October 5, 2007

8 Simple Rules on Being a Fan

Recently I went with some friends to see the local baseball team play. While we were sitting around having burgers and beer, I started talking with Keith about being a "fan." Before I get into the rules we discussed, it's important that I clarify some terms. Being a fan is different from simply rooting for a team. There are other NBA teams that I root for, but I don't ever claim to be a fan. As a fan, you can publicly mourn/cheer/complain about the team's performance; this is prohibited unless you can meet the following criteria:

  1. You were born in the state/city/immediate regional locality of the team (i.e., those born in northern Kentucky can be fans of the Bengals and those born in Delaware can be fans of the '76ers or the Nets.)
  2. You have lived in the state/city/immediate regional locality of the team for at least 6 years
  3. If you jump on a team's bandwagon, you must stay on the bandwagon for at least 6 years or 2 consecutive losing seasons before claiming "fan" status.
  4. If your team just won a championship, there will be no complaining about their performance for 2 full seasons.
  5. As a fan, you must be able to name no less than 2/3 of the team on sight, or know the team's record, position in the standings, upcoming schedule and how many games ahead/back they are.
  6. As a fan, you cannot be neutral towards the team's biggest rival. (i.e., as a Cubs fan you cannot be neutral towards the White Sox, or, as a Lakers fan, you cannot be neutral towards the Celtics). You must hate them.
  7. Even if you meet #1-3, you cannot simply "remember" that you're a fan once the playoffs come around. Fans give their support throughout the season. Especially if attempting to establish status under #3.
  8. Once fan status is established, that does not immediately give one "expert" status. (i.e., you do not suddenly become an expert on the dangers of a weak side corner blitz in 3rd and long situations, and you do not immediately get to question coaching moves. These things take time, usually around 10 years, to develop)
Brief examples:
1) You moved to Boston from Seattle to go to grad school. You do not get to become a fan of any Boston team unless you live there for 6 consecutive years or you stay with the team through 2 straight losing seasons.
2) You're from Phoenix but you don't watch any of the Suns' games until the playoffs, and you can't name anyone other than Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire. Not a fan.
3) You were born in Chicago but have only followed the Bears for the last 3 seasons. This does not entitle you to pontificate on the the best lineup/coaching strategy for this Sunday's game.
4) You are from Salt Lake City and followed the Jazz during the Finals in '97 and '98 but haven't paid much attention since. You are not allowed to pretend to be some superfan once they reach the conference finals.

I hope this clears some things up. If you'd like me to analyze a potential violation, please email me or post it here. Or, if you feel these rules are inaccurate or lacking, please feel free to send your comments into the trash, because that's where I'll put them.


Alphawolf said...

I thought the Cub's biggest rival was St Louis. Shows how much I know.


Silly Little Law Student said...

To clarify #6 there friend.... it IS entirely possible to be a die hard Cubs fan and not absolutely hate the White Sox because though they may be our cross town rival.... we are not in the same league... and thus the Cubs' biggest rivals are the Cardinals and Brewers... not the White Sox.... until the Crosstown Classic comes around... and then of course all bets are off.

Scrumtrulescent said...

Fair enough, bad example.

Alphawolf said...

If I could add one more rule:

9) You must know why your team is cursed.

For REAL Red Sox fans, they must not only know the Curse of the Bambino, they must know who the Bambino is. Real Sox fans should know who Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams, and ESPECIALLY Bill Buckner are.

REAL White Sox fans know that they weren't cursed all those years. The White Sox just sucked all those years (Comisky is mostly to blame).

REAL Cubs fans don't use the Billy Goat as a scapegoat. Bartman either. Baseball is on the field, not in the stands.

Spicy Law Girl said...

Example: The first sporting event I've ever watched was a Lakers game, back in the Showtime days. I was a toddler but this much I know. Later, when further motor skills were developed, I reenacted the Skyhook (Kareem and Baby). I bought tickets to watch the Lakers in NY. Bad fan?

You're quite Simmons-y. Today on THE HERD, Colin Cowherd was making the point that sports doesn't make all its money off the loyal fans (they'll be there anyway), but off the fans they pick up along the way. Essentially, he was saying that arguing about being a "real fan" was BS. I'm a female and a huge sports fan of my sports trifecta (College FB, NFL and NBA - fairweather for Texas BB) and I get pissed when girls get on the bandwagon.

Scrumtrulescent said...

I did pull the 2 year no complaint rule from a Simmons article.

You seem to have adopted your team early enough. And as long as you remained loyal to the Lakers throughout the years, then you're fine. I don't doubt that they make more money from the stragglers, if you bought a Texas t-shirt 3 years ago you don't need one now.

I wrote this, basically, because I was so annoyed with the Kings fans of 2001-2004 (where are they now?) and the latest flock of Mavs fans. They make me want to hurt people.

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