Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Thoughts on Fandom

I am not much of a sports fan. I simply do not watch a lot of sports. I never found watching as entertaining as playing. Exceptions: NFL Football (Cowboys) and World Cup Soccer (Germany). In both cases, the contested season or bracket is small enough to easily follow, and I root for my teams. In the case of the Cowboys, I was born into the fandom. Germany has been my team since I started following World Cup action in the late eighties.

Fandom is not really an easy thing. In most cases, one roots for one team amongst many. The chances of reaching the pinnacle of success are small. In the case of the Cowboys, things are complicated by their huge success. (They are arguably one of the most successful teams in the history of the league, with most Super Bowl appearances, wins, post season wins and a win-loss record of 510-377.) Recently, they have also suffered a long period of disappointment. These facts have led to a lot of band-wagon fandom as well as a lot of haters.

It is easier to root against a team than for one. The odds of satisfaction in the former case are greater. However, true fandom requires suffering through the dry spells. The emotional rewards are greater. A terrible situation a fan could find themselves in is the “allegiance shift” proceeding a return to success. This is especially bad when one has not only switched teams, but actively rooted for failure of the former team. A return to the fold in such a case would be the worst sort of band-wagon fandom.

This has been an exciting year for me sports-wise. After 24 years, Germany finally recaptured the World Cup and Dallas has done better than anyone predicted at the start of the season… better than just about any year since 1995. Even if they lose next week, it has been fun being their fan again.

Certainly better than say, switching allegiances to the Houston Texans, a team with a losing record of 88-120.

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