I have a confession to make - I really hate Cal mike men. This is no secret to anyone who’s been around me during Cal football games, to the point that during open mike men tryouts one year I made it my mission to make sure all of those trying out left in tears. And one of them actually did end up crying, though I maintain to this day that he was so god awful that he really deserved it. But I especially hated that one mike man who wasn’t even, you know, a man. I hated Kate most of all. Not because of her enthusiasm, but because she had this annoying trait of congratulating us for everything. It was all us, we were great fans, and, "GOSH DARN IT GUYS, YOU’RE DOING GREAT TODAY!" I was reminded of this when reading Stewart Mandel’s first mailbag of the year, which contained this:
*Thou Shalt Never Refer to One’s Team as "We" or "Us." Unless, of course, the question comes from an active coach or player, which, to the best of my knowledge, has yet to occur.
I’m sure I’ve violated that rule myself, maybe even as recently as my last post, but I’ve always found it especially annoying when the mike men try to attribute things on the field directly to us. I have no idea if this is still happening, but I recall one time during the 2003 season during a third down where Kate exhorted us to stomp, clap, and make loads of noise - which we did - before a stop. Kate then profusely screamed and yelled and said, "THAT WAS ALL YOU, GUYS!" To which I responded, "NO IT WASN’T, IT WAS THEM."
Anyway, to this week’s Mandel Mailbag:
Thanks for your new Fifth Mailbag Commandment. Is anything worse than sports fans referring to their favorite team as "we" or "us?" It’s maddening.
–Keary Floyd, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Your new fifth rule isn’t going to fly. As someone who was raised a Gator, and currently goes to school there, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t claim to be part of the "Gator Nation" and refer to it as "we." Sports teams are representations of the school, and anyone who does or has gone to a certain school is fully allowed to say "we" when talking about their team.
–J.B., West Palm Beach, Fla.
This was the only one of the five commandments that elicited backlash, so I stopped and considered whether there may actually be scenarios in which it would be acceptable for someone not on a team to refer to it as "we." And the answer I came up with was … not in a million years.
Don’t get me wrong, one of the things that makes college sports so much more riveting than the pros (at least in my mind) is the legitimate sense of ownership fans feel when the team in question plays for their school. So I do understand where J.B. is coming from. However, there’s still a significant difference between saying, "My Gators kicked Ohio State’s butt" (I’ve got no problem with that), and, "We kicked Ohio State’s butt." Umm … no you didn’t. You sat in the stands and watched the Gators kick Ohio State’s butt.
Exactly. There’s a reason it’s, "Go Bears!" Not, "Go Us!" And with that, Go Bears.