Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fan: Ardent devotee, enthusiast; short for fanatic


adj : marked by excessive enthusiasm for and intense devotion to a cause or idea; "rabid isolationist" [syn: fanatical, overzealous, rabid] n : a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm (as for a cause); "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"--Winston Churchill [syn: fiend]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

After G2 Mike over at CoveredinOil channelled Nick Hornby:

My point? Being a fan makes me feel bad. Even when a game involving the Oilers is by all objective standards a great hockey matchup, I cannot enjoy it. Instead, I pace around the room, scream expletives, nervously finger a guitar, and more often than not you can find me in the crash position, face buried in my hands. Tonight I was two feet in front of my TV, just standing there for the entire second period. The only good game is one in which we win (about 50/50), and even at that, victory's reward is that of sated relief, a belly full of glory that only lasts until the next game. SO I ask, with rended heart: Why am I fan?

Ineffable fandom is certainly something to ponder, but it's also a completely serious zero sum game of emotions: at no point can I watch a game with any detachment, and, say, marvel at Chrisitan Erhoff's development as a top 4 defenceman. He might even be a nice guy who collects butterflies and writes Philip Larkin-inspired poems in his spare time, but at the end of the game I'll still want his head on pike. On the other hand, absent-mindedly watching Anaheim school Colorado with very little personal stake is a summer breeze. The Oilers are my terrible, masochistic weakness.

If you're a sports fan, of the Oilers or otherwise, I'd say take a look at Hornby's brilliant book Fever Pitch. (Don't bother with the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore Red Sox interpretation or even with the original English movie version). Hornby talks about his love/hate relationship with the English football club Arsenal. You don't have to know a lick about the English Premier League. I didn't when I first picked it up. (I catch the odd game now).

Put it this way - imagine being able to see every game the Oilers play. Every single game. In person. Home and away. If you're a fan of a team in the EPL (or any European league I would think - its geography taht makes it possible) you can do that. Now imagine how that would screw with your emotions.

A great great book.

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