ABOUT THE SPORTSNOTEBOOK
TheSportsNotebook offers daily commentary, historical perspective and predictions you can confidently bet against. We cover baseball, college & pro action in football and basketball, along with hockey and a little bit of NASCAR. Visit us daily, check out our historical museum , listen to a podcast, or just get one take on the rules for being a sports fan.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Dan Flaherty founded TheSportsNotebook in 2009 and currently lives in the area of Milwaukee, WI after having spent 13 years out east, living in Pittsburgh & Baltimore, experiencing both ends of one of the NFL’s hottest rivalries. His college sports loyalties still lie with Wisconsin, both football and basketball. He’s been a Wisconsin football fan since at least 1980, when he attended his first game at Camp Randall and somewhere in his parents’ house is probably his 1987 paper insisting that Don Morton would take the school to the Rose Bowl. It took a little while longer for hoops to join the equation. He started as a Marquette fan, before reading A Season On The Brink in 1987 and in the ensuing years, Bob Knight would become–and remains–his favorite person in all of sports.
Indiana took the front spot in college hoops and Dan attended college in Bloomington for three years, majoring primarily in alcohol abuse before returning to Wisconsin. Without an IU degree, there was nothing holding him to the Hoosiers when Knight was outrageously fired in 2000. Dan’s fandom followed The General to Texas Tech, although this period proved critical in the development of “The Fan-O-Meter”, the rules about being a sports fan. It’s tough to root for a team based on just one person, regardless of how much you like that person. Institutional or organizational support is critical and Dan’s early animosity toward UW basketball—based on attachment to Marquette—had faded, given Marquette’s own politically correct alterations of its nickname—and he decided it was time to put college football and basketball all under one roof in Madison.
There’s no city Dan likes more than Boston, an affection that had some early glimmers in college, and really took hold in 1996, a year when he announced his conversion to Red Sox Nation. He’d gotten on the Celtics bandwagon after the Bird era was ending and the long dry spell beginning—shrewd timing, huh? And as his interest in hockey grew, the Bruins were a natural choice. But while Dan likes the Patriots and will gladly root for them, nothing tops the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins are a curious anamoly and a fluke of history in Dan’s life. His father admired George Allen in the late 1970s. It only lasted a few years, but those years happen to be Dan’s formative ones and his earliest NFL memory is seeing a Redskins-Cowboys game on TV where Billy Kilmer rallied Washington to a 30-24 overtime win in 1976. His regular Halloween costume was a Chris Hanburger jersey, an old linebacker and a ‘Skins helmet. There’s nothing Dan’s done longer in his life than root for the Washington Redskins, and even while geography might suggest the Packers, or relocations made the Steelers or Ravens justifiable, or the Patriots completing a clean sweep for Beantown, Dan is set on maintaining his kinship with Skins Nation. Of course after years like recent ones, where Washington’s out of the playoffs and all four other possibilities are live Super Bowl contenders, it makes one question his sanity. But loyalty trumps all.
Those who read TheSportsNotebook and know Dan, realize he can be a little long-winded and can get hung up referring to himself in the third person. This page is an example. He might have just typed “I like Wisconsin, along with the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Redskins” and left it at that. But admit, the story itself was more interesting and fun.