We’re Called Fans for a Reason

Following Twitter during Yankee games can be a lot of fun. For someone who watches games alone like I do (because my family are not in to sports at all), it’s a great way to talk with other fans, read interesting facts and trivia and generally converse with people.

If you join Twitter and start following Yankee fans (or Red Sox fans or Tigers or whatever team you choose), be careful. You are going to see a lot of fans, for any team in any sport, that overreact. If there is a squib single that scores a runner in the 1st, someone is going to tweet ‘oh man that sort of game. It’s over, we lost.’ And it gets annoying – people can really lose perspective. I’m sure there were Red Sox fans who literally gave up on the season during their 0-6 start. This is just one reason why keeping your follow list short is something I heavily recommend.

This of course spawned a counter-movement. A lot of tweeters, including myself at times, try to make an effort to retain perspective: 162 game season, your cleanup hitter will strike out with the bases loaded, etc etc.

Of course, as people are tend to do, in my opinion the response went too far. Whenever anything bad happens, there is an outpouring, not of complaining, but of preemptive complaining about the complaining. Sarcastic tweets about the opposing team never losing, about 162-0 being somewhat unlikely, and the like fill my timeline. There seems to be a movement to eliminate all emotional reactions to the game, legitimate or not.

We’re called fans for a reason. Fans, as in fanatics. As in irrational support for something you aren’t connected to. Of course we’re going to be irrational. Obviously, there is a line that should not be crossed. I crossed that line during a Patriots/Jets game where I not-insincerely wished for Tom Brady to be hit by a bus, or something to that effect. I went too far, and after calming down, I admitted that fact. But I think approaching sports from a completely logical POV, and clamping down on emotional reactions is just as a waste of time.

You are cheering for 25 men who, in all likelihood, will never know you exist. You spend hours and days reading and writing and researching and watching a game. There is absolutely nothing logical about this. If you are able to watch sports and placate yourself by saying ‘there are 162 games in a season’ or ‘good players get on base less times than they fail,’ that’s fine. More power to you. But I would suspect the vast, vast majority of sports fans, from American baseball fans, to Brazilian soccer fans, to Indian rugby fans, can’t do that. In the heat of the moment, fans should have some sort of reaction to their team failing. Sure, after a game, I am able to put it past me because I know there are 162 games.

But honestly, and as elitist as this sounds, if your team fails and you don’t have a reaction, what’s the point? Then you’re cheering for numbers.

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2 Responses to We’re Called Fans for a Reason

  1. hannah is too lazy to login says:

    My team is going to fail 60 times… at the very minimum. And there’s nothing I can do to control these failures either. So I don’t see any reason to get entirely worked up about every individual one. Losing a game when you’re tied for a playoff spot in September is one thing. Being upset about a stupid April loss is stupid. Thank you.

    By the way: of course we’re cheering for numbers. The whole game is based on numbers. All we do is hate on people who judge everything but numbers. Wins, BA, OPS+, FIP, ERA, HR, all numbers. Of course that’s what we want.

    • nebkreb says:

      Thats fair, but I disagree that we’re rooting for numbers. We root for teams and players. Statistics are useful in terms of measuring performance, predicting future performance, etc. But the statistics in themselves are worthless – its the game we follow.

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