THE THREE LEVELS OF "FANDOM"
By Travis Huber
January 13, 2012
Yesterday, while half way listening to my friend Ben talk about an embarrassing sports moment, I had a eureka moment that led me to the question, at what point can you call someone a "fan"? Ben began telling me that back in 2007 he was put into a situation where he was forced to make a decision that no man should have to make. The classic "stuck between a rock and a hard place" scenario.
It was the second round of the playoffs and Ben's Dallas Cowboys were coming off a first round bye. They were set to go up against divisional foe and the wildcard New York Football Giants led by Eli Manning under center. Unfortunately for Ben, on this sacred Sunday he would not be able to watch the game. Instead the poor soul would be driving three and a half hours back from a mandatory "family gathering" at a relative's house, and would have to resort to the primitive car radio to keep up with the game.
The game played out like most win or go home games and it went down to the wire. Ben was about thirty minutes from his house when the fourth quarter started. It was also around this time that Ben's stomach started fighting back the twenty dollars of Taco Bell he had drunkenly eaten the night before. He shrugged off the pains in his stomach and tried to focus on the game. When Ben was about five minutes from his house, the Cowboys were down a touchdown with 1:50 left on the clock. One touchdown drive and they're going to the NFC Championship.
The pains and noises of the XXXXL Beefy Beefy Burrito fighting for its life were getting stronger the closer Ben got to his house. At one point the noises bursting out of him some what sounded like the roar of "Who Dat" Nation. Ben had arrived at his house with :16 second left in regulation as Romo and the Cowboys were on New York's 23, one last chance for the winning touchdown.
However, the burrito Ben was not waiting for the end of regulation to throw a touchdown of its own, the madness rumbling in Ben's stomach was coming, and how. Up to this point in his life, Ben had never been had to make a decision like this one. On one hand he could run into his house and waddle to his porcelain thone to relieve himself but he would miss the final play. On the other hand he could try to suppress the urges of his stomach and finish the game in his car. Ben described the next couple minutes as something he will never forget: he sat in his car soiled and depressed, for his team had lost and the burrito had broken the levee.
Ben's story was touching and brought up a good point on the different levels of devotion a person can have for his sports or as I like to call it Levels of Fandom.
Level 3: This is that casual fan, the one you can hear saying "I only watch the playoffs." Really? Do you look at both options in the Hardy Boy Mysteries and then decide the best path? No, thats stupid and idiotic and while we're at it, level 3 should not even be adorned with the word "fan." Therefore this level of sports viewers shall for ever be called The Level 3's.
Level 2: This next tier is full of followers and women. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Travis's opinions are his and his alone, and do not reflect the attitudes of Talk Sports / Drink Beer. I personally know two, perhaps even three, girls who don't fall in this category). This is the Bandwagon jumping group, for the girls whose ex-boyfriend made them watch a couple New York Yankees games and now they are, of course, Yankee fans. At first they may come off as a genuine fan but this is a hoax, and they tip off their fake ways by saying something like "Mani Riveiera is the best home-run hitter of all time." At this point I give you the permission to slap this jumper of bandwagons, however this permission will not hold up in a court of law.
Level 1: This is it, the Fanatic, the most extreme level of fans. The only definition I can give you is the willingness to put ones self through excruciating pain and hardship for the love of a team. Our own Mike Moore is a Kansas City Royals fan. Why? Not even Kansas City Royals players are fans of themselves. Mike Moore is a Fanatic. Jason Harris is a fan of the Miami Dolphins, yes that's right the same team that had a QB battle between Chad Henne and Matt Moore. This was not a QB battle it was like choosing between a lollipop that looks like shit and a lollipop that is shit. Jason Harris is a Fanatic. The story I told you about Ben makes him a fanatic but truth be told Ben does not exist. It was me, I soiled myself for my team and that makes me, Travis John Huber, a Fanatic