The Many Faces of the Sports Fan
You are in Round Four, and you see Matt Forte still available. Slowly but surely, you slow down your talking in order for you to telekinetically concentrate on telling people to NOT draft Forte.
You see, you just got the text alert that Cedric Benson has been released by the Bears and you are on cloud nine. You may hear someone in the distance say, "hmm, this Forte kid's numbers at Tulane look impressive."
Then you say "C'mon, he played in the Conference USA. Lester Ricard looked like an NFL QB there." But then you start to question yourself. Did I say that too fast? Was I clear enough? Then you fall silent.
Then the next guy ahead of you picks Chester Taylor (for some reason) and you exuberantly yell "MATT FORTE!" Then you scream like you're Howard Dean.
(To those who do online drafts: You've been here before. You have your player in the queue, just waiting for your pick to go up. Someone mentions Forte and you immediately type "who?!?!" Only if you're online you probably misspelled who and start to question yourself. Then you type in "YEAH!" before pondering your next pick.)
Friends say you are crazy. Others say you are obsessive. You simply can't describe the joy of stealing a player in a fantasy draft to someone who doesn't partake in fantasy sports.
But these random outbursts, whether they're exuberant or defamatory, are not limited to the fantasy sports world. In fact, every diehard sports fan (unless you're from Cleveland or Philly) has been through the ups & downs of being a fan. It's safe to say that we've nearly all been there before as we anoint ourselves "champions" only to end the season in the first preseason game.
Let's take a look at some of the different "personalities" or "moods" of a sports fan.
The Physically Obsessive
We are all obsessive in one way or another. But this fan just takes it the whole nine yards. They tattoo themselves (whether it's a real tattoo or a self-made one) in their team colors or team logos. They dye their hair. They scream throughout the game, downing multiple beers and only getting louder by the pint. They curse, they do physical actions that raise numerous eyebrows throughout the game. But once the Monday Morning Hangover concludes, it's back to the desk job. Taking care of the kids and feeding the pets.
The Mentally Obsessive
I plead guilty to being this fan. You buy the first Athlon Sports season preview article as soon as it hits the shelf. It's three months before the season yet you have already read three magazines and say how they don't quite get your team. Sure your team led the league in homers allowed, but you have a high octane offense now!
As the countdown to gameday begins, you pace. Whether you're at school or at the office, you think about various ways on how Martin Biron can make a run at the Vezina. Then the next hour, you debate yourself on why you're an idiot.
You outwit your friends by thinking extraordinarily outside of the box and while sometimes it pays out (I told you by cutting Donte Stallworth, Colston would emerge), it usually goes against you (Ben Troupe...I guess he wasn't the next Antonio Gates).
You are the best armchair manager, QB, crew chief, and coach in the league; yet no one believes you. If your season ends badly, you are convinced that your life will soon follow. You go through the five stages of depression weekly: Denial (That didn't just happen. Mike Vanderjagt is supposed to be the most accurate kicker in NFL history. That was just my mind playing a trick.) Anger (He just missed that kick.) Bargaining (Lord, if you give me a SB ring next season; I'll go to church every day of my life!) Depression (so....now what? Damn you Jake Plummer, why couldn't you beat Pittsburgh?) Acceptance (hey, 150 days until the NFL Draft, right?) But man, if your season ends victoriously?! You just reverse the stages of depression. "No, don't let the NFL Draft come now; let me enjoy my Super Bowl!"
The Upbeat Fan
Sure you had a 7-9, 81-81, got beat by the Montserrat National Soccer Team, or got wrecked by Fernando Alonso; but you made a big acquisiton. Or that crew chief? Man, they were just trying to gain a rapport with each other; chemistry is at an all-time high now! Regardless of the outcome, after an hour or two of sadness; there's always another day!
The Debbie Downer
We're going to suck anyway. They'll find a way to blow this lead. Who cares if we have Brandon Webb?
Composed Until Alone
You tell everyone that it's okay. From the outside you are the Upbeat Fan. Then you go home, in the sanctuary that is your room. Then you proceed to punch a hole in the wall that rivals Andy Bernard. Then you cry and stomp your feet on the ground like you're Danica Patrick.
Restricted Free Agent
Always an option until you think why you are a fan. Sure they haven't made the playoffs in 13 years but they will soon. But you keep reminding yourself that just in case another failure happens, you are open.
Just a Game....
Sure you aren't too pleased with losing but there are more important things of life (The Natural Enemy of all the other moods).
I'll Just Take a Title!
"Philadelphia Barrage?!?" I LOVE LACROSSE!
We all know.
You convince everyone your alma mater will make the Sweet 16 and none of the Fairleigh Dickinson alumni agree. You sway arguments to include your team and why you're right.
Not A Fan
Why are you reading this?
While I'm no Freudian, or even Frasier Crane; it's no secret that sports will always bring out the worst or best in us. Sure you can think of the other things, but this fandom....this love of the game just keeps you ticking. The camaraderie of being with a fellow fan, the joy that a game can bring to you is one of the most purest forms of happiness there is. While it may not end up that way, deep down you are grateful for this team.
It's quite funny how sport works. We all would love to be out there but it's almost like we are on the field too thanks to television, radio, internet or stat tracker. We feel like we are there on the field or making a difference when in fact, hardly (if any) of these people know we exist.
Yet there's familiarity. You watch an interview or a My Wish segment with a favorite player and it's almost like they're family. Certain athletes even feel brotherly or sisterly, fatherly or motherly to you. You see these people, sometimes every day for a week.
We think we know them and when something negative happens, it's almost like a bit of us dies. We mourn when something unfortunate occurs, just like they were family. But when we watch certain events, it's almost a zen like atmosphere. We appreciate the suicide squeeze or the splash 'n go pit stop. The royal flush and the free kick. The Statue of Liberty and the breakway. The alley-oop and the sub-43 second 400.
Sports are an amazing thing. It's the only time where our happiness is dictated on a win or a draft pick. Always enjoy it. But to stay away from the cliche, always think of those around you.
Then scream at them on why they should be as mad as you.
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