The Insufferable Proliferation of the “Rational” Fan
As a preliminary matter, I would be remiss if I did not begin by admitting I am a Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and Cowboys fan. Those are my teams—always have been, forever will be. If I lived to be a hundred, and in all those years I never witness my teams win another game, I would still be buried Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and Cowboys fan. Though, admittedly, it has not been an easy decade (plus) for me, my fanhood has never waned….indeed, the last decade (plus) has taught me the meaning of the undefinable love of being a “true” fan.
And though it may just be me, it feels as though fans nowadays do not define themselves by a team, but rather by the success of a team. This may seem like a mutually coinciding proposition, but the significant difference resides in the subtly—many fans nowadays define their worth by how their team preformed, and in that define themselves in how their team lacked.
As an extension of this mentality, there has been a surge of the “rational” fan. See, the “rational” fan is able to dissociate his or her fanhood with his or her rationality—in other words, this type of “fan” can remain rational in all discussions of sports.
The problem with this mentality? Being a fan is an inherently irrational proposition.
Many moons ago, gladiators were cheered in what is now considered a barbaric pursuit. This has been dramatized in many movies, and we, as a civilized bunch, marvel at the lowly, primitive savages depicted. In the end, though, is this:
Really any different than this:
I submit that we, as fans, are but one minor step removed from those who cheered gladiators.
And yet, there are fans that grasp to their rationality with such arrogant ignorance, and belittle those who make irrational win predictions. Mock those are would dare see the positivity in negativity. Laugh at us foolish enough to believe things will get better.
And though these fans believe they are of a higher sort because of this rationality, it actually is rooted in a weak place. Because when a fan defines his or her worth by the success of a team, he or she will inherently be deathly afraid of that team’s failure, for it also is defining. This breeds the “expect little, never be disappointed” mentality, which is a pitiful mindset to have as a fan.
In short, we should embrace the irrationality of our fanhood, for the love of sports is a crazy, beautiful proposition, and it is best enjoyed as such.