‘We’ Are The Champions: In Defense Of Referring To Your Team In First Person Plural

We’ve all experienced it: You’re with a few coworkers talking about last night’s home game. And inevitably, out of sheer reflex or instinct, you say something like “we just didn’t have it” or “we look pretty good heading into the All-Star break.”

And then Rod from accounting, over by the coffee machine, chimes in with some smug remark along the lines of “Oh, ‘we’? So you’re on the team now? I must have missed that,” thinking it’s the most clever f***ing comment ever made.

My apologies, Rod. I forgot, you and the rest of the We Wardens believe that fans who discuss teams using the first person plural obviously have some deep-seated issues. That such fans don’t know how to keep an emotional distance from these coalitions of brutes playing children’s games. That such fans yearn to “belong” to something. That by saying “we,” the dimwitted rooters pathetically convince themselves they are on the team, that they actually affect the games’ outcomes.

No. Just, NO. It has nothing to do with that, Rod. Mainly, we say “we” because it’s shorthand. It’s a contraction without being a contraction. Tell me, is Spike Lee to say “the New York Knickerbockers” every time he refers to them? “Golly, don’t you think the fellows on the team for which we cheer played well today? I certainly hope the squad that invites our rooting interest makes the playoffs this year! Huzzah!”

Using anything other than that biased two-letter word is a ludicrous waste of breath. The only people who shouldn’t use it are broadcasters and sportswriters (save for Bill Simmons, natch). Saying “we” is a mere efficiency tool, which should be lauded now more than ever, this being the age of shortcuts and ubiq abbrevs. I mean what’s next, you’re gonna tell us to stop using our smartphones to figure out how much I have to tip, or to stop saying things like “fro-yo” or “natch”? That, Rod, is a load of shism (short for fascism).

Even if using “we” weren’t a matter of efficiency, it still makes sense (especially in Green Bay, where all residents are part-owners of the Packers). Say you’re talking about sports with your dad. Not to get all “Field of Dreams” on you, but such conversations carry sentimental value because we, the royal we, bond over the shared experiences of watching OUR team. We recap the games with our relatives. We argue about lineups with our friends. We burn cop cars with our neighbors. This unites us, we become pieces of our fanbase’s giant Voltron.

So no, Your Royal Weenus, we don’t lace up our cleats for these teams. We don’t sit in the war room during the draft. We don’t get to attend seafaring sex parties. But we, collectively, observe and analyze and obsess over the team. Our tax dollars pay for their stadiums. Our hard-earned other dollars buy their tickets and jerseys and hats.

And also, we’re too lazy to say a word with more than two letters. So it’s “WE won.” Or “WE sucked.” Or, for Cleveland Browns/Cavs/Indians fans, “WE are a ceaseless exercise in futility.” End of argument.