Bill Simmons of ESPN recently wrote about a relatively unknown event in sports fandom: the buying binge. (Last item in this article.)
When your favorite team wins a championship, you feel the need to celebrate. It's very easy to either go down to the mall, if the team is in your area, or visit an on-line spot, if it isn't, and go shopping. The longer the wait has been for a championship, the more you want to buy. Simmons pulled eight t-shirts out of his closet that related to the 2004 Boston Red Sox.
I've been there. You see, my name is Budd, and I am a championship shopaholic.
Syracuse had never won a basketball title before doing so in 2003, and my credit card was ready. Official CBS video of the Final Four? Check. Syracuse's DVD review of the season? Check. Final Four sweatshirt? Check. Final Four gym bag and program? Yup and yup. Championship golf shirt when visiting the bookstore? Who could resist? You know those special magazines Sports Illustrated produces for champions? Always wanted to buy one of those, so I did.
A year and a half later, the Red Sox finally won a championship after 86 years. I wasn't a fan for all 86 years, but for a big part of it. The damage was considerable: the official World Series video, the local NESN DVD, the DVD of the ring ceremony the next spring, a program from the World Series, an ALCS t-shirt, a championship sweatshirt, a mug, and the commemorative book from the Boston Globe. Yes, there was another SI commemorative issue. Then someone gave me a clock with "World Series Champions 2004" on the face, and a World Series hat. I got the yearbook in the spring too.
Then four years later, as in last week, I saw a DVD version of HBO's "Curse of the Bambino," which I had seen in 2005, on sale at Big Lots for $3. That one always gets me weepy, especially when they show the sign in the parade that says "our parents and g-parents thank you." Sold.
I was much better in 2007. I won friendly wagers for a sweatshirt and t-shirt from Boulder, Colo., friends when the Rockies lost to the Red Sox in the Series. OK, there was a golf shirt and a yearbook and a DVD (but only one), and I got a glass for Christmas. But the financial rubble wasn't too extensive.
So Phillies' fans, I know what you are feeling. Philadelphia hadn't won a World Series since 1980, and the city hadn't won any sort of title in a quarter-century. Please -- remember that your 401K plan is now a 301K plan. Hold down your spending to only, oh, 12 or 14 items. You'll thank me ... not today, not tomorrow, not next month, but maybe by 2012.