The three faces of fan

The one thing I hate most about sports is the lack of real fan loyalty. Today's fan is mostly of the "I'll-follow-them-if-they're-good-otherwise-I'll-be-playing-video-games-in-my-basement" mentality. In other words, part of the problem is that there are a bazillion more entertainment options nowadays compared to back when I was a kid (admit it, you had to see the "back when I was a kid" lament coming, right? Not to worry, it just means you're probably an old curmudgeon yourself. If not, seek help).

Professional sports franchises themselves have helped build this monster. Free agency has resulted in the pro athlete staying in the same city for a relatively shorter duration, which erodes loyalty among fans who become enamored with particular player(s). Not to the extent that restraining orders are necessary, but you get the idea: We tend to distance ourselves from players we suspect will be leaving soon. It's sort of like when you sense that your significant other is ready to dump you; you start to think up reasons you should dump him or her first. Sort of like a preemptive strike (or strike out, as the case may be).

The way I see it, there are three classes of fan: 

1.) Extreme. In other words, no matter what the team in question does, you're loyal anyway, forever and ever.

2.) Fair Weather. That's to say that when all goes well with your team, you're their biggest cheerleader. When the going gets tough, so do you. You go follow some other team, mumbling something along the lines of "I never really liked them (the former favorite team) anyway." 

3.) Middle of the Road. This person will refer to him/herself as a fan, but can't name more than a few starters on their "favorite" team. 

Which one are you? Let's find out ...

When the Indians recently won 5 games in a row, and then lost 3 straight to the KC Royals, the Extreme fan was like, "I don't care: the Tribe isn't at full strength yet." Sound like you? If so, slap yourself on the back, and give yourself bonus points if you actually can slap yourself on the back. I tried, and I'm still on pain meds as a result.

The Fair Weather fan's reaction was, "I told you these guys stunk, didn't I?" This guy is a real loser. He's the kind of guy who plows the snow from his driveway into yours, and then offers to plow your driveway for $50. If you're this guy, then I feel sorry for you. And I'm also glad I don't live across the street from you (especially in the winter).

The Middle of the Road fan's reaction was, "You mean the season already started? Huh." This guy doesn't know that the Tribe hasn't won a world championship since '48, and likely thinks LeBron still plays with the Cavs, yet refers to him as "'Bron," implying he actually has some relationship with the former star. He also thinks Mike Pettine is still coach of the Browns. Obviously, I really hope this one isn't you.

Well, how'd you do, Bunky? Be honest with yourself, because as a former middle school teacher once told me, "You know when you're lying to yourself." Or maybe I heard that at my IRS audit. Anyway, you get the point, right? Which is, "deny everything."

Especially if anyone asks if you read my articles.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 05.06.2019