Should we ‘WE’?
File this under “Dumb-Ass Crap I’ve Been Thinking About For A Long Time”.
It’s not a Padres post. It’s not even a baseball post.
The Question: Should a fan ever use the pronoun “we” when talking about his/her favorite team?
The Fake Fan Quote Examples:
“Dammit, we should have won that game”
“We won the Superbowl”
“If we can just punt a little better in the second half…”
“I sincerely anticipate that we will compete in the sport of cricket in a more efficient fashion at some point in the near future”
The Answer (Part I): …TO THE INTERNETS… I did a Google search on this term: “using ‘we’ with sports teams”.
The first thing I notice…. there are a million blog posts already written on this topic…. well, screw you, here’s another.
The second thing I notice… most people write about this topic with the emphatic opinion that you should NEVER-EVER use “we” when talking about your sports teams.
Grantland.com has basically taken over the pop-culture/sports world (Lobshots is right on their heals) and here is what Chris Jones had to say in 2011:
“Here’s the deal: If you don’t play for, or you are not an employee of, the team in question, “we” is not the pronoun you’re looking for.”
There are other, less illustrious websites with similar views: It’s no surprise when someone from a website called mybiggestcomplaint.com has this to say:
“There ain’t no “We” either unless you are on the team or somehow associated with the team in some official capacity.”
The strongest stance I have come across was written by Josh Houchins at NBC local news “WGEM, The Tri-State’s News Leader” (ok, I live in San Diego. Where the hell are these “tri” states? I suspect it’s Washington, Oregon, Idaho. Second guess: South Dakota, North Dakota, Canada) anyway, here’s the quote from NBC / TRI State / Linguistics expert; Josh Houchins:
“I do not use [we] in any manner. I do not use [we] when talking about schools/colleges I have attended. Are you part of the team? Are you shooting free throws during practice to be the go-to guy in the clutch? Are you tossing batting practice? No. You’re officially not part of the team.”
Mr. Tri-State, who does not know the difference between ‘a part’ and ‘part’, makes the classic point: We (us, you, me), in fact, do not play for “The Team”.
A month ago, the site Neon Tommy had this to say (to answer your question, Neon Tommy is a Digital News site affiliated with USC, that’s “what the hell” Neon Tommy is):
“If I have one pet peeve in life that has no impact on the real world, it is the use of the word “we” by fans”
Note: The use of “we” is this writer’s one, single pet peeve for issues not impacting the “real world” (whatever the eff that means). Thus, if you were to unfold a giant, old-timey roadmap of Los Angeles, then point to Westwood and say “isn’t that where the best school in LA is located?”, and then proceed to fold this map incorrectly into a giant mess (side note: people who attend USC CANNOT stand it if you fold a map incorrectly) … Still… still… the use of “we” would be more annoying to this writer….I’m just clarifying
ANY-WHOO, to summarize, most people found in this Google search believe strongly that you should never use “we”. But, this is something we call publication bias. People who are ok with the use of ‘we’ or those who have never even thought about it are highly unlikely to write about it. Therefore, the vast majority of “published” articles will be of the extreme opinion.
So, the question remains “should WE use ‘we’?”
The Answer (Part II): In my next post, I will highlight the responses of an informal poll I took of several sports bloggers/writers (and one professional athlete) and I will give my personal thoughts on the matter. Also, we will have our own readers’ poll on the subject. Stay Tuned.