Thursday is a big day for me. Not because of Thanksgiving food, not because I get to spend my day surrounded by my awesome family but because the Edmonton Oilers have a game against the Nashville Predators. Yes, I acknowledge that the Oilers suck, and no, I don't care.
I know that Max is going to go off on me for this, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm a Boston Bruins fan through and through and if the Oilers and Bruins played each other in any situation I'd be cheering for the B's. That said when these two teams aren't playing one another I see no reason why I shouldn't get fired up when Taylor Hall buries one from the slot? Why shouldn't I cheer when Devan Dubnyk makes a sprawling save (rare as that may be)? And for that matter why shouldn't I get fired up when Drew Brees fires a strike to Jimmy Graham when he finds a seam?
I cheer for these teams because as much as I love the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, and Bruins, I love sports even more. Cheering for the Oilers, the New Orleans Saints or even the Pittsburgh Pirates doesn't make me less of a Boston Sports fan, it makes me more of a sports fan.
When I cheer for Edmonton, I'm cheering for a team that plays an entirely different style than the Bruins. It's entertaining to watch a team that doesn't have the defensive discipline or physical presence of the B's. I'm watching a team that is entirely reliant on their offensive skill and talent which is staggering, to say the least. Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky; the list goes on and on.
When I cheer for the Saints, I'm cheering for a team that rallied a city around it in the face of overwhelming tragedy, much like the Red Sox did this past year for the City of Boston. Brees is one of the classiest athletes in all of sports and does more for charity than just about any athlete. You can say all you want about Bountygate but the whole thing got blown out of proportion and the team paid the price.
When it comes down to it, sports are entertaining no matter who is playing them. If you're a fan of a sport, you have an interest in the game. For many reasons - some personal, some trifling, some foolish - people get vested in sports. This doesn't mean that people don't have preferences or priorities, but rather that they can't help but be a fan.
I'm going to sit down tomorrow night with a stomach full of turkey, stuffing and general goodness to watch the Oilers take down the Preds in grand fashion... or lose by five goals. Regardless, I'll be watching, because I like the Oilers. Because they aren't playing the Bruins. And because no matter who is playing, it's hockey.