In Defense of the Personal Pronoun

As it usually does, watching the Pro Bowl is giving me a stroke. To remedy this, I will attempt to do my AP Language and Composition teacher proud with a FanPost.

Recently in my browsing of the web for soccer-related videos, I came across a clip from a British comedy show poking fun at the personal attachment "football" fans have to the teams they follow. As sports fans, we have a tendency to use the personal pronoun "we" when referring to the things our favorite teams have done. I've been criticized by my extremely sheltered younger cousin for using "we" when talking about past accomplishments of the Mariners (eg We won 116 games in 2001) but using "they" when referring to upcoming games (eg They're playing again tomorrow). It's a hard point to rebut, usually one I answer by saying "I feel a strong connection to the team," but there's a lot behind both the argument and the counter-argument.

Using the pronoun "we" to refer to our team's accomplishments is a sign of our personal connection to the Sounders. As Dave's signature states, "I am not a Supporter | I am not a Fan | I am a Sounder." It's something the authors here (and I myself) believe honestly and thoroughly, that we the fans are indeed part of the team. Sometimes, it's hard for non-soccer people to understand, so I will lay it out for them simply in this FanPost.

For context, give two and a half minutes of your time to this YouTube clip:

(SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Reading the comment section may cause your brain to regress in intelligence)

In addition to poking fun at fair-weather fans (an enjoyable past-time for all), Ray Mitchell (the glasses-wearing non-football fan) criticizes Colin Webb's use of "we" when referring to Liverpool, saying "We? WE?! You weren't on the pitch!" Maybe not, but let's think about professional sports for a moment. The money used to pay for players and coaches in the soccer world comes from the owners. The owners usually are fairly rich and can afford to pay quite a bit of money to sustain the team, but no owner will want to spend money without getting a return on his/her investment. Where does the owner get this return? The fans. Through ticket sales, merchandise, and advertising dollars, soccer teams make a lot of money from their fans. In turn, the players and coaches are making the fans' money. Hence, the fans are an integral part of the team, and deserve to use "we" when referring to it.

Still, Ray Mitchell points out that the same argument could be made for referring to characters in movies we like as "we". While I would like to just outright dismiss the argument here because nobody ever actually refers to movie characters as "we", I have to address it. The reason it's different is mostly because movies aren't real. The characters aren't competing against other "teams". There is no chance that those other teams will win. Also, the characters are really actors. Sports are real competitions, competitions with winners and losers. They invoke a much more personal connection than movies. It is that personal connection that leads to the personal pronoun when referring to the team.

Sports are a unique beast in our world, a business that seems pointless to those on the outside looking in, and absolutely essential to those of us on the inside looking out. If you're not raised with them in your life, they can seem pointless and stupid. However, they fulfill a basic need for a lot of us, and they give us reason to be excited. Maybe that's superfluous, but I believe in sports. I am a Sounder.

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of Sounder at Heart.

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