How to keep your fandom strong behind enemy lines

On Sunday, the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots accounted for the most memorable night in Boston sports history.

For Bostonians, this weekend was heart stopping. Like defibrillator-in-the-ambulance heart stopping.

No championship was won, and no records were set, but boy was Sunday a night to remember. Within about four hours of one another, Kenbrell Thompkins reeled in a game-winning touchdown pass from Tom Brady to beat the New Orleans Saints, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia swatted a game-winning single that scored Johnny Gomes and tied the ALCS at 1-1.

The only problem is that living outside of New England while this was going on was like watching your grandmother on the inside of that ambulance being defibrillated and not being able to do a thing about it until she suddenly jumps up and smiles, looking absolutely healthy.

It is tough to watch the game surrounded by enemies. The ‘Hawks-Bruins Stanley Cup wounds still sting with fresh pain every time someone talks about Chicago’s only successful pro sports team. Once the Red Sox move on to the World Series to face the Cardinals (bold predictions come free here at The Daily Illini), it will be even tougher, as the Cardinals hold some vestige of home-field advantage in Illinois.

Regardless of what team you root for, here is a set of rules you can follow to help your long-term relationship with your teams. As for Chicago fans, we get it, half of the U of I is from the suburbs, no one needs to see your countless Patrick Kane jerseys.

1. Be loud, as loud as possible. 

If you are a Cardinals fan, you ought to be whooping it up whenever they score, and your entire residence hall or apartment should know when the game is over by your shrill shrieks of joy. Especially now, with the Cardinals on the brink of the World Series and all Chicago teams occupying large houses in the town of Mediocrity, making lots of noise is encouraged. Same if you are a fan for a team other than the Bulls. Passion for the Bulls seems to be the most prominent of any sport in Chi-town (it’s like they had the greatest player ever or something), and there is no better way to piss off Chicagoans than by teasing them about Derrick Rose’s knee.

2. Wear your colors. 

Flags are appropriate for dorm room windows. Sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, jackets and underwear are all encouraged. Don’t ever stop reminding people that you are a fan for a team that isn’t from the Windy City.

3. Be RELENTLESS on social media. 

Change your profile picture to your favorite player, your cover photo to their home stadium/arena, and make sure that you display your love for your team with every status update and every tweet. Live-tweeting the action from your futon while watching the game is perfectly acceptable. Just make sure you only tweet the good things. You shoot yourself in the foot by talking about things that hurt your team.

4. Try to find at least one other fan of your team. 

As long as there are two of you in a room, you always have a high-five buddy. A high-five buddy is crucial, especially when watching in a hostile environment. The two of you can defend anything your team does, unlike when you have to watch something as your team’s only supporter. When you don’t go with a buddy, there is no one to watch your back when you say something stupid about your team. This is probably the most important rule.

5. Be loud.

OK, so I guess volume is actually the most important rule. In your travels, I hope you find these rules to be helpful, and when in doubt, watching by yourself is always a safe option. At least that way you won’t cry in front of everyone when your team loses. Happy fandom!

Peter is a freshman in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells22.