So I just got out of a heated discussion with my roommates afters referring to something about the Flyers as "we". Now, I firmly believe that the fans, however little influence they have, are a part of the organization, and thus have the right to say "we". I.e. if when the Phils won the 2008 World Series, a fan from Philadelphia would be correct in saying, "Yeah, we won in '08."
Now, my roommates (from Boston, incidentally) are adamant that fans have absolutely no part in anything that the organization does. They advocate that you can "support" a team, but at no point can you refer to yourself as a "we" with the team. Case in point (according to them) the players play for their contract only, and they switch teams via free agency as they wish.
I call bull****. Fans are definitely a part of the team, and so much so that they have *earned* the right to be a "we" when discussing them in day-to-day conversation.
I feel that this is a very good question, I often catch myself wondering the same thing. Unfortunately, I rarely slip up and do refer to myself as part of "We" when referring to the teams that I follow. Most often, to be safe, I say "they" when referring to the team that I have a vested interest in.
However, in general, we as fans, are not part of the organization. I feel that the only people that have "earned" the right to associate themselves as a part of victory or defeat are the people on the official payroll of the organization. Sure fans line organizations with hefty cash donations for entertainment, but as seen with the lockout, "we" as fans did not lose our livelihood for a year. "We" as fans merely lost a form of entertainment, which was quickly filled by the ever-growing connections via the social network, other sports, or family time. Sports is entertainment, it is just like the Super Hero movie, the reality television show, or the music video because these people have so much more athletic, artistic, and linguistic talent than all of us on this board put together. The % of people that go professional in sports is so tiny, either athletes themselves or coaches or GMs, that they have earned the exclusive right to only refer to themselves as "we", while fans should use "they". We as fans have a very little impact upon a game being that Joe Schmo doesn't bury a goal, block a shot, or kick a game winning field goal. Sure home field/ice is meaningful at key points of a game, but the overwelming reason many teams do so well at home is because they are in a more comfortable surrounding and get to engage in their daily pre-game rituals without the stress of flying across the country.
The only time a fan should refer to "we" in a sporting sense is in the company wide softball game where "we" beat the accountants...which probably isn't much of an accomplishment.
As seen with the ESPN documentary "Catching Hell" that aired this week, most people take their sports way too seriously and seek a scapegoat to explain their misfortunes. Hooligans don't like to blame the players on the field or ice because they feel that their superhuman idols can do no wrong, which means that a made up super natural curse is the ONLY explanation for a loss.
It is important to understand the role of perspective and as Colin Cowherd, a man who has a career in sports, constantly states: "Love your kids, Love your wife, Like Sports." Get some perspective people.
I don't care about using "we" or the "Flyers." I try to use the "Flyers" but often will say "we." The reason I try not to say "we" is because I met Howard Cross once (former NY Giants TE) and he went off on this huge thing about how much the players hate when fans say "we." Could just be football players, but I got what he was saying.
However I feel at the time comes out of my mouth. We as fans put monetary and emotional investment in our teams, and thus feel like we're part of the team. Obviously we have little control over the way they play, the moves they make, and if they decide to move, but sports exist for a reason.
I tend to just talk. I don't really care. I'm just talking. It certainly isn't hurting anyone. Unless your a clone and bow to the alter of Jim Rome as he makes fun of the fans who wear jerseys, call their team "we", etc. I like his show, but I disagree with him on this and plenty of other takes.
I do not use the term "we" when associating myself with a sports team. Think about, when the Flyers win a game, "We" didnt win anything, we cheered, we are happy, but "we" had NO part in the actual efforts of winning, or losing for that matter. Even those in the Building. Sure you may have had an influence on the motivation of a player etc by cheering loud, and in that case its normal to feel more apart of the victory, but still at no point in time are you in any way associated with the organization from a standpoint suggesting "we".
Someone already alluded to it, we are fans are not on the payroll, nor can a team choose who its fans are.
If you are a huge fan of Quentin Terintino (sp?) and he makes a great movie that claims top earnings in the box office, do you go around and say "We had the best movie etc etc"?
No you don't, and its because you are not apart of in any way the creation of the product, you just took part in the entertainment of it.
Same can be said about something like cereal. You have bought a box a cherios every week or two your whole life, obviously a huge fan, but when they come out with a new flavour, do you say "we came out with a new flavour"? No you don't.
Sports franchises are no different, they are businesses with contributing members (Payroll staff) as well as those who love the product, cheer for it at all levels, are faithful to it, much like people are to food products, clothing brands, movie directors etc. But you are still 100% unassociated with that brand from a business perspective aside from purchasing the goods, or entertainment value.
Some organizations will say the fans are part of the organization, and everyone is right, it is the fans that allow the organization to survive, to exist, but at the end of the day, we as fans do not win games, we do not make decisions, we do not do anything for the team but show up and watch what they're putting out, because we as "FANS" are loyal.
At the same time, when someone says "we" it doesnt bother me at all. The above is just why IMO I don't refer to myself as "We".
If you do, feel free to continue, it doesnt and wont bother me.
I use "we" constantly but I also think it's silly to consider us to be "part of the organization". We are not. However, the team/organization does identify itself with OUR city, therefore, we can identify ourselves with them.
Paul Jolowicz on WIP sports radio rips people on this all the time. Unless your name is on the roster, you shouldn't refer to a team as "we" according to Jolly. He makes it a point to mention he went to Penn almost every broadcast by the way.
Coach Reid: There is no "I" in team.
Desean Jackson: Yeah, but there is "me", aiiight????
That's a way for fans to connect to a team and a community, more so in times of when teams are successful or winning. It's nearly universal for team or sport and isn't limited to a select fanbase.
Those same fans will generally say "They suck" in times of despair but "We win" when things go swimmingly.
Back in the early days of cable TV, a now-defunct financial channel broadcast sports on the weekends and there was a straight-laced talk host who would disconnect people when they said "We" or "What do you think about...?" It was humorous.
I do not use the term "we" when associating myself with a sports team. Think about, when the Flyers win a game, "We" didnt win anything, we cheered, we are happy, but "we" had NO part in the actual efforts of winning, or losing for that matter.
If you buy a bond or a stock, do you have any direct influence on the managers and employees of a company outperforming the past years goals? No, correct? But are you in fact a part of 'we'? Yes, hell you will even get sent letters from the company, business reports, plans and everything as such referring to you as 'we' and such. As others point out, we buy the jerseys, the tickets, the merchandise, which influences the team.
Granted, thats equity and debt positioning, but it's still not like buying a PS3 or something, as this product we are purchasing and supporting is entirely local, based in one area. If the Atlanta Thrashers were located in Philly, wouldnt WE have lead them to be a better team and still exist and such?
That said, for some reason I just never have said 'we' when referring to a sports team, but I can understand the reasoning behind it.