How sports fans fuel their love

Photo courtesy of Rish Desai, Student Publications

Sports carry a special magic about them. They allow for the best of friends to become enemies for a short period and vice versa. No matter what is happening in the team’s region or in a fan’s life, championships give an unequaled sense of triumph. These fill fanbases with memories they will remember for a long time: both heartbreak and celebration.

Fandoms can connect to an important series of memories. For some people, when they move to a new town, they retain membership of their original fandom to stay connected to their previous hometown. In other instances, people have family roots tying them back to a region. 

Sometimes, when people are assimilating to a new country, sports are a great way to become part of society. In those instances, there is not necessarily a family tie to a region providing a motive for fandom.

The place people are from does not always have a particular team for a given sport. In those moments, fandom comes down to one word: love. Who and what creates that love for the sport? What athlete makes an individual have more than their love at first sight moment but keeps the love ongoing and gives the special joy each time they step onto the field or court? What is the brand of a given sport that makes them love the game even more?

Rather than having a love for a franchise, their appreciation for the sport ties them towards particular players. 

Generation Z grew up watching professional quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. These are quarterbacks who always played at an elite level and changed teams at some point in their career. Because of how they played the game, their teams were perennial championship contenders. These quarterbacks combined to play in 14 Super Bowls. 

Many people are also fans of LeBron James. He is someone that has been on four teams, and James is considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Like Brady, Manning and Brees, James has kept his teams as enduring championship contenders. He has led his team to the NBA Finals ten times. 

While these players are one of a kind, there are several other great players in the league that have played at elite levels and have led their teams to win championships. 

The fan bases of each of these players were supporters of these players because of their journeys, their approach to the game and the way they embodied what it means to be an athlete. Their championships were byproducts of this ethic. It is important to appreciate their greatness before it is too late. 

Every sports fan can think back to exact moments of where they were when their true sports love made a new accomplishment or won a notable championship. Fandoms tells a story about a person or a phase of one’s life. 

For some, it may be their hometown team ending an extremely long title drought. For others, it could be the journey of their favorite athlete. 

Either way, fanhood puts fans through heartbreak and ecstatic excitement. 

Fans are the ones that support their sports love when they get swept in an important series, win a thrilling seven-game series, throw an overtime interception in the conference championship or fight through excruciating pain to win a second Super Bowl. 

Every fan has a different origin story of how they found their fanhood of a team. 

When people have players they are always rooting for because of how they play their sport, that can reflect a passion for their approach to the game rather than regional support. Other times, it simply is where they are geographically in their current phase of life. 

Fanhood is a unique experience that bonds people together.  All reasons for becoming a fan in sports is a valid reason. 

Fanhood is simply what makes people continue to fall in love with the sport every single season over and over again.