Gary PaytonSports are one of the most common things in the world and can be found in every country, and with sports comes competition and professional athletics. Given a sport that one finds interesting, it can be entertaining and an emotional roller coaster to be a fan of a professional team for that particular sport. However, if you weren't born in an area with a professional team, have no family allegiances, or you are coming into fanhood a bit late, you may not have a team that you should obviously cheer for.

To aid in your quest to find a sports team, steps have been provided below.

Things You Will Need

- An interest in a particular sport, such as football, basketball, or soccer.
- A desire to find a particular team to root for.

Step 1

NFL Choose your sport and a corresponding league. Below is a list of several major US and Worldwide sports and the most prestigious leagues relating to each sport. If you wish to choose a team in one of those sports, you may enjoy cheering for teams in the best leagues better than a secondary option.

American Football - National Football League (NFL)
Baseball - Major League Baseball (MLB)
Basketball - National Basketball Association (NBA)
Hockey - National Hockey League (NHL)
Soccer - English Premier League (EPL)

Step 2

Canes Win Consider geographic location and proximity. Are there teams based in cities or states near where you were born, grew up, or currently reside? For instance, if you are living in Salt Lake City, Utah but was born in Mobile, Alabama and were looking for an NFL team, you might consider the Denver Broncos or the New Orleans Saints.

This rule isn't a necessity, but having a team to which you have some sort of geographical ties makes it easier to buy into the franchise, find other fans, and stay committed to the team.

Step 3

Patrick Roy Consider the team's colors. This may seem like a shallow and irrelevant thing to think about when choosing a sports team, but it may just make the difference for you. If you could never see yourself wearing purple, then you shouldn't choose the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns as your NBA team. If you really love anything that's green, perhaps you could consider the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks.

If the jerseys and team colors are something that you enjoy and find cool, it's that much easier for you to buy memorabilia and feel a sense of connectedness to the team.

Step 4

Sausages Understand the team's history and current status. There are are several reasons to want to understand the history of teams and where they are now.

The first is context: Is the team an historical powerhouse that's always on top like the New York Yankees or Manchester United? Is this a team that has little in the way of history, but is looking to have a strong future? Has this team been terrible historically and has no hope of getting better? Understanding this aspect of a team can help keep you from appearing like a front-runner or bandwagon fan, help you choose a feisty underdog, or keep you from choosing a perennial loser (unless that's what you want).

The next is the team's owner. Great teams often have great owners, and teams will take on the personalities of their owners. Do you want someone who is reserved or flamboyant? Do you want an owner from your part of the country, or perhaps someone with similar values? Having a poor owner can doom a team, and a good owner can empower a franchise to succeed. This isn't a critical part of one's choice, but it certainly should be considered.

Another reason to understand the team's past and present is to get a better idea for how the team is perceived and what their brand or attitude is. Is this a team full of bad boys with attitude like the Oakland Raiders? Or perhaps this is a team that values the team over the individual similar to the Patriots of the 2000s. It's much easier to cheer for a team you can admire or relate to, so this is another important factor to consider.

Step 5

Milton Bradley Look at the team's current roster and players. While you will certainly not be cheering for the current players forever, if you want your fandom to stick, it's best to begin cheering for a team that you can enjoy and relate to early on. Are there some great players on this team? Are there young players you can follow for a while? Are there some guys with big personalities? Maybe even guys with values who you can relate to or appreciate? If this is an international sports league, perhaps this team has some players of your nationality?

Those are all some questions to ask yourself as you look at the current rosters of teams you are considering.

Step 6

Barry Choose your team. As you've gone through the first five steps, you've hopefully found several teams that fit each category and have now narrowed your search down to a final few teams, hopefully about 2-4. Now is the time for you to look at everything regarding these teams and make a decision. You can make a logical decision, you can ask friends, or you can just go with your gut instinct. Whatever it is, take as much time as you need and make a choice you feel good about.

Step 7

Steve Atwater Get invested in your team. Now that you have chosen your team, you should make an effort to become invested in them before your interest fades. Below is a list of several things you can do, and I'd recommend you do at least 2-3 of these things, just to cement your connection.

1) Look up the team's TV schedule and ensure you can watch several of their games. This may be as easy as turning on a major network on a Sunday afternoon, or as hard as driving to a sports bar 25 miles away.
2) Purchase some small team items such as a shirt, hat, flag, or some trinkets to decorate your office with.
3) Purchase a jersey of this team to wear on game day.
4) Attend a game for this team in person.
5) Begin actively reading team blogs and consider participating in them.
6) Seek out other fans of this team to watch games with, chat with, and learn from.
7) Understand the team's rivals and begin cheering against them.

Step 8

Buzz Stick to your choice. As ESPN's Bill Simmons will tell you, nobody likes a sports bigamist. If you flip-flop with your choice and choose other teams, other fans will be less likely to take you seriously, and you may have a harder time taking your choice seriously. It's important that once you choose a team, you invest in it, just like you would a good relationship or marriage. Hopefully, the team will bring you years of joy, excitement, and drama in return.

In closing, this how-to guide was primarily aimed toward professional sports, but the principles of it can easily be applied to choosing college or other amateur teams if needed. Different steps may be more important to you that others and it's OK to prioritize them as you wish, but don't dismiss a factor offhand, as this is a lifelong investment you are making, and you want it to be as good as possible for you.

Tips & Warnings

Wikipedia is a great resource for learning about sports leagues and teams, as are fan blogs. If you are interested in learning about the teams from fan blogs, I highly recommend the SB Nation family of blogs.