SQ #34--Fans

Summer Quandaries #34
September 3--27 days to camp


Fan, short for fanatic, spans an amazingly broad spectrum of American life. It ranges from wild eyed devotees with skin, wardrobe, housing, and progeny all sporting the trappings of their favorite team, all the way down to the “in” crowd whose only obvious affiliation is portrayed in jewelry and vanity plates. It includes families named for the team--pets, nicknames, recreational vehicles, and children. Body art for the home team covers tattoos, face and torso painting, hair creations, costumes as players or mascots, and occasionally props like horned helmets, capes, primitive weapons, rodeo spurs, crowns, and towels. Either this emotional involvement is way over the top or these people just don’t have enough to do.

I have always felt very much an elitist as a Celtics fan. Not only is Boston perhaps the most successful sports franchise in history but their supporters have consistently demonstrated a multi-layered understanding of the game. In other arenas the offense gets most of the cheers but in Boston the hue and cry is just as likely to be due to a steal, defensive stop, hustle rebound, nifty pass, or dive for a loose ball. In LA or Miami the crowd is fashionably late, dressed to the nines, to cool to clap, on parade at halftime, and away early to get in a few drinks before the status after-game party. Down on Fleet Street the decidedly mixed crowd shows up early, dutifully boos the bad guys, lustily cheers the home team, and saves the biggest roars for the type of plays that go unrecognized in other arenas. Hey, if I’m going to be a snob, I’m at least going to be a snob about something I believe in.