Actually, the word "fan" comes from the word "fanatic." But we all know, there is a huge difference between the two… But lets be honest -- you don't have to be a fanatic to risk breaking an arm, or even possible paralysis.., just to grab one of those tee-shirts shot out of canon. The crowd (the fans) goes freakin' wild!
I mean, all fans are "a little" crazy. They've got their own rituals. Lucky piece of clothing. Maybe even a special dance. And they are loyal. Uncommonly loyal. They will stick by their team no matter what, through controversies -- for years, without a title (shout out to the Cubs). And in some cases over a century (shout out to the Cubs, again).
"Being a fan doesn't mean you were there from the beginning, it means you are willing to be there
until the end."
until the end."
A lot of being a fan.., is the "us vs. them" thing. We are a part of something bigger than ourselves.., and it is against, them! And that us Im talking about… Is anybody in the same jersey. You have no idea who these fellow comrades are outside of this one view of them, nothing else is considered.
It's hard to think of other situations where you are accepted, unconditionally -- just for the shirt you are wearing. Pretty cool. Pretty weird, too. These people, these like-minded individuals.., are your brothers in arms -- your tribe.
Every week on a specific day you meet, out on the field of battle to root for your own.., together. Snow or sleet. Rain.., or heavier rain. You are connected.., and it feels good. As a matter of fact… It feels great. You are pumped, psyched, ready to rock -- if you showed-up to work in this state, you'd be fired.
"A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." - Humphrey Bogart
But out in the stands… Up in the bleachers. It's all good!
Being a fan goes beyond the field.., we love to hear about all the off-field antics of our heroes, too. We cheer at their successes and forgive them dalliances. We live through them, vicariously… I mean, really.., how often do we get to stand at home plate in front of 10's of thousands of people cheering your name, with a chance to be a hero. And, at the same time, date the hottest leading lady in Hollywood.
The sale of larger screen TV's goes up, right before the Super Bowl. Spouses either go, all in… Or it's a regular fight, of time spent between your team and your spouse. We even rationalize the unseen "head trauma" our guys take, just so they won't screw with our sport. Being a fan, is an unconscious commitment we make -- an extension of ourselves.
Heck, our self-esteem is even affected by the outcome of a game… A game. And when that outcome, tips our way… The pride we feel is one a father has for a son. The relationship is anything but casual.., but so deep, on so many levels we are not even aware of -- it's second nature.
Maybe it's the sense of belonging… Or the strength in numbers thing. It will even play games with your freakin' hormones. Just sitting at home, with a six pack, in front of the tube watching your team defend your honor.., is like a three hour meditation. It's part of your family. Raising your children to wear the same colors, you wore as a child and still wear to this day -- maybe while mowing the lawn.
"There are only two seasons -- WINTER and BASEBALL." - Bill Veeck
And when they hurt -- we hurt. We actually, feel their pain. It's a behavior, that is so very human. Unless of course, you are one of those people that choose to dress up their dog -- but that's a whole different issue… But seriously.., everything it embodies, is just that -- human. We laugh, love, sing, dance -- cry, scream, stamp our feet and even get into physical altercations.., all for our wife -- I mean team. I mean team.
See what I mean..? But that's how complicated and beautiful it is.., being a fan.
There is no doubt, the skill involved in professional sports is insane. The level of play to be admired. After all, it's fun to watch greatness. Being a fan.., is an escape from our lives… Even if there is nothing wrong with our lives, we all still have some things we'd like to forget -- even just for a few hours.