Sports and the Hateful Heart.

There is a plague going around sports-fandom, a willy-nilly behavior that threatens true fan behavior from one coast to the other. I can't sit back and take it anymore.

This is my stand, my plea for a return to war.

Look. You can't just like whatever team you want.  I'm sorry, but it's not allowed. It waters down rivalries and it's also cheap and lazy and gross.

So stop it already and follow the rules:

When you're born, you have two choices. You pick the team in your region or you pick whatever random team your nomadic family has brought into your region. You pick it and you stick with it as soon as you're able. Pick and stick.

If you live in Colorado, you get the Nuggets and the Broncos and the Rockies... Unless your parents happen to be from Minnesota. Then you get the Timberwolves, the Vikings and the Twins. There is an asterisk here: if your parents have adopted the teams in the Denver region, YOU can't switch back to Minnesota teams because YOU were not born there.

How might one be able to 'adopt' a new sports team? So glad you asked.

You must live in a new region for the same amount of time you lived in your old region. Period. Don't argue - rules are rules. And those are just the most basic.

Sidenote: rules apply to clothing, too. Don't travel to New York and buy a Yankees cap just because. If you like your trip so much, buy a stupid-looking hat that says NEW YORK on it! Sports teams are not fashion statements! A Lakers' hat should not be something you buy simply because it goes with your purple pants - such seemingly innocent purchases end up supporting franchises that routinely get their way (and their championships). And really, why did you buy those purple pants to begin with?!

You want to get deeper? Fine.

When you're watching a game on TV that doesn't involve your team, you need to back whoever helps your team the most. I was born just outside of Sacramento. That region comes with the Kings and all the inherent misery and it comes with the 49ers and the Giants. NEVER THE A'S. Pick one and hate the other. You don't get both. YOU NEVER GET BOTH, BALLHOG. 

So, as I was saying, if I'm watching the most recent NBA finals, and I did, I'm rooting for the Miami Heat on multiple levels.

Level 1: The San Antonio Spurs were the Western Conference Champions coming into that battle. Which means they beat down a mostly-awful Sacramento Kings team to get there. So to Hell with San Antonio from the start.

Level 2: As a long-suffering Sacramento Kings fan, you must hate anything Lakers-related. Their big-market power and admitted-to-cheating-refs crushed our Championship-bound team in 2002 and my heart along with them. Facts are facts - stay with me. Tied into that heartbreak was a lot of disparaging remarks about Sacramento via the entire Lakers organization and their really-rotten fans. These are all things that should make any sane person HATE KOBE BRYANT. 

But back to the 2013-14 Finals. If The Miami Heat had won, it would have given an-in-his-prime LeBron James three rings. Kobe has five. If LeBron gets three, he's halfway to beating my forever-enemy, Kobe Bryant, and that would make my forever-enemy, Kobe Bryant, super mad. See how this works?

And no, I don't care that Tim Duncan got five. Kobe Bryant doesn't care about a tie. Duncan doesn't care about a tie or about breaking it. That old man is done. He hasn't helped my cause a bit.

Side-note: Stop it with the LeBron hating. He's a terrific player. He handled "The Decision" terribly. He has since apologized and the millions of dollars that the TV special created went directly to charity. Also, he has never had any crazy public incidents and he is a family man. Kobe had those Denver allegations. He is generally rude to the media and doesn't accept criticism very well, if at all. He also licks his lips way more than any human being should. How is Kobe completely absolved of those actions and LeBron is still hung out to dry for his?

Sub-note: Sports hate is forever. I don't care what Kershaw did the other night, even if I do live in Los Angeles. I live amongst the enemy. If you argue that I should enjoy an athlete's good performance simply because 'hey, a good performance is a good performance,' then I'm going to argue that you watch sports wrong. Admiring players on rival teams is for your head. I watch with my hateful heart.

Whatever. Back to the last rule.

FANTASY SPORTS. They're great. I love fantasy football. I'm addicted. Have a blast, pick who you want... I guess. I don't touch anyone on the Seahawks or the Cowboys, but that's because I'm doing it right, but whatever - the point I really want to make is this: if you have to decide between your fantasy team winning or your team winning, your REAL-LIFE TEAM, then you pick the real-life team, Dingus!

Look, watching sports doesn't have to be hard, but it shouldn't be soft, either. All I'm asking is that we stop with the willy-nilly and heap on a bigger portion of the nitty-gritty.

Please and thank you...

And if you're a Lakers or Dodgers fan, those closing manners were not for you.