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With the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals just now concluding, many sports fans have had to face the dubious task of who to root for now that their team missed the playoffs or got knocked out.

There are fans who just cheer for their team, and could care less about the greater excitement the actual sport provides.  For them, it doesn’t matter.  But for others, this process of team selection can be either very technical in nature or rather whimsical.  In my case, I need to cheer for someone, and it makes the results more interesting.

Now, my main sport of interest is hockey.  Suffice to say, I am a Toronto Maple Leaf fan to boot.  How I chose my team?  It was chosen by divine right (whoever my older brother cheered for, I cheered for) and solidified by also being the local team during my formative years.  I have had to hone my back up selections over the last few years, and here I present my method and rationale. 

When Toronto is no longer alive in the playoffs, I have to root for a Canadian team (country trumps all).  The next team I root for is the one closest to my birth city, which happens to be the Calgary Flames. Next, the Edmonton Oilers as they are in the same province.  Vancouver Canucks because they aren’t really a rival nor do I have any affiliation with the province.  Due to Montreal being a historical rival, they take fifth, followed by Ottawa (a newly emerging division and provincial rival of my home team).

After exhausting Canadian teams, I find myself rooting for any team playing against teams I absolutely hate (New York Rangers—you either love them or hate them) and the Philadelphia Flyers (purely because they are goons and the fact that Bobby Clarke was closely affiliated with them). Finally, the last tier is based purely on the number of Canadian players listed in the official roster.

I have caught a lot of heat from my colleagues, especially since I was rooting against the Red Wings during the Stanley Cup finals.  But hey, you have to stick to your guns so to speak and stay strong.

Is my method of selection crazy? Sure. Does it make sense?  Probably only to me.  However, we all gravitate to teams and cities we have ties too (or teams based on pure hatred). 

Many of the same principles can be applied to university/college teams.  School rivals must be cheered against at all cost, but perhaps forgiven when it’s a question of division superiority.  For example, my hatred of University of Michigan can be tempered when it comes to a question of a Big Ten team facing a team from another conference.

In baseball, after the Blue Jays, I find myself offering positive thoughts for the Detroit Tigers by virtue of community ties.

How did you come to cheer for your favourite team.  How do you pick your teams after your favorite one is knocked out?  Peace everyone, and let the summer sports season begin!

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