By Owen Sanborn
Sport has swiftly become one the world’s only universal languages. It is not uncommon to witness a native of Spain or a suburban dad of five from Queens fall victim to the gravitational pull of a soccer match or colossal American sporting event for a few hours and become amusingly acquainted with one another. There is a certain satisfaction to bonding over something that is (but is not really) their own with a complete stranger on a random weekend night. It is the essence of sport, but the basis of an overwhelming passion that transforms seemingly normal people into psychotic maniacs without proper realization.
The above description references a “super fan” of sport. If you are not familiar with a super fan, picture those lovable students in your class that would turn their faces tomato red proclaiming the innocence of Tom Brady during Deflategate. You know you have met a true super fan when at any moment you would not be surprised if their head exploded into a million pieces like those old AirHeads commercials whenever you bring up their respective team. Since I consider myself more of an objective observer, it’s stimulating entertainment to poke fun at these super fans.
With February generally being a lull for sports and baseball right around the corner, I took it upon myself to formulate a specific guide to identifying a super fan to either enhance your practical joke capabilities or to take part in some self-evaluation.
If you fall in the latter category, please remember that being a super fan is a prestigious honor to hold as you are basically a front-line ambassador for your team. Few can muster the endurance to stick with the demands that the label brings. For instance, if your stud quarterback gets caught finagling some footballs, then you better be out there swatting away the naysayers like the loyal SOB that you are. That is your job. Along with some other things…
1. You ALWAYS use the pronoun “we” when talking about your team.
At the end of the day, you win as a team and you lose as a team. The typical fans will utilize “we” when everything is going rosy and the championships are flowing. “We did it,” they will exclaim. But once the hard times become present, the casual fans will bail and trash the team with a flurry of phrases resembling: “They are terrible.” “What are they doing?” “How could they be this awful?” Super fans overlook this temptation and take the brunt of the defeat along with their beloved team. “We just did not play well enough to win tonight.”
2. Super fans will not be able to focus their attention on a significant other while the game is on.
Good luck taking a super fan out on a date during a big game because that person is going to be suffering from a steep conflict of interests. Be weary of multiple “bathroom breaks” or other subtle breaks in the action during your date. It would be a fair assumption that they are either streaming the game in a stall or loading up the play-by-play old-school style like an obese child sneaking chocolate late at night summer camp. They just needed a little taste. However, it is important to note that the significant other should not be alarmed. They mean well, they’re just doing his best to — special shout out to (Seinfeld character) David Puddy — “support the team.”
3. On another David Puddy related note, a super fan is not above face painting, body painting, or attending a game shirtless in sub-zero degree weather.
Of course by body paint, I am not talking about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit kind of way, but rather the big letter across a hairy chest fashion. Two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Yet despite the contrast, each have their own endearing qualities in our hearts. The super fan takes part in this practice because they believe that exposing their bodily flesh will lead their team to victory. God bless them all.
4. Watching a game with a super fan immediately turns into a hair-pulling extravaganza.
In their natural habitat, the super fan will make any and every excuse they can for their team. There will be claims of foul play from the opponent, a few misguided cursing rants, the referees will be “out to get them,” and special conspiracy theories will root in their brains to combat the unrelenting truth that their esteemed franchise is simply getting beaten on that given night. The bias will be unbearable. Prepare accordingly.
Although the list is brief, the point is very clear: super fans are a special breed of human and we should equally appreciate them as well as take every advantage we can to mess with their minds. Jokes aside, the super fan dynamic has been an essential cog in the economic and general interest of sport. After all, it will always be important to support the team.