We, Us, I, and then some. Pronouns, mixed with their arch enemy, Proper Nouns, can be a sinister and delicate bunch of instigators separating the realists from the loyalists. They create unnecessary tension between the closest of friends, especially when it comes to sports.
I belong to an elite group of A-holes. Rather than “elite”, perhaps I should use the word, “select”, or even go as far as to say, “pretentious”. As a lifelong advocate for rooting athletic teams to victory, I refuse, when pulling for a team in our region, to say, “Gosh, WE really kicked the stalactites out of the those guys yesterday, didn’t we?” Since I didn’t suit up for the team that day, or physically participate, I don’t recognize myself as being part of said team. With due respect, I speak of the wins and losses equally.
The Pacific Northwest losses:
Me: “The Mariners are on an eighteen game losing streak. These ten dollar beers aren’t worth showing up to watch them lose. I’m staying home until they decide to win a game.”
Fan: “We just lost eighteen straight games. I can’t believe we don’t have a closer. I could pitch better than these guys.”
Me: “Well, the Cougars blew another twenty point lead, only to lose again in the fourth quarter. This cheap beer was almost worth watching three hours of suspended anguish.”
Fan and Cougar Graduate: “I can’t believe we blew another lead. Our beer is even flat.”
Me: “If the Seahawks are winning, this city is much happier, but why do these fans insist on spilling ten dollar beers on my wife and me?”
Fan: “Did we lose!!!??? Oh, crap! I should have been paying closer attention. Sorry about spilling a beer on your wife, dude.”
Me: “The Cougs and Huskies both won on the same weekend. That’s unusual. It would be nice to see them both ranked in the top twenty. Let’s celebrate by drinking two beers manufactured and brewed by other people in the Pacific Northwest. They sure do make quality beverages. We had nothing to do with this hoppy flavor, but let’s raise a glass to them as well.”
Husky Fan: “I can’t believe we pulled out that win this weekend. The Cougars also won. They suck. What’s up with that?”
Cougar Fan: “We kicked butt this weekend. The Huskies won as well? Screw the Huskies.”
I have followed the Cougars, Huskies, Mariners, Seahawks, and former Seattle Super Sonics for almost forty years. During those years, I’ve never purchased a jersey representing those teams, but I have invested in a mother load of hats, game tickets, beer, and time justifying my stance as a true supporter. I just don’t choose to use the term “We” when referring to the teams, and I feel somewhat vilified for not doing so. You could argue, as a Washington State University Graduate, I choose not to use “We”, because I’m not particularly proud of their athletic history. I’d rather maintain I just have some silly principals, or petty pet peeves, only few understand.
It is my opinion that a good friend of mine abuses his right to say “We” when referring to every college or professional team in the Pacific Northwest. He did attend the University of Washington for a year, transfer to play tennis at Eastern Washington University, and remains a Cougar, and Gonzaga faithful, because he still has a valid Washington Green card. I wish I had that passion and positive grassroots attitude.
The same friend, we’ll refer to him as Craig, called me the other day to apologize. Myself being a professional apologizer, sincerely dealing them out like blackjack cards on a monthly basis, I was surprised, and somewhat nefariously excited to hear his act of contrition. It was similar to a gift you don’t expect or lobby for during the gifting season.
Craig has been teaching Science for twenty years, and is well respected by his peers and, most importantly, his students. Devoting years to establish impeccable credentials, he, additionally, is willing to adapt to the culture of the modern smart ass phone pupil. Respectfully, he is not willing to accept the blame for his forefathers, and be part of their team.
Clearly frustrated, he called me with regard to a mandatory class he attended introducing a new topic required to be integrated into his class and others’ throughout the State of Washington. Native American Culture was the topic, and they discussed how they could properly infuse Native American culture with the current Science curriculum. With an open mind and heart, my friend embraced it, with one exception. He took exception to the instructor, a whitey, using the pronoun, “We” each time she spoke of the atrocities the whites bestowed upon the Native Americans. Each time she would use, “We”, he was offended, thinking, “Hey, lady, what occurred then was despicable, but I wasn’t playing for that team.” On a much deeper level, he finally understood my stance.