Lately, I’ve had lot of conversations with Beaver fans about the future of the program and this coming season, and there seem to be a few common fan I run across. In some cases, fans of one type will look at fans of another type and converse with them as if they are the worst possible fan ever. In other cases, one fan type might see the point of the other fan type, but feel if they can phrase their argument just right, they can convert them to their side of the fan force. Which most likely, they cannot. Like politics, ways of viewing a team or personnel or players is very difficult to change. Mostly because it means admitting that your view was wrong.
Below are the types of fans I’ve noticed as of late:
This fan is the person that forecasts 12 wins every year and won’t bend on this until the scores of actual games forces them to. They believe wholeheartedly in everything the staff and program are doing, and feel like it is just a matter of time before the rest of the conference bows to their team. Even when coaches change, they feel that the new coach is the best thing ever, but also still love the past coach and now have two favorite teams. These fans tend to be amazing fans who are with their team, hell or high water. They also are impossible to argue with because in their minds no one works as hard, recruits as much or coaches as well as their guys.
These are fans that tend to come off as negative, and even as anti-fans, but usually are actually some of the biggest fans ever, and the thought of getting their hearts broken again really forces them to be sparse with their praise. They are the ones who are the first to notice bad patterns or trends, but also the last to buy into positive shifts. They are wait-and-see on everything and will not take any practice reports at face value, preferring to wait until they see it on the field in a game before they get excited. They also tend to be the fans who don’t enjoy victories because they are immediately worried about the next game, even if it is eight months away. These fans only value objectivity and will shun anything else, even though their own opinions may not be objective, or rational, in nature.
No one even knows why these people are fans. They are, in their own way, but they are the type of fans who have given up on their team and would rather poke fun at their school of choice. They are difficult to converse with because they always think their team sucks and other teams are amazing. Sometimes, they come across as a fan of another team with how much they idolize what that team has, but then when you chat with them more, you find out they have been season ticket holders to your team for 30 years, and are legacy fans from generations of students at that institution.
The Rational Observer:
These fans are necessary but super annoying.* They rarely say anything on message boards or in group conversations, but when they do it is always super rational and usually spot on. They are the people who get asked questions on the internet and never respond until they have a clear and concise (and educated) response. These fans are rare, but many fans who are one of the other types often associate themselves with this one. They also are completely wrong. These fans also tend to have inside knowledge and connections within the program.
These ones are tricky because they are hard to pin down. Are they excited about the future? Are they bummed about the future? Do they even know what is going on? These are the people who will argue with you and over a 20-minute span take every side of the argument, and even when they hit the one that you agree with still talk in an argumentative tone as if you are still wrong. They are the ones who as kids were difficult to punish because if you tried to take something away from them they would just say, “Well, I don’t like that anyway” and totally ruin the consequence. They also will always get the last word, no matter how wrong they are.
This one is difficult. They are good with stats, as long as those stats promote their opinion. They can come across as The Rational Observer, except they are overly opinionated and are always talking. The amount of information they post is almost obscene and there is always an agenda. They will dump you in a barrage of ‘facts’ and words but may not actually have accuracy in either. They also are easily angered if challenged on their knowledge. The one saving grace is that many times they will give up a bit and just use the, “Well, then we will just have to agree to disagree.”
The thing is with all of these types of is that most people are a combo of these. They may be mostly Hater, but can also be 20% Rational Observer and 5% Know-It-All. For me, I feel like it changes a lot. Under Riley I was probably mostly Cheerleader and Know-it-all, with a smidgeon of Jerk (some of you might find me more jerk than I associate myself with, but oh well.). Under Andersen, I probably am 40% Skeptic, 30% Cheerleader and then the last 30% is a combo of all of the rest. I will get into why Skeptic later, and why I am fully prepared to be totally wrong and love it.
The thing is, no matter where you are fall on this scale, and which fan you associate with (or others project you as associating with based on your behavior) there are three things that are true:
- You love your team
- You want them to win
- You probably hate their rivals way more than is socially comfortable.
That is why we bond together. You can be a Riley Guy, an Andersen Guy or neither or both. It doesn’t matter because being a fan means knowing, loving, or even just dealing with every type of fan out there. You can challenge an opinion, but never challenge their loyalty. Those are fighting words.
So as we enter a season with a lot of unknowns, don’t worry too much about people who disagree with you, because we all have the same three core values: Go Beavs! Win them all! And FTD!
What kind of fan are you? Leave a comment and let us know!
Go Beavs (PRO)
* I am using the term annoying to mean, “Person who I am super jealous of because I wish I had their insight, patience and contacts.”