I regard the teams in professional sports as emissaries for the places they represent. This is in spite of knowing full well that none of the people on the teams are actually from the places they play for. And when they win, it's not like it's a real triumph for anyone in that town or state. The only real exception is international competition--things like the World Cup or the Olympics. The team athletes in pro sports have to return to their native country. When Germany plays France there's a reason for a rivalry; those countries were dropping bombs on each other not that long ago.