Goodbye to MY Oakland Raiders

March 27, 2017. Darkness hovers over my sports fandom.

The NFL, spurred on by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, approved the Oakland Raiders relocation move to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Raiders.

excuse me while I tend to some digestive discomfort

The Raiders.

The Raiders.

You say that name and you automatically think, Oakland.

And if you don’t, who are you?

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In all seriousness, the Raiders are Oakland. You see it in their fan base: passionate, tough, hard-working. In other words, they care.

As is the nature of sports in today’s world, the Raiders don’t care about them in return. “Raiders” in this context means Mark Davis.

Full disclosure: I am a life-long Oakland Raiders fan. Back in 2014, I wrote about the state of the team and how I thought Davis should sell. Although they returned to the playoffs this past season and are on an upward trajectory with a talented core of players, I still think Davis should have sold the team.

I didn’t like his leadership, particularly in light of the departure of former team CEO Amy Trask. Trask, who had been with the organization for decades, wouldn’t leave without good reason is what I thought. She may say it was “time” or she wanted to “pursue other opportunities”, which she has done.

But, my instincts told me there was more to it.

Trask was (and still is) fiercely loyal to Al. Although I disagreed with some (many) of the decisions Al made over the years, there was no denying his passion for his team: The Raiders.

Mark Davis is no Al Davis.

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Mark Davis is doing what’s best for Mark Davis. In his best Al Davis-impression, he is uprooting the team from its home, its fans, its core and heading to (greener) $$$$$$$ pastures in Vegas.

I’m sure the people of Vegas will love it, initially. Businesses will love it too. Incoming fans might love it…until they see how much more everything costs to stay in Vegas. That $750 million Vegas & the state of Nevada are ponying up for a new stadium has to come from somewhere, right? Taxes upon taxes levied at out-of-town visitors.

You don’t just go to Vegas.

You do Vegas – or so I hear.

Gambling, shows, cuisine, other unmentionables that I don’t know about – it all adds up, financially. Now tack on the astronomical cost of hotels to pay for the stadium? Yeah, that’s not blue-collar. That’s not the Raiders.

That’s Mark Davis.

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Let’s not forget all of the other events that will take place at this fancy new stadium. The Raiders only have eight home games, plus two preseason ones. 10 dates for NFL football. What about the other 355 days of the year?

Vegas will probably be more successful than other cities with NFL stadiums at luring top-level sporting and entertainment events. According to LasVegasNow.com interest is already heating up, “Events at the stadium would fill hotel rooms all over the city during the slower months and they are already in talks with Europe’s top soccer teams to come here.”

European soccer clubs? Nope, that’s not my Raiders.

Take a team out of a city and the owner changes the name. In my heart of hearts, the Raiders will always be Oakland, the city of my birth.

But, when I step back and look at this scenario with no emotional attachment, I ask myself one question: Why do teams have to use a city/state in their name at all?

Sure, it’s tradition and all, but in today’s day and age where teams relocate like what we’ve see in the NFL (three in the past 16 months), why do teams need to have the city/state as part of the name anymore?

Yes, Steelers fans, I can hear you now. The Steelers will never leave Pittsburgh. Sorry, but the Rooneys won’t always own the team and if they do, who’s to say they’ll have the business sense of the current crop?

Never is a long time and life is unpredictable.

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Cliches aside, at their highest levels, sports teams are loyal only to themselves in business. If a better business option is available, they will take it.

The Raiders.

To me and so many other Raiders fans, they will always be the Oakland Raiders. But, teams don’t owe fans any loyalty in business. Those who choose to do so, well done. You don’t have to, but you do. You try to operate in good faith – keep it up.

Even when they moved to Los Angeles, I still cheered for the team because they were the Raiders. There was always a possibility that they would return, so it didn’t make sense not to root for them. I was thrilled when they did as that where they belonged.

Now, the Raiders are leaving again. Returning will be out of the question – they’re gone.

As long as they are in Oakland, I will cheer for them. How can I not when they have players like Deek Carr:

As for when they arrive in Vegas, well, I don’t know how I will feel. It’s disappointing right now, sure. But, anyone who says they know how they will feel in a few years (next year?) time, is either fooling with you or fooling themselves.

This move is yet another notch in my move away from sports team fandom. I “loved” the Raiders because they were the city of my birth – the first team I ever cheered for. Growing up in Arizona pre-Cardinals, there was no NFL team to cheer for.

The Oakland Raiders were my team. 

They were my first “sports” love.  

Like first loves in life, you don’t forget your first sports love. It’s forever embedded in your memory. Perhaps for some, they still have that connection to it. The passion and emotion is still strong after decades together. Others aren’t so blessed. Just ask St. Louis, San Diego, Hartford (NHL), Atlanta (NHL), Seattle (NBA), Vancouver (NBA)…

Still, some try to reunite with that first love, even when they’ve made it clear…they don’t want you back. It’s hard to let that first love go. 

Deep down, Mark Davis doesn’t want Oakland Raiders fans. He wants Raiders fans.

No city.

No allegiance.

No love. 

Even when in L.A., I never left my Oakland Raiders fandom. 

But now, it’s leaving me.

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CadChica Sports

Snap, Snap, Video On National Signing Day

THE FAX MACHINE

One Shining Moment. 

No, we’re not quite to March Madness just yet. But, today was the one shining moment for fax machines everywhere. 

Today was National Signing Day (or National Letter of Intent Day) in the college sports world. As coverage of it has grown, so has the creativity of schools. Social media posts have been crucial to connecting with fans during this day. Facebook and Twitter (link-sharing and pictures) are the stalwarts. Instagram is part of the mix too. On this day, however, there is a new kid in town.

Snapchat. 

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FAN PERSPECTIVE

When I look at social media activity by teams, schools, leagues and athletes, I look at it from a fan perspective. I don’t look at it from a marketing or social media perspective – just as a fan. And, what do fans want?

  • Information – if it’s about “my” team, I want to know about it. 
  • Something new – give me something I can’t get anywhere else.
  • Access – I can’t be at every event. Show me what’s happening behind the scenes. 
  • Connection – Show me “you” want to connect with me

For all of its security issues (which are ones to consider before joining), Snapchat content comes in a form that is easy and consumable. Whether it’s a single snap or the popular Stories feature, Snapchat content has been able to give fans all of the above – in ways that Facebook, Twitter and others haven’t really been able to…yet (more on that – Twitter video – later). 

That’s not to say that Snapchat is any better than the other platforms. It’s just…different. It’s a mobile-centric app, which speaks to the ease of relaying new information and access. The content that is used by many in sports shows me that they want to be connected with me. A Story does exactly what it says – tells a story. And, on National Signing Day, there were many Stories to tell.

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SNAPCHAT STORIES

An appropriate way to start the Stories for aggiefblife – a simple greeting. Let me tell you, before 5 am PT it’s a lot easier to be told Good morning through a Snap than it is by someone who is extra cheery to start the day. Much easier. 

IMG_4277

The Aggies were not alone. The snaps began early…and often. UMass, Baylor, Missouri, just to name a few, all began their day through Snapchat. Those three schools also made sure to add a hashtag. As a fan, I don’t necessarily know what the hashtag is for an event like this. Seeing it on a Snap gives me a bit of extra information I need in case I want to search it on Twitter or tweet about it myself. 

#NationalSigningDay

 

One of the more interesting Stories I saw, came courtesy of Michigan. Although they didn’t start out by adding text in their Stories, they added later in the morning. Call it time stamping – letting fans know the exact time when a recruit signed with Michigan. It may seem silly to some, but that’s information that I would want to know. It adds a bit of extra context to the “story”. 

 

umichathletics on Snapchat Canva

 

I love lists. Twitter lists are one of my favorite things about Twitter. No such feature on Snapchat. Thinking as a sports fan, I figured others might want to know what other schools were on the platform. So, I started to create a graphic. I shared it on Twitter and asked people to let me know of others. People started to retweet it and my list grew. Even when I was putting this post together, I had more schools to add as replies kept rolling in.

So, as of post time, here is a “short” list of schools on Snapchat. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.

Colleges On Snapchat (6)

 

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A DIFFERENT KIND OF STORY

A unique spin on National Signing Day came courtesy of Stanford Athletics. 

A day in the life of a student-athlete. Content fans love because it personalizes the athlete. It helps us to feel like we actually get to know them. Terrific idea, Stanford. 

gostanford (1)

 

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ADDING TO THE DISCUSSION

Another different take on the day happened to come from my employer, Sportsmanias. Through the Sportsmanias Snapchat account as well as one of my bosses, Vicente Fernandez, we were able to share how we were connecting with fans during the day. We hosted a special National Signing Day event at Dave & Buster’s in Miami. 

According to Fernandez, since the creation of the account a few months back, Snapchat has become the strongest platform in our social media family. “Since launching, our following is growing at a rate of about 75% every week,” Fernandez said. Whether it’s through the daily news updates or an event like today, Snapchat has been a great way to connect with fans. 

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A FINE DEBUT FOR TWITTER VIDEO

While I was scoping out the Snapchat content, there was one other resource that caught my attention. Making its debut on this National Signing Day: Twitter video. 

Twitter recently added a 30-second native app video feature. For me, this was a long overdue move by Twitter. Although I look at things from a fan perspective, I’m also a journalist. A live event occasion like National Signing Day opens up the possibilities for coverage. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to this yet. Or, they haven’t had time to practice with it. But, a few schools took advantage of it like EMU Football did at the top of the post. But, another active user of video today was Western Michigan Football: 

Before the press conferences took place later in the day, Western Michigan took the opportunity to use Twitter video to give fans commentary from the coaches. THAT is connection with information that fans want. 

They weren’t the only two schools using video, however. Boise State’s Recruiting team used the time to connect, not so much with fans, but with the players too. Making it personal.

The moment. The moment when the fax machine spits out the paper with a recruits letter of intent, and…

The set-up of the Tennessee Volunteers video is perfect. Entertaining or suspenseful, in its own way. Maybe even surprising to some. I liked it. 

Even the Pac-12 Conference got involved with video

Expect to see this trend grow in sports. These moments allow teams to share those special moments with fans. It doesn’t have to be just on a National Signing Day. It could be after someone on the school baseball team hits the game-winning run. Or, the gymnastics team just upset their rival at a key meet. Moments happen every day during sports seasons. 30-second moments can be all the time one needs to tell that story. 

While some saw Twitter adding this video feature as a threat to Vine, I see it as more of a challenger to Instagram and yes, Snapchat. Twitter is an extremely popular platform as it is. Adding video could drive people to share their content all-in-one-place versus on A, B, C & Z platform. 

Will that actually happen? Time will tell. As one friend told me today, social media is maturing. Might that mean social media strategies become more streamlined? I’m sure Twitter hopes so. 

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BONUS

I noticed a little something-something going on with BYU early this morning. Maybe it was the fact that it was so early and well, the guys were just so hyped that I just said to myself there’s no way they’ll do this all day

Several hours later, there was this:

I was so very wrong. 

The climax of a long day. This really was just a tease… 

For the glory that is the BYU coaching staff:

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FINAL THOUGHTS: And so ends National Signing Day. The fax machines One Shining Moment has come to an end. Until next year,

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CadChica Sports

Back Together Again with Q1

Jean Kerr quote

Reunited and it feels so good. 

I did that in my best Peaches & Herb voice(s). Why? Because CadChica Sports is proud to announce another media partnership with the fine folks at Q1 Productions (@Q1Sports). For the first time last year, CCS was asked to partner with Q1 for their 1st (now annual) Digital Sports Fan Engagement Conference.

It came as somewhat of a surprise to me. CCS had not been asked to be a media partner before in any capacity. Truth be told, it threw me for a loop. I didn’t look at CCS in that way — influential media partner. But, I guess there’s something to this little thing I’m doing.

When I announced the partnership last year with Q1, I was prompted to find the above Jean Kerr quote. For me, it’s all about having a voice in sports. As many have documented, the woman’s voice in sports is muted. To me, the fan’s voice was always stereotyped. To some degree it still is – as is the woman’s voice. I don’t look at myself as a female sports fan like some women sports media claim they are. I don’t like that label. I’m a sports fan, plain and simple.

I think like a sports fan even though I’m in media (with marketing-type thinking sometimes). It’s that perspective that attracts me to an event like Q1’s next Sports Fan Engagement Forum (#q1SFE15). Bringing “together marketing executives from throughout the industry to discuss and debate the exciting initiatives taking shape that engage and connect fans with sports teams” – Q1 recognizes the importance of the fan’s voice. Those teams and leagues who are successful in social media think like fans – that’s who Q1 will have at this forum.Add text (7)

With this partnership comes the return of CadChica Sports’ Tuesday Ten Show on Google+. Tuesday Ten has been on hiatus since August. The fall sports season is a busy one both in my job and blog life so the show took a break. Took. The show will return with interviews from some of the featured speakers at the forum. You’ll be able to get a taste of what all will take place in Kansas City, MO in March. That’s GREAT news!

GREAT? Yes, GREAT NEWS!!!

Why? Because not only will Tuesday Ten be returning, but once again, CadChica Sports followers will receive a registration discount – simply use code CADCHICA to receive $100 off your registration here. It’s not Discount-Double-Check, but $100 off??? Yeah, that’s a great deal! 

I’ve got my trip booked! So should you!!!! 

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Stay connected

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CadChica Sports

Pink Is Not My Color, Sports

Sports Marketing To Women

I am not a pink person. Pink, as in, the color pink. (aka Pink-thinking)

I grew up playing sports. I come from a sports family. I was a tomboy. Back then, pink meant girly – not sporty.  I didn’t view myself as anything remotely close to being “girly”. At a certain age I did, but not as a little girl playing sports.

I had a mom, two sisters and a brother who played sports. In the case of my mom, she loved sports and supported her kids’ ventures into sports. To this day, she is a die-hard sports fan even at her advanced age (no, I’m not telling you her age). Playing football, running, shooting hoops, hitting the ball, swimming — I viewed that as a normal thing that girls did. It wasn’t a “gender” issue to me – girls sports vs boys sports. It was just sports

As I grew to become more of a sports fan rather than athlete, I didn’t view it any differently. I wasn’t a girl who was a sports fan. I was a sports fan. That’s been my thought-process for as long as I can remember. It’s in that context that I am constantly perplexed by the phrase, “marketing to the female fan” or “marketing to women”. Oh, wait! One more, “appeal to the female fan base”.

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Why do sports leagues, teams and brands feel the need to “market to women”? Will “pink” shirts really entice more women to buy their product or watch their respective sport? Much of this topic was discussed at the Sports Business Journal Game Changers’ Conference today. Several attendees were tweeting insights from the conference speakers.

That pink-thinking I mentioned…yeah…

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Labels. Why is it that sports entities feel the need to label me as a “female sports fan”? Is “pink” the only way to link me with sports? Do they really think I can be enticed by throwing out a pink jersey and associate it with a cause? Why not add a female to a key character in a commercial like this? (I like food too, Buffalo Wild Wings. I like hanging with other sports fans. I’ll share my chicken wings if necessary. Well, maybe not!)

This video from BWW is geared toward men. But, what about it is marketed toward men? 

  • 1) Food
  • 2) Beer
  • 3) Sports bar atmosphere
  • 4) Friends 
  • 5) Food & sports intertwined in the “action”
  • 6) Announcer voice
  • 7) Victory (guy gets food)

If one wanted to really market to women, why not put a woman in place of one of the guys, in a non-pink jersey? I enjoy going to a sports bar and hanging out with other sports fans. I may not yell out loud during a game but burgers, wings, nacho — I’m in!! 

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Want to know how to market “to” me? Speak my language. I’m a mom that cares about her family. I care about saving money and providing for my family. I care about paying my bills. I care about the things that matter to my kids. I care about the world around them. I care about the good in sports not being discussed enough these days.

Tell me, how do you “market to” that? 

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FINAL THOUGHTS: Every woman is different – every “female sports fan” is different. I’m at a loss when it comes to the whole notion of marketing to women. Maybe that’s because I’m not a marketer. I’m not in sales. I don’t try to influence anyone into “buying” a product, so I don’t think in those terms. Maybe if I was, I’d understand it better.

I asked a friend of mine to help clarify things. He pointed out another way of looking at the BWW commercial above – from a man’s point of view. Frankly, I didn’t see it until he pointed it out to me. 

And, maybe that’s the point. I don’t see myself like what sports brands, leagues and teams see. I just see myself as a fan.

If only they could too.

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CadChica Sports

Speaking the Fans’ Language(s)

In my day job, I see tweets, upon tweets, upon tweets.

Seriously.

I see thousands of tweets each day. But, there was one tweet that caught my eye recently that stood out from the rest.

Upon further investigation, I found one from a different Cal State Northridge Twitter account:

When I think of Spanish tweeting sports accounts, I think of Major League Baseball. Their @LasMayores Twitter account tweets league, team news solely in Spanish. At last check, they had over 112k followers. (Side note: They have 113k Likes on Facebook as well.) In addition to LasMayores, there are 15 MLB teams with Spanish-language Twitter accounts – some of which joined the platform as early as 2009.

Tweets in Spanish from a team account were nothing new to me. So, why did the Cal State Northridge tweets pique my curiosity? They weren’t the first in college to do so. The Miami Hurricanes follow the MLB model with a Spanish-specific account of their own, @LosHuricanes. Big Hispanic/Latino influence in Miami, the Canes understand their audience.

So what was it about these other tweets then?

They came from what looked like to me, a predominantly English speaking account at a non-power conference school. Fascinating and innovative. But, what was the impetus for this?

According to Kevin Strauss, Assistant Sports Information Director at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), this is actually another step in their fan engagement process. Fan engagement in terms of asking for fan input and…listening to it. Says Strauss, On June 2nd, we launched the “Rise of the Matadors” pride campaign. In addition to new logos and word marks for our athletics department, our goal was and is to connect back with the roots of the University. According to census data, nearly half of all residents in Los Angeles identify themselves as hispanic (CSUN is located in Northridge, CA, a suburb inside Los Angeles city limits). Knowing our community and providing our news and updates in English and Spanish helps us reach all of those that are invested in our University and programs.

This initiative isn’t a new thing for CSUN. Back in 2010, Strauss says, CSUN began recapping stories with a Spanish translation for men’s soccer. According to Strauss, CSUN’s Director of Communication, Jorge Martin, and his team, “have made Spanish-language news a priority high on our list”. Tweeting sports news in Spanish is a natural evolution in the Matadors efforts to connect with fans.

 

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CSUN isn’t the only one who is venturing to connect with their Hispanic/Latino fanbase. The Pacific Tigers of the West Coast Conference (WCC)will be highlighting the return of men’s soccer with some Spanish-specific initiatives later this month.

I spoke with WCC Associate Commissioner Jeff Tourial about the Tigers’ plans. Tourial is in charge of Broadcast Administration & Strategic Communications for the conference which includes their livestream platform at TheW.tv.

Men’s soccer was recently added back to the Pacific Tiger sports fold this year after a nearly 20 year hiatus at the Division I level. As part of the process, Tourial says, Pacific is aiming to broadcast at least two of their men’s soccer games later this month in both English and Spanish. Along with the broadcasts, @PacificMSoccer will begin sending occasional tweets in Spanish. Tourial told me that all broadcasts will be available on mobile and tablet devices as well as online making it easy for fans to watch Tigers’ soccer.

CSUN and Pacific display the best asset for any school, team or brand when it comes to social media: listening.

But, they’re also speaking their fans’ language.

In this case, bilingually.

Know of any other teams or schools stepping up their efforts to reach the Hispanic/Latino community? Let me know on Twitter, @CadChica.

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CadChica Sports

Sharing the Moment: USA vs Ghana

Every kick. Every run. Every header. Every switch of field.

My oldest son and I shared the viewing experience of today’s Team USA opener at the World Cup against Ghana. After a quick 1-0 start with a first minute Clint Dempsey goal, the angst in the room slowly started to rise. My son is the more passionate soccer fan and is a former soccer player. He knows far better than I when someone could have seen an open shot or the next key pass to make. Perhaps that’s why he’s more passionate. Or, I’m just getting too old.

As the momentum continued to shift toward Ghana, I could feel his passion rubbing off on me. For the better part of the second half, it looked as though all 10 of the U.S. field players were having to play defense. Losing their possession-man up top in Jozy Altidore in the first half, the U.S. had no Plan B. Ghana was relentless with their pressure. Finally in the 83rd minute, Ghana got their equalizer in a fantastic goal by Andre Ayew.

Our room was deflated. No anger or yelling. Just deflation. More, “What are you doing Michael Bradley?”, came from my mouth as the game was nearing its end. They also kept echoing “Oh no, there’s the one. They’re going to get another one aren’t they?”. I couldn’t help it. Team USA, all 10 field players, were looking spent. Somehow, some way that second goal never came.

Well, at least for Ghana it didn’t. Check out this first IG post.

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

as my son dropped to his knees in his best soccer celebration

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

as I tried to maintain some sense of decorum without scaring the dogs in the neighborhood, including my own.

An unbelievable John Brooks game-winning goal. Who wrote the script for that ending?

Truth be told there were nearly 10 agonizing minutes to play, including an inexplicable five extra minutes (but that’s another story). Oldest son and I were on the edge of our seats. Moving with every pass. Running with every run. Leaning higher with every header. And tensing with every Ghana switch of the field.

We held our collective breath. And when it was all done…we exhaled. The USA defeated Ghana and earned those precious three points. For a moment, okay maybe a 30-minute moment, we smiled with prideful joy.

Never mind. We’re still smiling.

Good job boys. Recover and get ready for Portugal on Sunday. My son and I would like another moment like this.

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KEY TWEETS

Who was the Man Of The Match? No argument from me here. Jones was busting his a$$ tonight.

MOTM

Twitter Data has been supplying some fantastic data through the World Cup so far. A must-follow (I rarely give those) during this tournament.

I have professed this for years and reiterated it again today. Never more true than today in America.

CadChica Sports

Passion Drives Us

I understand this tweet.

As someone who works in media, I get how media has a different mindset than the fan. Cheering for a team, especially one that you cover, has always been, shall we say, frowned upon. No cheering in the press box. That mindset often carries over into writing or reporting.

Part of what drew us to working in sports media in the first place was our passion as sports fans. Growing up, we loved sports. We were fans. We immersed ourselves in every play, every official’s call, every stat, every game.  We were invested in our team. They became part of our identity.

And, yes, sometimes to the point of fanatical.

Perhaps that’s part of the charm of being a sports fan. As much as I dislike fans taking it too far, I understand the passion behind it. Our favorite teams become part of our lives, season in and season out.

© CadChica Sports

© CadChica Sports

Teams have our hearts. So much so that sometimes they can bring us to tears.

And to me, the right type of tears are a-okay.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: I know that sentiment in the above tweet is shared by others in media. Once you start working in sports media, the “fan” in us begins to fade. We no longer get what it means to be a fan the longer we’re in it.

By that same token, most fans don’t understand what it means to work in the media. Travel tweets…no, travel-complaint tweets come to mind. Tweets like this, for example:

I don’t want to lose my affinity for “my” teams. But, I also need to view teams, games, athletes from a media perspective. It’s a delicate balance now that I’m in media. Passion is important to work in media. Passion is what drives fans to the point of tears.

Is passionate balance a thing?

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

 

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