We cry, we cheer, we invest so much interest and receive nothing in return but a mixture of pride or disappointment. Why do we, as fans, put so much effort into a team that may never even notice us?
This can be explained for many reasons, but in summary, it is because we need to be a part of a greater element which in most opinions, is intangible by all means.
This thought first came to me while watching “Fever Pitch,” a movie based off a novel written about a die hard baseball fan. In the movie, Jimmy Fallon’s character says, “I like being part of something that’s bigger than me. It’s good for your soul to invest in something you can’t control.” To which his leading lady, Drew Barrymoore, replies, “You’re a romantic.”
Barrymoore does not realize that Fallon’s character is not a romantic; he is, plainly put, just a fan. To those who are fans, their team is untouchable; nothing, and I mean nothing, can ruin your love for that team. This is reflected in Fallon’s character as he explains that no matter what, they are there for you every day.
I believe strongly that this is one of the main reasons fans take such pride in their teams. I consider myself a die hard Phillies fan and big time baseball fan. Knowing that they will be there for me every night, I feel the need to watch them play from April through September.
As corny as it sounds, friends come and go, but baseball is always there. Then there is also the element of youth that sports bring to the table.
If you are a fan and look back on your life, you can say that you still have the same interest you had when you were 10 years old, maybe even five years old. In some sense, loving a team is a way to keep you young.
In this life, the years go by quicker and quicker with age. When I was younger, my junior year in high school felt like a century and now my junior year in college is already slipping away. Sports in a sense can keep us young and make sure those raw emotions we discovered as a kid never fade.
When I think of that notion, my grandfather comes to mind. He grew up as a Red Sox fan living in Richmond, VA.
Fortunately, he was able to see Ted Williams’ last at bat in which he hit a home run in the usual Splendid Splinter style. To this day, when you mention that game, his face lights up and you can find the child lying within.
For others, it may be a distraction from their every day life. As said by senior Kelly Brockett, “When I’m watching a game, I’m usually fully engaged and too busy worrying about rooting for my team or analyzing the other for me to be worried about the small stuff in life.”
While it acts as a distraction, it also serves as a replacement for lying around and just watching television. “It’s a form of entertainment,” sophomore Tomas Penfold said.
While these reasons are all very true, if you were to ask fans why they love to watch sports, they would be baffled. Fans never expect to have to explain their passion, they just assume everyone else can understand; and when they do encounter another fan, the bond is already made with the first high five.
For instance, I was in Florida and happened to see an elderly man wearing a Phillies hat. I walked right up to him and began a conversation about the common thread we shared. Being able to connect with a complete stranger is definitely the best aspect of being a fan.
For all these reasons, fans are unique people and a unique crowd. They connect emotions to teams and players. They can befriend a stranger, they always have something to rely on and they can be involved in something greater than themselves. If you are a fan, cheer hard and cheer loud.