ers and when I refer to the great game we played on Sunday night, I absolutely mean WE.

    December 18th, 2012 4:47 pm

  19. Von Dahlk

    Fans are the backing.. No fans, no team… We.

    December 18th, 2012 5:08 pm

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