As we all prepare to gather around our big-screen TV’s and watch Super Bowl XLVIII, one question I couldn’t help but ask myself is, what exactly is a fan?
A fan—short for fanatic—in some cases, is a person with a passion that is beyond explanation. They wear their team colors proudly as he enters the stadium—home or away, if they’re really bold—or a local bar of his choosing.
They hold their collective heads high, their eyes focused, tension through the very fibers of their muscles. They find their seat, their one lucky seat, which over the years, has seen great accomplishments and saddening disappointments.
They watch the sweat, the determination in their quarterback when they make that one miraculous play. They get that dreaded gulp in their throat when that dreaded interception is about to be thrown. They watch their hardened and determined running back break through the line for a 60-yard gallop to the end zone.
Fans have rested that proverbially sweat-drenched head into their equally sweaty palms many times when they see them fumble at the one-yard-line. But yet, they even in disbelief, they raise their head high once more the following Sunday.
They look at the field, they look at their team, see them falling and stumbling down, feeling the wish to have been defeated. Then, they turn their head and look at the crowd. All they see if a wave of orange and brown, standing, yelling.
They know that their fans aren’t giving up.
Looking into the stands, the team sees the fans in the bleachers screaming and cheering and try to channel that energy. They feel that energy of the crowd, knowing that they are there for them. Through the cold, the rain, the heat, they are there.
Through the many disappointments, losses, wins, the one moment that makes them great, they are there. They will always be there, routing, cheering, screaming, yelling, crying, celebrating, they are there.
They are the fan, the spirit of the team.
For if the fan is not there, then the team fails. We are the heartbeat, we are the strength, the reason that they play.
Sometimes this gets lost, teams change, move and come back. They may not always make the right choices, they may fail, we are there to support them. If you turn your back on your team, then how can you call yourself a fan?
As an age-old quote that I strongly believe in, “On any given Sunday, any team can either win or lose.” No matter what, you always stay true, you always have that faith that your team can win. But they can’t do it without us, the fan.
We need our team as much as they need us.
So, as the fan we will always be there, routing and cheering, yelling and crying, but we will always be there. That is the belief, the faith, the determination, that maybe, just maybe, this can be our year to shine. To show to the world, that we are not the laughing-stock, the bottom feeders that they think we are.
But it is up to us, the fan, to have that strength in diversity to say, this is my team. We are there for them and we will always be there.