Let’s just start with how much I love sports.

There are few things in this world that socially make it acceptable for a grown man or woman scream at the top of their lungs and bear hug strangers all around them. Social barriers that don’t allow us to connect with strangers go right out the window when it comes to sports. I’ve high fived, chest bumped, laughed, and even cried with random people that I sat next to for games that could last 3 hours or more.

Growing up in Southern California, I had a favorite team for almost every sport. Football is the University of Notre Dame and the New England Patriots. Basketball is the Los Angeles Lakers. Hockey is the Los Angeles Kings. And finally, baseball is the Los Angeles Dodgers. I’ve been spoiled and am very grateful for many championships from my Lakers, Kings and Patriots squads. I’m still waiting for my Dodger and Notre Dame championships (THIS IS THE YEAR BABY) but patience is a virtue.

Well, it’s finally your turn Vegas. On June 22, the NHL officially announced that it would be expanding to 31 teams. Las Vegas, with its brand new T-Mobile Arena, was chosen as the location of the incoming expansion team over Quebec City! This is a monumental move for Las Vegas to finally join in and take that next step in becoming a major sports market and destination. Some critics have been saying it won’t work in Vegas because “It’s a frontrunner town.” or “If they don’t win, nobody will care.” I beg to differ. I believe in you Vegas. I think you have the tools to be an incredible destination for an athlete or team. I’ll help give you 3 simple tips for supporting your team.

  1. Know Your Team

Every sport is more enjoyable when you know who you are watching. Learn every player’s name, height and weight, education, hometown, jersey number, playing style etc. Once you know your players, you can move onto the coaches and front office executives. I personally guarantee every game becomes that much more exciting and you can begin to form that bond with your team.

  1. Enjoy the Process

Sorry Vegas. Not just any team wins a Stanley Cup in the blink of an eye. Rome wasn’t built in a day and this team won’t be either. I’m not saying that this hockey team won’t be able to compete, but I’ll be shocked if they’re world beaters on the ice their first season. For example, I’m a Notre Dame fan. I know that we haven’t won a championship in 28 years, and I’m only 21 years old! From 2005 – 2008 & from 2012 – present, the Lakers were and have been getting walloped all year and the fan base’s only glimmer of hope was a man who just ended his career this past April. The Lakers only won 17 games this year in an 82 game season, and I found water coming down my cheeks as I watched Kobe Bryant and my childhood walk out of the Staples Center tunnel. Learn to find the good out of the bad Vegas. It can mean everything one day knowing that you were there through it all and your victories will taste that much sweeter.

  1. Till Death Do You Part

Love and stay with your team. Nobody goes undefeated in professional sports. Be realistic with what your team’s chances are. Staying with a team creates another thing to look forward to every year. Don’t join in to the “bandwagon” era by picking the best team and claiming you’re a fan. Bring your family and friends. Meet people at the games. My girlfriend Cassandra was never into sports until I started taking her to games and watching them at home with her. I’ve since watched my Patriots win a Super Bowl on a miraculous interception, my Kings win a 2nd Stanley Cup with a championship winning goal, and my childhood hero turn back the clock for the Lakers just one more time and drop 60 points in his last basketball game ever. And these all happened as she sat next to me holding my hand. Those are lasting memories that we made because of sports.

These tips can make you love your team in a heartbeat. Sports can bring people together and make impacts on our lives when we share the memories with the people that we love. So please, love your team Las Vegas! They need you just as much as you need them. Cheers.

Submitted by – Brandon Younger