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Championing Obscurity: Becoming A Brewers Fan
Published on October 12, 2011 by guest author: Tatiana Zarnowski

Talk about a high-pressure situation.

The Milwaukee Brewers are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship series. It's a make-or-break moment. I'm sure the Brewers are tense, and so am I. I'm nervous because last year at this time, I was barely conscious of the series, and now "my" team is one of the last four standing.

Right? I think what I just wrote is correct, but maybe I should have someone read it over, just in case.

I didn't ask to be a Brewers fan. I would have been happy to be left out of the discussion during baseball season. But my workplace is baseball crazed, and at the beginning of the season a Yankees fan co-worker asked me which team I favored.

"I don't really follow baseball," I confessed with a shrug. I figured that was the end of the conversation.

It wasn't.

"You don't have a team? We'll have to give you one," she said.

"OK," I said, figuring my investment would be minimal, so it was harmless to accept.

She scanned the room, mentally counting the many Red Sox and Yankees fans in the office and the one Mets fan. "You'll be a Brewers fan," she proclaimed.

I was too embarrassed to ask what city they hailed from, so I googled it. Milwaukee. I've never been there, though I've been to Madison a couple of times, and I liked it.

"Sure," I said.

I mostly forgot about my team until a few days later, when a co-worker who is a Red Sox fan mentioned that when the Brewers hit a home run, someone slides into a tub of beer. Now that's my kind of team. I was suddenly psyched, and started watching his cubicle display of the teams' standings - he lines up tiny hats from every team by league and region, and keeps them in order by rank.

The navy hat with the white M edged up to first place and held, and I started standing a little taller. One day I even checked the previous night's scores in the newspaper before coming to work.

"The Brewers are smokin'," I remarked to a co-worker, another Red Sox fan.

But most of the time I've had no clue what was going on.

"How are the Brewers doing?" my co-workers would ask, and I'd click on my bookmarked link to the team's official page.

"Ummmm," I'd say, clicking through pages on the site without comprehending much of what I read.

Is there a Baseball for Dummies book? I should really look into that.

My Yankees co-worker kindly helped me save face by sending a helpful rundown of Monday night's game, advising me to "memorize this necessary info so that you will seem like the knowledgeable super fan we know you to be, deep down."
She wrote: "The Brewers got their hides whupped last night (that's official baseball speak). The other team is named the Cardinals, like the cute red birds, and they beat your Brewers 12-3. That is bad. But your guy Prince Fielder did hit a home run. Be confident. The series is tied one-one, but the Brewers will prevail! They are off tonight, and play again Wednesday."

I'm still struggling to memorize it all.

People who know about my team "assignment" are impressed that the Yankees fan picked such a good team for me. I asked her why she chose the Brewers, and she wasn't exactly sure.

"It popped into my head as the most obscure team possible," she said.

Obscurity. That's what I champion.

I do know I'm possibly looking at history in the making: The Brewers haven't advanced to the World Series since 1982.
Maybe they'll make it again. I'll slide into a tub of beer for that.

Tatiana Zarnowski lives in Ballston Spa, N.Y. In 1982, she was undergoing potty training and getting used to having a baby sister.


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