In modern sports, fans tend to come and go, as teams succeed and fail, respectively. Through great dynasties and terrible droughts, the right fans will come and support their team. Most teams sell out every ticket to every game, but the re-sale market is as vicious as its ever been. Attendance figures are supposedly the real markers of a fanbase’s dedication to an unsuccessful team but, even then, the numbers are misleading. No losing team has perfect attendance and very few winning teams don’t, but a fan doesn’t need to go to games to be a good fan: having tickets is more about financial freedom than passion for the game. So, what does it really take to be a good fan?
Let’s start off with some bad examples, shall we? Every team has them. You’ve seen them. You’ve met them. You might even be them. Those fans you see harassing people in the street, throwing stuff at opposing fans, and generally causing unrest amongst the rest of the fan community. They make you look bad, hampering any self-respecting sports lover’s passion for the game. They tend to appear in groups and, when the going gets rough, they boo their own team. Everyone has had a bad experience with these people but, luckily for us, they tend to show up most when their team is winning.
The best fans show up when they aren’t. But, being a fan is more than just watching a game and liking it: it’s about supporting your team, rooting for them against all odds and regardless of whether or not they are playing well. When they lose, good fans continue to love their team, and when they win? The same. Great fanbases are determined to love and support their team through the good and the bad. Pessimist or optimist, cautious or reckless, a fan that still roots for their guys through anything is a fan worth their salt.
So, next time you find your team down on their luck, take a look around and think to yourself: What kind of fan am I?