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Article:A Tribute to My Sports Fandom

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To tell you the truth, ArmchairGM has really changed my life. Before AGM, I didn't know what I was going to end up doing with my life, but the people on here have given me plenty of ideas on what I can do with my life (since I most likely won't make it as an athlete). Before AGM, I was just a sports fan with lots of thoughts, and nowhere to express those thoughts. This site has allowed me to do that. So, no more boredom, if I ever get bored, I know just where to go.

My 15 (almost 16) years of life have pretty much been surrounded by sports, music, and friends.

Life as a Football Fan:

I have been a Football fan for nearly my entire life. Pretty much since the first time I ever saw a Football. My dad is from Pittsburgh (therefore I have been a lifelong Steelers fan), but I have lived my entire life in the same old house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. You know what that means, lots of trash-talking Ravens fans all around me. But, none of that bothered me, even when kids in my school started calling me a bandwagoner around the time the Steelers defeated the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. I really didn't care what they said, I knew I wasn't.

For my 5th birthday, my parents got me a Steelers uniform (you know, those cheap ones for toddlers), and I think I wore it out after a week or two. It came complete with a Kordell Stewart jersey (well, it wasn't actually a jersey, it didn't have anything on the back of it). At that time I didn't really understand the game, but me and my brother loved running around the backyard pretending we did. I dreamed I was Jerome Bettis, and he dreamed he was John Elway. We had this Football video called "Strike Force", which featured some of the best defenses in NFL History (Ex: Steel Curtain, Purple People Eaters, Monsters of the Midway, etc).

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"Slash", and "The Bus" were my two early childhood idols.

I got my first real jersey for Christmas, when I was 8 years old. It was a black Jerome Bettis jersey, my idol. And, that was the same year I went to my first NFL game. It was on October 29th, 2000 in Baltimore. Pittsburgh won 9-6 (it was during the Ravens TD drought), and since then, I have only been to one other NFL game, sadly. The other one I have attended was in Baltimore this year, Week 17. The Steelers were down 27-7 in the 4th QTR, but Pittsburgh attempted a comeback, as Charlie Batch threw 2 TD passes in the 4th, but the comeback fell short. Baltimore won the game 27-21, and just a week later Pittsburgh was knocked out of the playoffs after a 31-29 loss to the Wild Card team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I really did not like Tommy Maddox as the Steelers QB. I just felt that he always found a way to lose the game, no matter what the circumstance. That's why, when I was watching the draft in '04, and saw that Pittsburgh drafted Ben Roethlisberger out of Miami (OH), I was ecstatic. I know this sounds bad, but I am really glad Maddox went down Week 2 against the Ravens (via Terrell Suggs), and Big Ben's historic Rookie Season began. Some of my friends call me "Big Ben", since my name is Ben, and I am a Steelers fan (which makes alot of sense). Since Jerome Bettis retired at the end of SB XL, Ben Roethlisberger is my favorite NFL player, and I love watching him play. He is, by far, the best at avoiding the rush, and my favorite memory from this past season would have to be Pitt's big win over Baltimore on Monday night on November 5th. I must've made at least $30 on that game.

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Big Ben to Hines Ward. The best QB-WR combo in the NFL!!

I plan on attended a game at Heinz Field this year, and I am kinda sad that I have only been able to attend 2 NFL games in my lifetime. My family just doesn't have that kind of money to spend.

My brother, and I weren't allowed (by our parents), to play organized Football until we entered High School, which really hurt us, because everyone else on the team already had experience. But, we just had to settle for Backyard Football (which, for us, was really front-yard football). We had many, many exciting, and fun Football games growing up with my siblings, friends, and neighbors. We had our own rules, and it was almost like Arena Football sometimes. Anyway, going into High School I started weight training with the upper classmen, and working out with them to get into Football shape for the Fall. I went into the season with high-hopes, but after just 3-4 weeks into practice, I went down with a knee injury, and missed half the season. When I finally came back from the injury, I was at the very bottom of the depth chart, and had to work my way back up again. So, I ended up just playing a few minutes each game, and my short-lived Football career was over quickly. The JV team my Freshman year set a School record, going 8-2 under a new head coach. This past year I did not play, but the JV team became the first-ever undefeated (10-0) JV team in School history. The year before (my freshman year), the Varsity became the first-ever 10-0 team in School history.

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The Queen Anne's County JV Football team after defeating rival Kent Island to complete their 8-2 season in 2006. I am in there somewhere.

I guess you can say my brother's success at Football is all because of me. Before I came along, he was in love with animals, but I changed that. I used to be bigger than him, as a kid. But, now am much smaller, and not as smart. I have always been undersized (5 foot 7, 140 pounds), but my JV coaches said I may have been the toughest kid on the team. I guess I get that from my dad, who played Rugby in College. I was given the nickname "Papa Smurf" by my coach (most likely because of my size).

So, my one and only year of HS Football was pretty much a failure. Probably the only good thing that happened to me was having my teammates give me a standing ovation during practice, after catching a short 5-yard out-route. The reason they gave me the "standing o" was because I had finally made a comeback from the injury. Which caused me to give a big sigh of relief. I really didn't think I would have any more problems with it, but that would all soon change...

Baseball Career:

Since I wasn't able to play organized Football until I get to High School, I signed up for T-Ball at a young age, and continued to play the sport until my freshman year of HS. I'd say I had a pretty good Little League career, other than the fact that I wasn't able to play the position I wanted until I was around 13 or 14. Apparently you must have to be a certain size in order to play first base, because I had wanted to be a first baseman my entire life, but my coaches growing up had never put me there. But finally, I had a coach who allowed me to show him my 1B skills, and he must've liked them, because I played the entire season at First, and hit leadoff. So, since then, I have been a first baseman, and I thank that coach alot for finally allowing me to play that position.

I grew up a Pirates fan, but ended up going to Orioles games, since I was just a short hour and a half away from the stadium. I grew up watching the O's on TV, but that doesn't mean I am an O's fan, that just means that Pirates games are never on TV. David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez are my favorite Baseball players, despite them both being Boston Red Sox. I just love the way they play the game, and respect the fans.

Pirateslogo

The Pirates are just 2 games under .500, and are 7-3 in the last 10 games.

Remember when I said I didn't think I would have any more knee troubles? Well, I was wrong. I played JV baseball last year, starting just a few games, since I was behind a 10th grader. Well, against North Caroline one bright, and sunny afternoon, I was playing first base with 2 down, a sharp grounder was coming my way, I dove for it, and knocked it down. Easy out, right? Hah, I had to get to it quickly, because the baserunner was flying down the base-line, I picked it up, and ran over to tag first, but the next thing I knew, I was rolling on the ground holding my knee. I had twisted it on the base, and had to be helped off by the assistant coach. Good news: the runner was out, though many of my teammates thought the runner got there a tad bit before I did. Oh well. I missed only a few games, and was able to return in time for our matchup against the 13-0 Kent County Trojans. And...We beat them!!! That game was the highlight of our season, we ended up going 4-12.

Basketball/Hockey Career:

Well, I never really played Basketball on any sort of team. But, I can beat my brother, and can school alot of my friends. I haven't been a life-long B-ball fan, but I love watching the NBA, and College Hoops. My basketball fandom pretty much started, because of the March Madness tournament 3-4 years ago. I fell in love, and started watching the NBA, as well. I will be cheering on my Detroit Pistons tonight against the Orlando Magic.

As for Hockey: I am not a hockey player either, but I do watch Hockey whenever it's on TV, and I obviously cheer on the Pittsburgh Penguins. I am hoping for a Stanley Cup Championship this year. Sidney Crosby is my favorite NHL player. He is an amazing hockey player, and I respect him alot.

Without Sports....

Where would we be in life?? After sharing all of those memories with you guys, I really don't think I would have a very exciting life without sports. I can't see me making a living off of anything, except a sports-related career. I really love playing fantasy sports (mainly Football, and Baseball), and started collecting Football, and Baseball cards at a very young age, say maybe 7-8. I now have well over 1,000 Football, and 1,000 Baseball cards in my collection. Which includes a Kurt Warner autograph, and countless rookie cards.

A special thanks to Agent0, and MegECass110 for their great articles about their sports fandom, which inspired me to write my own.


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