The "Us vs. Them" Theory: Why It's Okay To Use It

Ever have a conversation about your favorite [insert sport here] team with someone and the conversation starts to get pretty intense? In the middle of your heated debate, you found yourself pulling away from the words, "they" and start to use the term, 'us," like you're a part of what goes on on the field. It's not long before you find someone that gives you the following look:

First off, you have to chill from that scowl, before you get windmilled. Second, I've heard people many a time say they don't believe in the "Us vs. Them" theory, because they don't run the plays, they don't call the plays and they don't get paid like their favorite sports figures do. I disagree with that logic. If you're a fan, you have everything to do with your team's success.

If you're one of the people who choose to stay away from using  "Us vs. Them," I totally understand. If you physically aren't a part of what's going on, you choose to look at it from a perspective of someone that sits in the bleachers and stays there, mind and body. I respect that, but don't knock those, like myself, who like to use the theory. It actually applies better than you think.

Case in point: my family are Ravens season ticket holders; been that way since the Ravens came to town in 1996. In 1998, the Ravens moved from crappy, yet nostalgic Memorial Stadium to then-PSINet Stadium (now called M&T Bank Stadium), which meant you had to buy a PSL (personal seat license), in addition to season tickets. My father's and uncle's names are on a plaque right outside of the stadium, honoring them for their monetary contribution. My family also buys team apparel every single year and goes to every single game at home. If the Ravens are eligible for a home playoff game, they would purchase those as well (which is separate, and the prices are slightly increased) and help their team with a victory by making the most noise they possibly can when the defense gets on the field. We're rabid fans; loud and proud.

In my mind, it's pretty simple:  without our money that we've invested in PSLs, season tickets and apparel, the Ravens wouldn't be able to make the roster moves they've been able to make. Sure, they would have still drafted the likes of Jonathon Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. Their order in the draft doesn't change that. However, all of these guys are potential Hall Of Famers. Once their rookie contract was up and "the big one" was next in line, they had to have the monetary resources in order for them to keep them here.

For every ticket I bought, for every hat, hoodie or jacket I donned, I played an intricate role in keeping those guys here when it was time for a new deal.

For every time we walked into M&T Bank Stadium and yelled to the top of our lungs when opposing offenses tried to convert a first down, but needed to call a timeout because the noise was so deafening, I played an intricate part in that.

For every expensive-ass beer, pizza and pretzel I bought while enjoying my favorite team play, I played a part in the additions to the stadium and making it a place that players would beg to play in.

The part that many don't understand is you are a part of your team's success, just from an indirect perspective. Do I put on shoulder pads and cleats and run out of the tunnel? Of course not. I'm a woman, I know my place in life *flips bang*. But without my financial, physical and emotional support, the players wouldn't get paid what they do and they wouldn't enjoy the home field advantage like they do (the Ravens are one of the best home teams in the league, since 2000.) If the fans don't support, the teams suffer, which means the sport suffers.

We all know that the term "fan" is short for "fanatic". It's not unusual for fans to do and say some crazy things for the love of their team and for some serious adrenaline. But using the term "us" isn't over-the-top. The truth is, without "us," there is no "them" anyway. We're a part of the big picture, too. Let "us" cook...with "them."

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