The Relationships of the Sports Fan

Joe D.Analyst IJuly 8, 2008

It's no secret that the world loves its sports.

While some sports can be considered regional, every country has a sport that makes them tune in. With television packages, Internet access, and the continued rise of collegiate sports, sports fans continue to draw closer to the sport they love. 

Continuing on the theme of the sports fan, let's take a look at how we (the sports fans) relate to the game itself.


School Sports                         

Sports fans now can relate to the game even better, thanks to the way high schools continue to add sports. Just recently, our school added a lacrosse team (for boys and girls) that has sparked a large amount of interest in the sport. More people tried out for lacrosse, it seems, than the generic spring sports such as baseball, softball, and spring track. 

While lacrosse won't get the ratings of the NFL, or even AFL, the point still remains that fans love relating to the sport they know and love. Let's face it; baseball isn't quite the same without the catch between father/son or even father/daughter.

There isn't a Field of Dreams without that special relationship in your life. I recently stopped playing baseball, and while it still kills me to watch others play (I've focused on running fulltime), I can't turn the page on having a catch with my dad.

The sport I loved to play, but now I'm just a fan.

But with the playing days over, I can still enjoy the sport thanks to those days. I feel that every sports fan, when they were younger, had one sport they loved to play. That connection between playing and watching grows stronger as you age, and thus you can appreciate the game even more. 

Of course, not every baseball, football, lacrosse, or NASCAR fan played the game when they were younger. Nonetheless, playing the game and remembering those days makes the bond between sports and the fan even stronger.


Fellow Fans = Family

While we may be miles and miles away from each other, thanks to geography, fans are still only less than a minute apart. Thanks to the Internet message boards (and even Bleacher Report), sports bars, and even social networking sites, sports fans can stick with their own species in various ways.

When you stick two fans of the same team in any atmosphere, you usually can find a way to get along with them just on that basis. 

A majority of us have been in this situation.

You are in a casual place such as a Home Depot, the supermarket, a restaurant, or amusement park.  You're wearing you're favorite team's hat or maybe even a jersey. Then you spot someone wearing the same team's colors on a shirt. The person looks at you back.

In any other situation, this story could lead to handcuffs and a lot of explaining to a significant other, but thankfully, sports ascend that. You usually give a nod or a "GO PHILLIES" (or whatever team you support that day) and cheerfully walk away. 

At a home stadium, high fives are frequently exchanged amongst people who have no clue who you are. But who cares? Adam Eaton got an out!


Favorite Players

Everyone has one.

No matter how much you love the team you support, there is one player on that team you hold to a higher standard. You start to panic as you see that the player is reaching an age that might constitute falling out of their prime. You notice that there are only two years left on their contract, and you start to ponder, "What will I do?"

Then you frighten when you see the injury report and they're on there. While you do know that you will move on once the player retires, gets traded, or is kicked out of the league, it's still a relatively sad thought. 

When watching or following a team everyday, even in the offseason, it's almost like you start getting a rapport with the players. It's not quite to stalker or obsession levels, but it can be classified as "different" amongst other people.

You laugh when you see their likes and dislikes in Sports Illustrated or ESPN Magazine. Sometimes you'll hear a song on the radio and immediately go, "Hey, isn't that Chase Utley's walkup music?" Clearly ignoring the fact that it's "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin. The player transcends the artist, though I still can't get my mind around the fact that Pat Burrell once had Britney Spears.

Finally, it comes down to why being a fan continues to be so great.

I mentioned the word "species" earlier, and while it's not to that extreme, you have no problem in saying that you are in Phillies country...unless you're a Mets fan.

Talking smack to rival fans is acceptable, and you even ponder throwing something at the rival jersey that sits in front of you. But the relationships between the fans drive the game as much as the players who play it.