Sunday, June 14, 2009

What the heck is a "fan"?

According to Wikipedia:

“A fan, aficionado, or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for a sporting club, person (usually a celebrity) group of persons, company, product, activity, work of art, idea, or trend.”

The belief is that the term derived from either the word ‘fanatic’ or ‘fancy’. When you think about it, they kind of mean the same thing, except fanatic carries some more extreme connotations than the other.

What sounds more accurate?

“Jimmy really fancies the Denver Broncos.”


“Jimmy is a real fanatic about the Denver Broncos."

But like I said, the two words have similar meanings.

When I think of fanatic, I think of mad men. This includes those that would die for the object of their affection and admiration or those that would do anything to see their icons succeed. An obvious one would be religious extremists.

But sports are a religion to some, a hobby to others.

The term itself, in my opinion, is a little too broad. I can see how someone who shows up to every game, screams at the players to hustle and then goes home to pray that the team wins the next game would be called a “fan”.

But what about the guy who watches the sport for entertainment and doesn’t really care if anyone wins or loses. I don’t think this person can be categorized with the other mad men.

The fan has become its own entity and is a pretty interesting thing to delve into a bit further. The relationship that exists between the fan, the object of their affection and the environment that encompasses all of these items is very intriguing.

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