I've had quite a battle going on in my head this week.
The voices in my head have debated all week what I was going to wear today. The inner whispers aren't about whether a blue shirt matches brown shorts or whether I can wear tan dress socks with a black belt. They wonder whether what I wear is indicative of my loyalty to sports teams.
Today, I'm in Denver to take in a Colorado Rockies baseball game. The Rockies are hosting the Kansas City Royals and, although 98 percent of the country would rather watch snail racing on ESPN15, the game will be a highlight of my summer. It is the only opportunity I'll have this summer to see the Royals, my favorite professional sports team.
I grew up 45 minutes from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. I've watched the Royals play at least once each summer for 18 consecutive years.
This will be the first time I've watched the Royals play as the visitor, which brings me back to the voices.
I own two Royals jerseys and a KC hat. The inner conflict is whether I'm going to wear them to the game.
Do I need to wear Royals gear to show I'm a Royals Loyal?
Considering the state of the Rockies, I'm not putting my life in danger by wearing a Royals hat. Actually, I might even be cheered because so many Coloradans are frustrated with their team.
It's not that I'm embarrassed that the Royals are already out of playoff contention. I would be struggling with this if the Royals were 44-25 instead of 25-44.
I've spent the past eight years in either Michigan or Colorado cheering for Kansas teams, so I'm used to being opposed.
It's just that I can't convince myself that to be a great fan I have to sport my team's stuff at a game.
I don't have a Chiefs or Royals sticker on my car. I don't own a lot of gear and of the five items I own, a friend bought me three of them.
Those thoughts all came to mind this week.
And the voices started.
First the voices were related directly to this weekend: "Am I a true fan if I don't want to yell 'Rockies suck' after every inning?"
"If I don't paint my face for every big game, am I less of a fan than those who do?"
"If I have no desire to upset Rockies fans by cheering obnoxiously for the Royals, does that make me a traitor?"
Then I thought about more general fan questions.
"How fanatical does one have to be to be a fan?"
"If you have never dyed your hair the color of your favorite team can you call yourself a tried (or dyed)-and-true fan?"
At this point, I have settled on wearing my KC hat to the game: If not for the sake of supporting my team, it's because it's one of my favorite hats. But beyond that, I can't promise anything.
I've cried when my teams have lost. But I have never felt the need to walk around and brag about my team's prowess while wearing boxers, shoes, shirts, socks, a shirt, wristbands and a hat with my team's logo on them.
Through the voices, I've found some clarity.
Just like some parents wear buttons with pictures of their children on their shirt and some don't, it doesn't matter what's on the outside. I'm sure that button-clad and button-less parents both want their kids' teams to do well. No matter what I wear or say, the Royals are still my favorite boys of summer. I just don't feel like it's important enough to have a beer thrown on me when I'm cheering too loudly.