I’ve discovered the word “fan” means different things to different people and even in different areas of the country.
At the beginning of the baseball season, the positive energy and hopeful talk surrounding the Rays ran rampant in the Bay area. Opening Day was sold out. Every “fan” was optimistic about the team’s season based on all the off-season activity.
And then came a couple losses. And a couple injuries. All of a sudden, the enthusiasm dwindled, and cries of panic could be heard on both sides of the Bay.

When the Lightning made the playoffs, hockey fans were “all in” and let it be known all over town. The Forum was packed for Game 1 of the series and it was declared, Bishop or no Bishop, the Bolts were gonna take the Canadiens in 6 or 7.
Then came an OT loss, and a couple more. When it came time for the Lightning to save themselves in Game 4, not one “fan” had hope. For a million different reasons –defense, refs, goalie issues- nobody believed in the Lightning to even hold off a sweep. And although the lightning DID get swept, the lack of “fan” support didn’t waver.

The Bucs are no stranger to this “fandom” either. Football season starts out with nothing but praise and hope, but Raymond James Stadium won’t sell out after a couple losses and nobody can catch the game on tv as a result.

I believe in maintaining the initial enthusiasm of Game 1 not only through a series, but through a season. I believe a REAL Fan is maintaining hope even when it seems hopeless.

I believe in waiting until 00:00 before counting my team out.

I believe in being realistic but not at the expense of team spirit.

I realize I may be a bit extreme in my fanhood, but I also know that people in the Bay area who root for the Rays when they’re winning, cheer for the Bolts when they’re on a winning streak, and are all about the Bucs before seeing snap one, cannot be called Fans.

They are bandwagonners at best, and I do not want to be lumped in with them.

If ya want me during MLB, NHL, or NFL season, I’ll be over here with my schedule in hand waiting for the next game so I can cheer my team on: no matter what their record or winning/losing streak, and despite any injuries sustained.

That’s just how I feel.


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