In order to explain this story, I'll have to first provide a small bit of background information. I come from a very large family which is about 90% Red Sox fans. My grandfather raised his five children to be Red Sox fans, and in turn those children have raised almost all of their thirty or so children to be Red Sox fans. There is one exception.
One of my uncles has never been a large baseball fan so he didn't really instill Red Sox allegiance in any of his kids. And so only one of his sons has grown up to become a Red Sox fan while the other son roots for the Yankees. Most of us live in New York so that's nothing out of the ordinary.
The two sons, on opposite sides of the rivalry are around the ages of sixteen and seven. The older is a Red Sox fan while the younger prefers the Yankees. At our Christmas gathering earlier today, the elder son was picking on his younger brother. He was telling him how the Yankees are slowly falling apart year by year, and how if he wants to enjoy a team he should switch over to the Red Sox.
So what did I do? I told the younger kid, "no, you should be a Yankees fan." I explained how the Yankees have an incredible history and no one should be ashamed to root for them. Then I said how the team you grow up rooting for is sacred. Once you pick a team, you should stick with them because one of the greatest things in baseball is the loyalty their fans typically display towards their teams.
And I truly believe that. I'm not sure how much my younger cousin understood of what I said, given his age. But I've never been one to try to "convert" people to being Red Sox fans. Have I influenced a few former girlfriends to root for the "good guys"? Sure, but I let them choose on their own whether or not to follow baseball and most of them have chosen to support my love of the Red Sox, often becoming involved in the team themselves.
It's a love of the game that matters most, before allegiances to any team. At least that's what I've always believed.