"Ode to the Fan! Thank You, All!"

KasenContributor IApril 28, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 09:  A Minnesota Vikings fan looks on during  the game with the Green Bay Packers on November 9, 2008 at the Metrodome in Mineapolis, Minnesota.  The Vikings won 28-27.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The young girl smiled happily as she skipped off to school.  She was very excited because she was wearing her new light blue North Carolina sweater that she had picked out for her birthday present just the day before.

Her father smiled lovingly at her enthusiasm and excitement over the sweater.

He wasn't sure why she wanted that particular sweater, not knowing much about college sports himself.

Perhaps she just liked the color?

It didn't matter. In her mind she had just become a fan.

When he arrived home from work that day, he found a very upset twelve year old who was still crying from her day at school.

"What in the world is wrong?" He asked her.

"The boys at school were picking on me for wearing my sweater," she sobbed.

He thought for a moment, then whispered something into her ear. She stopped sobbing and smiled, giving him a big hug.

The next day, when he walked into his home after work, he found the happy young lady he had grown used to seeing.

With a smile, he asked, "Did you ask them?"

"Yep! I asked them who they thought was the best basketball player in the NBA."

"What'd they say?"

"Michael Jordan!"

The father's smile broadened as did the little girl's.

The fact that it was 1995 helped his poor sports trivia knowledge quite a lot considering Mr. Jordan was everywhere as far as the media was concerned.

"And what did you ask them?" He continued.

"I asked them what college Michael Jordon went to."

"What did they say?"

She smiled slyly, saying, "I had to help them because they didn't know. I said, 'North Carolina!'"

They laughed and wallowed in the sports trivia advantage they had procured.

This is a true story and only one of millions out there in which sports knowledge had come to save the day.

That's what this article is about.

You see, without the fan...there is no sport.

If nobody watches, nobody will play.

For as many sports stories that are out there, there are as many levels of sports enthusiasts.

Otherwise known as fans. Without us, they, them, we, whatever and however you wish to categorize or call the individuals that really keep the game going, it's all for naught.

It has recently been presented to me as to whether or not the athletes of yesteryear are superior to those of today.

I can honestly say yes and no.

It was the fans that would tolerate ridiculous weather to watch those individuals perform that set the standard for today's athletes.

Now, with new technology in health and fitness, the athletes of today are striving to overtake the records of those set in the past. However, with these same advantages, records still stand, taunting the younger men and women of today to step up their performance.

Money has become ridiculous in a town where a strong percentage of people are standing in unemployment lines, and the local football team just broke the high buck contract record for a rookie quarterback.

Who's going to buy the tickets?

The fans.

That's die hard.

Those same people out there struggling to find work will find a way to support their team. Without them, there's nothing left.

Go fans! Go sport enthusiasts! Go everyone with any type of sports knowledge! Go to the dad for knowing where Michael Jordon went to college!

We all count.