What does it take to be a fan?
What is a fan? Apart from being the shortened form of the word “fanatic,” it means a person who is enthusiastic or devoted to something.
People may be a fan of a certain religion, a certain cause, a K-pop group, a certain boy band from the United Kingdom, certain individuals and sports teams and their players.
Most fans just admire something or someone; however, some people go to crazy lengths just to show their devotion and enthusiasm. In the Philippines, we have an abundance of fanatics.
The most noticeable fans here flock to basketball arenas to watch their favorite teams play. Collegiate basketball is no exception. It is easy to define the word fan or fanatic, but the true question is: What makes a fan?
Collegiate basketball is probably one of the most awaited and most watched sports events in the country. Fans and students from all schools seemingly attack the ticket booths just to get the best seats in the venue.
It’s not hard to see what kind of fans there are. The probable factors to consider in describing the embodiment of a fan are:
Game attendance is probably one of the most overt gauges of a fan. Games are usually held in easily accessible arenas. This makes it more convenient for people to attend games regularly. Furthermore, television and technology allow true fans to watch the game live, even if they are at work, living abroad or out of town.
Being a fan means one has to keep supporting a team through thick and thin. A person who doubts his team or the players is not a true fan. A true fan does not only appear when the opponent is tough but also when the team is predicted to be at an advantage.
Also, a true fan does not appear only when there is a winning streak or a championship streak; he must also be there when the team is one of the lowest ranking in the league.
Fans are diverse. There are students, alumni and even those who don’t/didn’t study in the school they support. These people have other lives apart from being fans; sometimes, there are conflicts in their schedules that coincide with the games. A true fan finds ways to watch a game, no matter what the cost.
Now, considering the aforementioned factors, we can differentiate the kind of fan you are. You can either be a fair-weather fan, a bandwagon fan or a diehard fan.
Only during good times
First and foremost, the dreaded fair-weather fan. We’re all familiar with what a fair-weather friend is. They are there only during good times and leave when the going gets tough.
Fans like these only show up when the team is winning games and/or championships. Usually, these guys claim that they are diehard, but that’s not really true.
Furthermore, some of these so-called fans engage in dastardly deeds, such as profiteering from sales of overpriced extra tickets and/or school shirts. Other people consider these kind of fans untrue fans.
Now we go to the bandwagon fans. The bandwagon effect is something we are also familiar with. Much like peer pressure, it’s something that compels us to do something because the cool kids are doing it or because our friends are doing it.
A bandwagon fan is someone who gets dragged into a game because he was forced by his friends, or he might not have anything to do, so he went with his friends or was pressured to go because all the popular people were going to the games.
At one point, a bandwagon fan will come to a crossroad where he has three choices: become a fair-weather fan, a die-hard fan or not be a fan at all.
These kinds of fans are mostly current students.
Finally, there are the diehard fans. From the term itself, you can tell who they are. These people are there through thick and thin, through every win, loss, championship and disappointment.
They stay true to their devotion to the team, no matter what. They skip school, work and even family events just to be able to attend games. They do not care how much the cost is, as long as they can get to watch a game.
These people provide true support and enthusiasm; they are the true definition of a fan. These people are known by all and by their fellow diehards. They’ve earned the right to be called as such.
Being a fan isn’t as easy as it seems. Maybe, like respect, such a title is also earned and not given. It is not a title acquired by self-proclamation but instead by recognition. So, what kind of fan are you?