Hey Katee! What do you think is required for one to actually call themselves a SuperFan?
This is a really fun topic for me because I consider myself to be in the SuperFan group versus the casual fan group. Although it's obviously subjective, I will do my best to break down what I think differentiates a SuperFan from a casual fan. Being a SuperFan of something can apply to a lot of different forms of entertainment and even people, but in this case I'm going to write about SuperFans in the sports world.
1. A SuperFan is dedicated to their team. No, like-- REALLY dedicated.
A SuperFan is so dedicated that it can occasionally borderline into an obsession. Okay, maybe more than just occasionally. A SuperFan will be at the game if at all possible. And if you can't, you are finding the nearest radio or tv because that one time you couldn't watch the game last season resulted in a loss. And even though you wouldn't necessarily admit it, you kind of feel responsible. You know, bad mojo and all that.
2. A SuperFan has friends and family that refer to the team as YOUR team.
SuperFans get texts and other messages from loved ones that say things like "I see that your Grizzlies won last night." or "I'm sorry about what happened to your Grizzlies." Family and friends also check on you after a rough loss and ask you how you are holding up.
3. A SuperFan does NOT always have extra tickets.... but your friends think you do.
When the playoffs roll around every year, there's always at least a few friends who ask you for tickets or if you can help them get tickets. Those friends expect you to have an endless supply of free or cheap tickets. Oh and if this sort of hook up actually exists for other SuperFans, then please, help a girl out.
4. A SuperFan finds ways to bring up their team in social situations where it would seem impossible to find a connection.
"It's funny that you mention newborns because Marc Gasol actually had a baby a few months ago and he also said it was a challenging transition." The people in these social situations may or may not look at you like you've got two heads. "Who is Marc? Oh, that's the starting center for the Memphis Grizzlies. Yeah."
5. A SuperFan has cried before, during, or after a game.
At the very least you have gotten misty-eyed, but more than likely you've flat out cried after a game. You may never admit it to anyone, but you know you've gotten emotional. Maybe it was because of a win, maybe it was because of a loss, but you've cried. I'm sorry to break it to you, but being an emotionally unattached SuperFan is impossible.
6. A SuperFan is invested in their team.
Not only is a SuperFan invested in their team, they are also invested in the physical, emotional and mental well-being of the players. When the game is over, a casual fan may be able to move on to the next activity or task with little to no effort. A SuperFan does not have that luxury. You will be thinking of all the things that went wrong.
"Did they start the wrong guy? Why did the coach put that lineup in? Did the ref get that call right? I don't think he got it right. I'm going to watch this again and see if he got it right. Yeah, I knew he didn't get it right. I bet that's why Zbo was looking over at him like that. It kinda seemed like the team was tired. Did you think they are getting enough rest?"
This will start as a conversation with another person until he or she is worn out. The conversation will then continue in your own head until you fall asleep.
7. A SuperFan will not handle another person telling them "It's just a game." very well.
In fact, after a loss, it's the last thing you want to hear. You also don't want to hear someone say "They'll get the next one." or "They almost won." Never, in the history of fandom, has any SuperFan wanted to hear this. It has never made you feel better. It has never made you "let it go" and it never will. Unless the person is going to offer a real opinion, you'd just prefer they say nothing at all. During these moments, a friend or family member has probably called you a jerk. That brings me to my next distinction....
8. Sometimes SuperFans are jerks, and they have to apologize to their friends and family.
Whether it was for throwing the remote control across the room, or ignoring a loved one because you were too busy looking at the box score, you've had to apologize for acting like a jerk to somebody. And you probably know by now that "I just really wanted them to win." usually doesn't cut it for an excuse.
9. SuperFans are passionate, and they don't always get along with other SuperFans.
Just because a fellow SuperFan likes the same team as you, does not mean you two will automatically be best friends. In fact, it may be just the opposite. SuperFans are very opinionated and when they get together, it can get kind of intense. When you all care about the same team THAT much, your passion can lead you to become defensive. You have probably ended up saying something rash like "If you think that one play at the end of the third quarter is why we lost the game, you've obviously lost your mind!" (Note: If you think this seems kind of mean, please refer back to #8.)
10. A SuperFan is sincere.
In my opinion, the most notable quality that all true SuperFans have in common is that they are sincere. They sincerely love their team. And being sincere about anything in today's world can be hard for other people to understand. To be a SuperFan, you have to be okay with a certain amount of vulnerability that comes with sincerely loving something that others merely see as a way to fill a few hours on a Sunday. You have to be okay knowing that yes, there are some people rolling their eyes at you. But just remember they don't always understand your connection to all of it. They don't realize how this team has gotten you through some really hard times. They probably can't see that it's provided a much-needed distraction for you when life hasn't gone your way. They may never understand, and that's okay. Because you know what's in your heart, and you know that it's something real. Your sincere love for this team has provided you with special moments where time stood still. It's helped you meet new friends that are now lifelong. Unfortunately, it's also the reason you've been so deeply disappointed when they got THAT close to winning it all, but came up short. And in what perhaps may be it's highest purpose, that sincerity has given some people an incredible memory with a dad, grandparent or other loved one that is no longer with them. A memory that they will cherish forever. But all of these moments, from the exhilarating wins to the disappointing losses, are what makes being a SuperFan so great. In a world of artificial, being a Superfan is sincerely the real deal. And that's why you wouldn't trade it for the world.