In an age where sports fandom and social media are often intertwined, I’ve encountered an interesting truth that I’d love to share with the general public.
You can be a fan of a team, without being a fan of the fans.
While the reasons will obviously vary from person to person, in my opinion, the “art” of being a true fan, is having objectivity. Not only objectivity when it comes to the athletic team in question, but objectivity when it comes to the fanbase as well.
Far too many times, using Twitter as an example, people will seek out those who share a common fandom and blindly make the mistake of assuming that both parties share the same views about various coaches, players, and the team in general. Often times, while one person will showcase objectivity, the other person will display blatant “homerism” for the team in question. When this happens, two people who root for the same team, can become fast enemies.
Over the years, I’ve learned where I stand in terms of how I view my fandom of various teams, and how I view the various “subcultures” that permeate each fanbase. Having a foundation for my views, I attempt to steer clear of those who don’t share my outlook. If nothing else, as an effort to avoid controversy and negative interaction. However, unfortunately, it often takes negative interaction to learn how and where you differ from other fans.
At this stage of my life, with all the filth that tends to live on Twitter, if I begrudgingly embraced all aspects and ideals within a certain fanbase, over a period of time, I would probably find it difficult to maintain my fandom for the actual program or team. My disdain would likely grow so far out of control that I would no longer be able to maintain positivity for the product on gameday. In other words, I would get tired of supporting various actions that didn’t support my beliefs.
The solution? As mentioned above, you can be a fan of a team, without being a fan of the fans. You don’t even have to be a fan of the culture. Just enjoy the team and wear the attire. Nothing more, nothing less.
To the sports fan who is currently reading this piece and being faced with some of these issues, just remember why you became a fan in the first place.
Do you cheer for the fans on gameday, or do you cheer for the team? Once you answer that question, you’ll likely be able to wear your colors with pride, while also disassociating yourself from those who don’t share your personal values and outlook.
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