There are only ten seconds left on the clock and so many challenges are forming a barrier between you and your goal. What are you going to do? Roll over and face defeat or fight on? You would think I was the player, but really, I am in a situation far more stressful. I am the fan.

What We’re All About

Some people do not realize how emotionally invested a fanatic can actually be. Confused by our simplistic perspective, outsiders find it hard to believe a person could just be a fan of sports as a whole. But, they do not see the big picture like we do. It’s the inner workings of athletics that draw people in. Although I grew up only playing football and basketball, I inherited this sense of admiration and astonishment for teamwork in all sports. This is the major reason as to why I am not confined to enjoying one or two sports. The people who may have trouble understanding how a fanatic thinks are the same ones who may not have been born into a family that revolves around sports like I was.

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With that in mind, I am hoping to relay the emotions and experiences of a full-fledged sports fan to the casual fan or non fan. Some specific themes that come to mind are the sense of unity from teamwork being conducted properly, the immense respect for the pros, and watching live sporting events occur in real time. Any one of these crucial points would bring some substance to what it means to be a die-hard fan and when all three are put together that’s when you start to see things from a true fanatic’s side.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Looking back at preschool and kindergarten, I don’t think the teachers’ main goals were to educate the students on school-related subjects. The more I think about it I feel like it was designed to teach crazy kids important life lessons like sharing and cooperation with others. The funny part about that is I didn’t really see the value in any of it until a little later down the road. Fourth grade rolled around and I began my first ever organized sports practice. To say the least, I hated it early on. To make things worse, our coach expected me to share the ball with a bunch of kids I barely knew. However, as the season continued I began to form relationships with my newfound friends and realized we played better when everyone got along.

The point I am making with this anecdote is that sports opened up my eyes to what it means to be a team and work smoothly within that team. Did everything always go as planned? of course not! One of the beauties of sports is that it is a two-way street. You win and lose as a team and everyone is held accountable. Considering this, sports fanatics value teamwork much more highly than a regular person would. This is why we tend to get so excited and filled with a sense of satisfaction when things on the field or court play out exactly as designed.

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Similarly, imagine an orchestra or band has a specific song that needs to be played. It doesn’t matter how perfectly one of the musicians plays it, if the group is not playing in sync it will sound awful. Athletics are no different. All of the members involved must be on the same page or else they will not perform to their full potential. A true fan of sports not only loves to see players cooperating to achieve a common goal, but also hates when teams underachieve. It fills us with tremendous disappointment and that can be tough to deal with.

Fan favorites

Even when teams are not playing exactly how a fanatic would desire them to, he or she can still enjoy the individual players. When you keep tabs on sports as much as I do, you begin to pick up on certain players’ characteristics and tendencies. Fanatics have a habit of picking out favorites in everything, whether it be teams or athletes. In some cases, we notice on-field antics and stat lines and begin to follow a player more closely simply because we want to see what happens next. In other situations, we stay interested in them because of how they carry themselves off the field and the positive statements made about their personalities.

A great example of a guy that falls into both categories would be J.J. Watt, a football player for the Houston Texans. Known for being a light-hearted person and standout athlete, Watt also managed to raise over 33 million dollars for Hurricane Harvey relief this past year. Seeing him do outstanding work like this, you can not help but love the guy. Even if a fan doesn’t like specific players, they have to appreciate or at least respect the body of work a professional athlete possesses.

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Because most full-fledged fans played some type of sport at one point or another in their lives, we understand how difficult it must be to make it to the pinnacle of a sport. For this reason, athletes and their fan bases are seemingly connected at the hip and go through hot and cold spells together. This special relationship is hard to describe and can not be put into any better words other than just that. Special.

Passion at Play

When normal people think of what sports fanatics do all day, the first thing that comes to mind is watching a lot of athletic events. Speaking from a strictly personal view, I frequently find myself in front of the television sucked into whatever game happens to be on at the moment. In my household, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) is on pretty much around the clock. This channel provides endless sports coverage to millions of crazed fans like myself, daily.

An interesting example of this is the Super Bowl, which just wrapped up the other night. People all across the country, fanatics and casual fans alike, tuned into this big game for whatever personal reason he or she had and sat glued to the T.V. for about three and a half hours. Now imagine doing that so often you considered it the norm. That’s the exact life that a sports fanatic lives. You may wonder what keeps us so drawn in time and time again. As Larry Bird, a basketball legend, once put it, “It’s all about the passion.” Sports are unlike anything else in this world in the sense that if you can get a competition going, regardless the magnitude, and fuel it with that passion and spirit, people will fall in love with it.

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Throughout history, it has been shown to us that the power of sports can’t be overlooked. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching from your living room or from the sidelines; people still manage to come together and put aside their differences in the name of the game. Strangers can turn into friends and friends can become family when everyone is emotionally invested in the same thing. So, when people ask me, “Don’t you ever get sick of watching this?” I can give them a resounding “no”. How could you ever get sick of watching something that unites such a diverse crowd into one captive audience? That’s the real question to me.

Going Deep

With all of this being said, fanatics are more than meets the eye. Although we obviously do happen to watch an obsessively large amount of different games, that is only scratching the surface. The life of a true sports fan is far deeper than that. In addition, we value professional athletes for what they do and we admire the teamwork those athletes display in order to do what needs to be done. In my opinion, the term “sports fanatic” just carries so much weight and meaning to it. I know I may be biased, but I am hoping those of you who may not be huge fans can at least understand where I come from. Fanatics pour their hearts and souls into what they watch and who they cheer for if it is a player, team, or entire league.

If you enjoyed, please go check out my other work at http://www.studentunionsports.com/tre-butler

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