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What It Means To Be A Fan

According to the free dictionary, a sports fan is defined as follows: Noun 1. an enthusiastic devotee of sports rooter, fan aficionado- a fan of bullfighting enthusiast, partisan, partisan- an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity. While the definition is accurate, one can imagine and confirm that the actual meaning is so dynamic compared to the static definition given above. A sports fan is much more than anyone can precisely capture and put into words. For each person, the experience shapes the definition. While these experiences and definitions vary, and standings change, one aspect always remains- the impact the fan has on the game.

To New Jerseys Devils player number 12, Tyce Thompson, a fan is much more than the surface level definition a quick Google search gives, and more than just a body in the stands. To Thompson, a fan is someone who motivates him to get out on the ice and skate every day. From a very young age, he was a hockey player and a fan, standing against the glass asking for pucks and waves from the players. At the mere age of three, he always assumed that his cheers were insignificant and would get lost in the other hoorahs of surrounding fans. Now, as a professional hockey player, he realized that the chants of all of those young fans standing against the glass are more important than any other cheer in the rink. Those fans would grow up to be the heart and soul of the fan sections, as the team aged and grew, they would as well. After playing hockey during the covid-19 crisis when no fans were allowed, he became aware of the effect that the absence of fans can have on a game and the team. The noise, the buzz, the anticipation, and the communal emotions from fans isn’t just what makes sports better, it’s what makes playing worth it. In a final quote from Thompson to sum it all up, “I got to a point where I stopped playing just for me. I started to play for the fans- they made it all worth it.”

With this being said, I asked myself and my peers, “what does being a fan mean?” Let me tell you, the question was most definitely answered, loudly and proudly. From the answers received, and in the simplest terms, being a fan means wearing your enthusiasm on your sleeve. It means going through the transition from an individual cheer to a united one as a family. It is being a part of something larger than yourself. Being a fan is about knowing that there is no love like the love you have for your team. It is about recognizing that when there is division in the world, sports, and their fans can bring people together. It is about knowing that there is no competition between who loves the Patriots more, or who boos the Yankees the loudest; all there is room for is the recognition that there is something that binds people together, and that's the beauty of being a fan.

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