Is one allowed to support a second team?`
This weekend, I watched the Heineken Cup Final in the company of herself. An engaging game, it was good to see Leinster win and cap a truly remarkable year for Irish rugby. The other half had ‘butterflies’ coming near the end of the game but I can’t say that I did. Did I want Leinster to win? Sure. Success for Ireland is success for Ireland. Did I care whether Leinster won? Not really.
I’m a proud Galwegian who spends most of his time in Limerick, the home of Munster rugby and a place where one is expected to support the local team. As someone who’s spent the last six years in college there and thus with a number of other people who have migrated into Munster, I’ve been surprised by the way in which the Stags have been adopted by people from outside the province. “How can you not support Munster?” they ask, incredulously. Well, because I’m from Connacht.
To say that the life of a Connacht rugby supporter is depressing is at best a compliment. We can (and do) make excuses as to why, but Connacht’s Magners League record isn’t the best. Or even the second-worst. Yet we don’t choose the ones we love, or so the saying goes, so I will continue to support them vigorously until the Grim Reaper decides I’ve had enough.
But should I support a second team? Should anyone? While I like to see Irish football clubs and rugby teams etc. do well in international competition, I don’t know if I should support them. It’s a dilemma. Can one like a team that they sometimes compete against? Should I cheer when Dricco scores a try or when Rog kicks a penalty? Or, for that matter, when a soccer player for a team other than Manchester United scores a goal, just because I have some sympathies for his team?
Is it socially acceptable to like more than one team or is a die-hard sports fan a fan of one side per sport/league and no more? I’ve always been a bit sceptical of people who say that they like more than one team but, as Hellie’s butterflies fluttered more and more as the final whistle drew near, I wondered if I was missing out on something by being so close-minded. I still don’t know if I am.