I know when you read the title you were probably thinking this was going to be something about sports and my rules for how to root for your team. While that isn't a bad idea (and I've written it down for later use), this isn't what this post is about. When I write "team", what I really mean is "family".
How we treat our teams in any given sport really doesn't differ much to how we treat our families. We actually look at them in very similar ways. I got to thinking about this when Erin and I had the following exchange:
Erin - I've never had Hamburger Helper.
Brandon - We use to have it a lot.
Erin - I'm not surprised.
Brandon - What the hell is that supposed to mean?
I knew what it meant. My wife was saying that my family didn't eat healthy foods, and that she wasn't surprised that we had something that she deemed unworthy. I didn't disagree with what she was saying, but I was still offended by it. I couldn't really say why it upset me at first. I mean what she said was technically true, and she knows me and my family well enough just like I know her family as well as anyone. And it wasn't the worst thing in the world to point out. It's just Hamburger Helper. It wasn't as if we were cooking meth. So why did I care and feel the need to defend my family as if it was some great injustice?
Later that night I started to put two and two together, and I realized that I'm the same way with the teams I follow. If a Dodger fan badmouthed a player on the Giants, I would stick up for that player. It doesn't matter that I was probably badmouthing the same guy five minutes before. I've earned that right to call out the people on my own team because I've been there through the battles and supported them. In turn when you insult them, I take it as an insult to me. As if you are questioning how I could be a part of them and support them, and I certainly don't see that as your place. You aren't a part of this community, so you can't comment on it.
Families are no different. They're your team that you grew up with from the beginning. You don't choose your team; your team chooses you. They shape you and give you joy. They also upset you and frustrate you to no end. That is why I'll rip my brother all the time, and he'll do the same. I'll point out my mom and dad's foibles and razz them lovingly. My sisters were the butt of an uncountable number of my jokes. I also support them and want the best for them. And if you think of doing any of those things with my family, I will come down hard on you because it isn't your place. I will fight for their honor and won't let anyone talk bad about them. It may seem schizophrenic, but that's the way families are.
I'd expect Erin to be just as offended if I spouted off about her family. And I try not to unless it gets to an absolute breaking point because I know it really isn't my place to criticize them.
Erin and I have now started our own family, and I will be just as much of a pitbull defending it. I would destroy the world of anyone that would speak bad about her or our girls. I don't care who you are. It may not make sense to you, and it shouldn't. You can't understand it because you aren't a part of it. This is my team, and no one criticizes my team except me. I've earned it.